2:00PM Water Cooler 6/14/2017

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

London meetup date: June 16, 6:30 PM. Sorry for the mix-up; remind me never to post immediately before catching a train again! And thanks to Clive for catching the error.


“It appears the 23-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) is safe—for now” [Logistics Management]. “Hearing pleas from the business lobby, as well as individual transportation companies such as UPS and FedEx, the Trump administration has backed off threats to unilaterally sever NAFTA.”

“U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer still doesn’t have any deputy USTRs in place, not to mention a chief agriculture negotiator, with just two months before NAFTA negotiations start. But USTR will announce today that senior staff positions have been filled, including the important role of chief of staff” [Politico].



GA-06, of Ossoff: “How exactly does a political candidate spend $16 million in two months?” [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]. “On a stream of advertisements and a campaign operation not unlike that of a presidential run, it appears.” Ka-ching for the Democrat consultants and strategists, at least! “Ossoff spent a staggering $11.2 million of the money he raised on producing, printing and reserving airtime for political ads on television, in local newspapers such as The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and on mailers sent to voters.” Hard to see how this scales. If it doesn’t, the Ossoff victory the Clintonites are so desperate to have would be a sport, a freak, a one-off (unless the Democrats plan to spend at the Presidential level for every candidate, which they obviously — Thomson, Quist — do not).

GA-06: “Democrat Jon Ossoff’s latest television ad has all the hallmarks of a politician put on his heels by his opponents’ attacks on his national security bona fides” [CNN]. “The ad features Ossoff talking straight into the camera. And instead of his own message, he is responding to one that a Republican super PAC spent millions to put on the air in Atlanta. ‘Let’s put this to rest once and for all,” Ossoff says as the 30-second spot begins.'” Eeeew! Never complain, never explain! And: “Ossoff’s campaign didn’t reply to CNN’s request for an interview or comment for this story. His response has been in a series of direct-to-camera ads.” The press Ossoff is getting, he can’t go on CNN?

Health Care

“President Donald Trump called the House-approved health-care bill “mean” and told a group of Republican senators that their bill should be “more generous,” according to reports Tuesday” [MarketWatch].

“Imagine if you’re a House Republican, and voted for the leadership’s health-care bill in May after being told that you were doing the newly elected president a solid. You listened to the White House’s pleading — perhaps you got a phone call from Vice President Mike Pence, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus or even the president himself. The administration was on the Hill nonstop to push their legislation. You explained to your constituents that the late-in-the-game changes made to the bill helped cover more people. You celebrated with him in the Rose Garden after passage” [Politico]. “Now you hear the President has gone behind closed doors and told senators the House bill is “mean” and says it doesn’t do enough to cover people. Wouldn’t that anger you?”

Realignment and Legitimacy

“House Majority Whip Steve Scalise and others were shot during a baseball-team practice for Republican members of Congress in Northern Virginia on Wednesday morning, and the attacker has died after being wounded by police officers” [MarketWatch]. “The Post’s report said the 66-year-old owns a home-inspection business and that his license expired in November 2016. On what appears to be his Facebook page, Hodgkinson prominently features a photograph of Sen. Bernie Sanders, a Vermont independent who ran for the Democratic presidential nomination. The page also has several posts critical of President Donald Trump.”

Sanders statement:

“Charles Orear, 50, a restaurant manager from St. Louis, said in an interview Wednesday that he became friendly with James T. Hodgkinson, whom law enforcement officials identified as the shooter, during their work in Iowa on Sen. Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign. Orear said Hodgkinson was a passionate progressive and showed no signs of violence or malice toward others” [WaPo]. “‘You’ve got to be kidding me,’ Orear said when told by phone. ‘I met him on the Bernie trail in Iowa, worked with him in the Quad Cities area.'”

“Belleville suspect killed in congressional shootout belonged to anti-GOP groups” [Belleville News-Democrat]. “The shooter was James T. Hodgkinson of Belleville…Two days ago, Hodgkinson posted an angry tweet about President Donald Trump on Facebook. “I Want to Say Mr. President, for being an *ss hole you are Truly the Biggest *ss Hole We Have Ever Had in the Oval Office,” he wrote on Facebook. Hodgkinson is a member of a number of anti-Republican groups on Facebook, including one called “Terminate the Republican Party.”

  1. “The Road to Hell is Paved with Republicans”
  2. “Donald Trump is not my President”
  3. “President Bernie Sanders”
  4. “Illinois Berners United to Resist Trump”
  5. “Boycott the Republican Party”
  6. “Expose Republican Fraud”
  7. “Terminate the Republican Party”

“Rep. Ron DeSantis, was in the parking lot at the park, leaving baseball practice early, and says a man approached the vehicle he was in ‘and wanted to know if it was Democrats or Republicans practicing. And then he turned around and went to the field.’ DeSantis told CNN the man who approached the vehicle was the shooter, based on photos being shown of the assailant” [Deadline Hollywood].

“It is too early to tell if the shooting was a targeted attack, said Tim Slater, a special agent in charge of the FBI’s Washington field office” [CNBC].

“Mainstream Media Incitement of Violence Against Republicans Leads to Shooting of U.S. Congressman” [Washington’s Blog]. The sourcing seems a little tendentious to me. And see below.

I’ll have more to say about this when I think it through. For now, when you heat the pot of water enough, it bubbles. Strategic hate management has consequences, which do not always blow back on those who deploy it, unfortunately. In other words, I don’t see the “mainstream media” as drivers; I see factions in the political class (which includes some in the media, mainstream or no) as the drivers. I see reams of stuff like “Terminate the Republican Party” on my Twitter list, and in a zeitgeist composed of hundreds of millions of souls, it seems likely that somebody will act, similarly to Crane Brinton’s idea that one of the signs of impending revolution is that revolution is discussed as a possibility. I suppose something systemic we can expect is even more separation between elected officials and the public they supposedly serve, as well as selection for the sort of candidate comfortable with that. It would be nice if there were no cycle of violence.

* * *

“Nearly 200 Democratic members of Congress filed a lawsuit against President Trump on Wednesday morning alleging that his continued ties to his business empire violate the U.S. Constitution” [USA Today]. “The unprecedented legal action accuses Trump of violating the Emoluments Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits federal officials from accepting gifts or titles from foreign governments without congressional approval. The lawsuit will have the greatest number of congressional plaintiffs of any lawsuit against the president in the nation’s history, according to Michigan Rep. John Conyers, the House Judiciary Committee’s top-ranking Democrat. ‘We do this not out of any sense of pleasure or partisanship, but because President Trump has left us with no other option,” he said.'” Oh, please. See NC here, here, here, and today. Again, constitutional issues aside, I would urge that any oligarch elected to office would have conflicts of exactly the same nature; they own too much! So the real issue is: Should any oligarch be President? A question the Democrats don’t ask, probably because they can’t answer it.

Stats Watch

Consumer Price Index, May 2017: “very soft” at minus 0.1 percent [Econoday]. “Fundamental cost areas are unquestionably weak with housing up only 0.2 percent and medical care unchanged and continuing its weak run this year. Education & communication is also weak, unchanged and continuing to reflect discounting among telecom providers. Major declines were posted for energy, down 2.7 percent and including a 6.4 percent decline for gasoline, and also apparel, down 0.8 percent for a third straight decrease, and also transportation, down 1.4 percent and reflecting a decline in new vehicle prices. Year-on-year rates are also lower than expected, at 1.9 percent overall and at only 1.7 percent for the core which is noticeably 2 tenths below the consensus. Inflation, lacking any boost from wages, just can’t find any traction and is beginning to trend lower, not higher.” And: “Many elements of the CPI moderated this month lead by the energy sector. Headline and core inflation is now below 2 % year-over-year” [Econintersect]. And: “Recent inflation data has generally been weaker than expected over the past few weeks. The subdued data has triggered fresh doubts surrounding underlying trends and whether there will be a sustained increase in inflation to the 2% target” [Economic Calendar].

Retail Sales, May 2017: “Consumer spending was unusually weak in the first quarter and doesn’t look to be improving this quarter.” Fell 0.3 percent, below consensus [Econoday]. “Wages aren’t showing any traction and neither is consumer spending. The consumer just hasn’t been participating this year and will need to accelerate very quickly otherwise second-quarter GDP is in jeopardy.” The beatings will continue until morale improves…. And: “The decrease in May was below expectations. A disappointing report” [Calculated Risk]. And: “The evidence of weakness in areas of discretionary spending such as eating out will trigger fresh doubts surrounding the overall spending outlook and health of the economy” [Economic Calendar]. “There has been clear evidence of a slowdown in consumer spending over the past few months with a sharp dip in the growth rate for the first quarter. Significantly, there has been evidence of subdued spending even with robust consumer confidence.” Surveys and data out of line again.

Business Inventories, April 2017: “The news on the second quarter continues to darken as business inventories fell 0.2 percent” [Econoday]. “Declining inventories are a possible signal of business caution and a certain negative for second-quarter GDP.” But and: “This was worse month for business sales compared to last month – and inventories have returned to recession levels. Our primary monitoring tool – the 3 month rolling averages for sales – declined but remains in expansion” [Econintersect].

Restaurant Performance Index: “As a result of softer sales and customer traffic levels and dampened optimism among restaurant operators, the Restaurant Performance Index declined in April. The RPI stood at 100.3 in April, down 1.5 percent from a level of 101.8 in March” [National Restaurant Association]. FWIW, the upscale restaurant in my town has simplified the menu by eliminating daily starters and expanding burgers.

Housing: “Mortgage delinquencies fell to a 10-year low in March, according to property information provider CoreLogic, the lowest readings since the nation began to feel the grip of the worst housing crisis since the Depression” [247 Wall Street].

Housing: “California has millions of young adults living at home with parents because they are unable to venture out into an expensive rental or a dilapidated crap shack costing close to $1 million. … Of course Millennials have different habits. And getting stuck with an absurd 30-year mortgage on a dump is not a big aspiration for many” [Dr. Housing Bubble]. “Builders in California are smart. They are targeting multi-family units over single family homes. In some areas they are building out condos because if the market takes a turn, they can simply turn them into rentals since there is big demand for that. The idea that Millennials were going to save the market is off base. Prices are high but for reasons that go against a healthy housing market.”

MBA Mortgage Applications, week of June 9, 2016: “Purchase applications for home mortgages fell a seasonally adjusted 3 percent in the June 9 week, though the decline is a result of heavy adjustments for the Memorial Day holiday in the prior week” [Econoday].

Shipping: “This month, Amazon opened six new fulfillment centers across the country. Located in Thornton, Colorado, North Haven, Connecticut, Fresno, California, Miami, Florida, Jefferson, Georgia and Troutdale, Oregon” [Sourcing Journal]. “Innovations, including robotics, will also be used at some of the fulfillment centers. Amazon’s new facilities in Miami, North Haven and Thornton, will integrate humans and robots in the same work environment….. Another benefit of the fulfillment centers is reduced delivery costs. According to data from the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), Amazon’s expansion of fulfillment centers has led the e-tailer to ‘save between $0.17 and $0.47 for every 100 mile reduction in the distance of shipping goods worth $30.'” The pennies pile up…

Shipping: “5 points to consider before packing your cargo” [Shipping and Freight Resource]. If I ever pack a shipping container, this is the site for me!

Shipping: “According to The International Air Transport Association (IATA) air freight markets worldwide showed that demand rose 8.5% in April 2017 compared to the year-earlier period. While this was down from the 13.4% year-on-year growth recorded in March 2017, it is well above the average annual growth rate of 3.5% over the past five years” [Logistics Management].

Shipping: “US box imports set for record volumes” [Lloyd’s Loading]. “According to the latest monthly Global Port Tracker produced by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates, containerised box imports to the US will surge to 1.74m TEU in August. The total would be the highest monthly volume recorded since NRF began tracking imports in 2000, topping the 1.73 million TEU seen in March 2015.” Hmm…

Shipping: “May volumes for both the Port of Los Angeles (POLA) and the Port of Long Beach (POLB) were better than just pretty good. The reason for that is that each port, which collectively account for roughly 40% of United States-bound imports, posted their busiest May’s ever” [Logistics Management].

Banking: “Central Bank of Kazakhastan is going to use blockchain technology to allow investors to trade in its short term notes (short term bonds)” [Mostly Economics]. “Central banks may worry and not accept bitcoins for payments. But some of them are open to using blockchain technology for security purposes.”

The Bezzle: “Lyft is still the smaller player to Uber, with a valuation of $7.5 billion compared with Uber’s $68 billion. Lyft also has less of a footprint, with drivers in 350 U.S. cities, while Uber is in more than 70 countries and 460 cities” [MarketWatch]. “But Lyft has taken a route of partnering to expand its global footprint while also teaming up with auto manufacturers, including Alphabet’s self-driving car unit Waymo, which is odds with Uber.”

The Bezzle: “Subprime Auto Bonds From 2015 May End Up Worst Ever, Fitch Says” [Bloomberg]. “Subprime auto bonds issued in 2015 are by one key measure on track to become the worst performing in the history of car-loan securitizations, according to Fitch Ratings. This group of securities is experiencing cumulative net losses at a rate projected to reach 15 percent, which is higher even than for bonds in the 2007, Fitch analysts Hylton Heard and John Bella Jr. wrote in a report Thursday.”

Five Horsemen: “The Tech Wreck is fading except for Apple, which has underperformed the S&P 500 since Apr 26th” [Hat tip, Jim Haygood].

Five Horsemen Jun14

The Fed: “[Narayana] Kocherlakota said he doesn’t think that the labor market is at full employment, and doubts reports that businesses are having trouble finding workers. If there was a labor shortage, wage pressure and inflation would not be so tame, he said” [MarketWatch]. Kocherlakota: “I think that the weak inflation data is actually a real opportunity. It is an opportunity for the Fed to continue to provide stimulus without worrying about excessive amounts of inflation. Overall, my strategy would be ‘let’s wait to see sustainable 2% inflation before we embark on tightening.'”

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 52 Neutral (previous close: 55, Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 55 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed. Last updated Jun 14 at 11:36am. Greed, fear, and neutral feel like three-valued logic to me. How does a contrarian handle three-valued logic?

Our Famously Free Press

“The Case For Interviewing Alex Jones” [Buzzfeed]. “Like it or not, Alex Jones is an architect of our current political moment, and as such, the mainstream media shouldn’t try to shield its audience from him or pretend he doesn’t exist — it should interrogate him…. So an in-depth interview with someone like Jones in front of a big primetime audience is an opportunity, albeit a perilous one. Jones rarely gives sit-down interviews. The opportunity to force him to answer for his most abhorrent views on subjects like Sandy Hook is potentially valuable. At one moment in the teaser, Kelly cuts him off on an answer about Sandy Hook. “That’s a dodge,” she says. ‘That doesn’t excuse what you did and said about Newtown. You know it.'”


“The Workings of an Ancient Nuclear Reactor” [Scientific American]. “Physicists confirmed the basic idea that natural fission reactions were responsible for the depletion in uranium 235 at Oklo quite soon after the anomalous uranium was discovered…. A nuclear chain reaction very much like the one that Enrico Fermi and his colleagues famously demonstrated in 1942 had certainly taken place, all on its own and some two billion years before.”

Class Warfare

“[Autor, Dorn, Katz, Patterson, and Van Reenen] found that while in the early 1980s, the largest four players in any given US manufacturing industry averaged 38% of sales, it had risen to 43% three decades later. In utilities and transportation, the share rose from 29% to 37%, while in retail, it rose form 14% to 30%. In the same time workers share of the economic value added declined from 66% to 60%” [Intelligent Economist] (original study).

“The Hidden Cost of Privatization” [Institute for New Economic Thinking]. “A public good has two distinguishing characteristics: it is ‘non-excludable’ in use and ‘non-rivalrous’ in consumption. The first of these properties means that the good is available for free, as there is no way of limiting or restricting its use, whereas the second means that the good is available to all. It can be consumed by one individual without reducing its availability to another. Its consumption does not destroy it, as the consumption of a hamburger or loaf of bread does. The good remains for others to enjoy and many can do so at the same time and over time. The public at large can benefit from it.”

UPDATE “Employment rate passes 2007 peak in developed world, says OECD” [Financial Times]. “The organisation’s research showed that labour markets had been “hollowed out” across the developed world, with fewer roles in the middle of the jobs ladder and more at the top and bottom. The share of employment in “middle-skilled” jobs fell 9.5 percentage points between 1995 and 2015 in the OECD area, while the share of high and low-skilled jobs rose 7.6 and 1.9 percentage points respectively. About a third of this polarisation was owing to the destruction of factory jobs and their replacement with lower-skilled service sector roles. The rest was because of polarisation within industries. The OECD attributed this more to the development of new technologies than to globalisation, though it said the two trends were difficult to disentangle.”

UPDATE “Revealed: reality of life working in an Ivanka Trump clothing factory” [Guardian]. A genre piece: An ugly normal becomes a story if Trump does it. “Workers complain of verbal abuse, impossible targets and ‘poverty pay’ so bad they have to live away from their children.” Yes, that’s true for entire subcontinents.

UPDATE “Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak: Why robots won’t be taking our jobs for hundreds of years” [CNBC]. “You would have to change every bit of infrastructure [to enable] machines sending orders to other machines … everything in life, there is just way too much to convert. It would take hundreds of years to convert,” says Wozniak. ‘So I am not worried about ‘We are just going to be the secondary species to machines’ for quite a long time.'”

News of the Wired

Pursuant to Wozniak’s post above: I flew out of Newark, and the international terminal has implemented electronic ordering for all its food vendors: iPads at restaurant seats, and terminals at stand-up fast food ordering places, too. It’s horrible. For one thing, as I heard one lady complain, you can’t tell what the food is like, or even what it’s going to be, from the digitized pictures of the dishes. The terminals also severely discourage cash; only a few terminals take it, and who wants to feed bills into a (badly placed) slot, instead of handing them to a human? In fact, the only time you get to interact with a human is when there’s a problem, which is often, and that doesn’t make for good morale on either side of the transaction. Plus, whoever did the development didn’t take real-life restaurant workflow into account; people need things like straws, napkins, and condiments, which weren’t located in the obvious places anymore, because there’s no line, just a scrum of people waiting for their digital orders. Oh, the whole process is slower, not just because it’s slower to tap your choices into an iPad as opposed to speaking them out loud, but because the screens are all larded up with advertising and incentives. I’m going to enter my frequent flyer ID when I order a bottle of water? Or my email?! Really?!?! All in all, a horrid experience — although granted, a minor horror, given air travel these days — and one that no doubt will never be fixed because it cost millions of dollars to develop and install. I bet it ends up being more expensive, too; every time you want to change your menu you’ve got to interact with a software developer.

* * *

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 (RH):

RH writes: Fresh green ferns from Vinalhaven sightings

* * *

Readers, Water Cooler is a standalone entity, not supported by the Naked Capitalism fundraisers. Please use the dropdown to choose your contribution, and then click the hat! Your tip will be welcome today, and indeed any day. Water Cooler will not exist without your continued help.


Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Guest Post, Water Cooler on by .

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. taunger

    “prices are high but for reasons that go against a healthy housing market.”

    My wife is about to close on a home for us (Lender didn’t want anything to do with my law school student debt). There were many homes in the mostly rural area priced too high in the area that hadn’t sold in years. Most owned by boomers, clearly waiting for the sucker that would be their last big payout. We walked away from a deal after inspection on finding $30K worth of repairs needed in the first 2 years – seller was not willing to budge on price.

    Finally, we found an older couple at the end of their rope – the sale price was $80K lower than first marketed for, and $75K less than the paid at the height of the bubble. Unfortunately, my wife fell in love with the property, as I still think we are overpaying.

    1. Kokuanani

      In following the links within the Mr. Housing Bubble item above, I trolled around a number of property listings in CA. Aside from the incredible prices [I was viewing LA], the thing that really struck me was what’s going to happen when Mr. Buyer gets his new tax bill.

      As you may know, Prop. 13 in CA has been protecting current homeowners since 1978, limiting increases in the tax assessment of their house to [I believe] 3% per year. So if you delve into the “price & tax” history accompanying a number of these listings, you find that for 20-30 years, the property has been coasting along with its taxable value [and taxes] only rising minimally. Now the seller is asking for 10, 15 or 30 times that valuation, so when they buyer takes over, his/her tax bill will go up by the same multiple. For example, RE tax going from $4,000/year to $34,000. That will put a dent in your budget.

      Of course the seller’s neighbor(s), whose house is probably valued at the lower amount [assuming he/she has not turned it over for all those years], still gets to pay the original ridiculously low tax rate.

      I’m surprised there’s not more being written on this facet of the out-of-control housing prices in CA.

      1. Jess

        Actually the property tax formula is: 1% of the value at time of purchase plus 2% annual increase. If I sold my house at current market price the new owner’s prop tax bill would be approximately 5-6 times higher than what I currently pay.

    2. JTMcPhee

      So I am so glad it appears that you found a desperate older couple to get up on. Worth a gloat? Yep, the whole economy needs to work on buy low sell high. Standing on our neighbors’ shoulders is how we rise. Hope it works out for you!

      1. taunger

        It was a vacation home for them, and their primary is a 4 unit income producing building, so I don’t feel bad.

          1. Procopius

            Bad choices? Not necessarily. They’re getting a benefit out of the deal that makes it good for them in some way. Maybe you would not be pleased with that particular deal. Otherwise you have to say that every sale involves a winner and a loser, and I find an awful lot wrong with Milton Friedman’s market fanaticism but I don’t think that’s one of the things.

        1. Michael C.

          The system is what it is. No one should suggest you should feel guilty (or do something like paying more than the price). Now, if we change the system, and rules are broken to enrich oneself, then that would be a problem. Enjoy your new home.

  2. allan

    U.S. Halts New Rules Aimed at Abuses by For-Profit Schools [NYT]

    The Trump administration is delaying new rules that would erase the federal loan debt of student borrowers cheated by for-profit colleges.

    The announcement by the Education Department on Wednesday came just weeks before the rules, finalized during the Obama administration, were to take effect on July 1.

    The new rules stood to benefit students from failed for-profit colleges already seeking to have their loans forgiven, as well as others who might be eligible to do so. They also established tougher standards intended to check the flow of further federal funds to rogue for-profit operators. …

    The latest moves come amid complaints from veterans’ groups, consumer advocates and state prosecutors that the Education Department is backing off its clampdown on abusive practices within the for-profit sector. …

    A coalition of 31 military and veterans groups also sent a letter to Congress and Ms. DeVos this week stating that “veterans’ applications for relief remain stalled,” and condemning any delay in implementation.

    Why, it’s almost as if the government were being run on behalf of corporate rent seekers.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Might as well crack down on for-profit messianic movements.

      They function more or less like for-profit schools.

  3. sleepy

    Joy Reid already blaming Bernie for the Alexandria shooting:

    —Joy Reid‏Verified account @JoyAnnReid

    Joy Reid Retweeted Alby Covfefé

    I hope we have the maturity as a country to confront facts like this at the same time we’re thinking of the victims and keeping level heads.

    Joy Reid added,
    Alby Covfefé @albyselkie
    Replying to @SheWhoVotes
    Too soon to mention Bernie owes his entire political career to the NRA? Particularly his support of ASSAULT RIFLES his R opponent decried?—


    1. TK421

      Kill a million people, like Hillary helped to do? Water under the bridge.

      A lone nut shoots someone after liking a Bernie Sanders tweet? Shame on that dames socialist!

      1. Roger Smith

        Chris Murphy helped to peddle this same crap for Clinton last year regarding Sandy Hook. How do these idiots live with themselves (#lizardpeople?)

        1. John Wright

          Perhaps they have self selected for sociopathy, if so, they have absolutely no problem living with themselves.

          It works for them.

    2. Vatch

      Oh, goody. Yesterday we “learned” that Sanders is a war monger and a one percenter. Today we “learn” that he’s a gun nut.

      1. craazyboy

        I’d be interested in hearing some on the ground reporting from Britan.

        The place must be ready to burst into pandemonium any moment.

        It appears that all the women have morphed into gay, liberal-conservative warmongers, starting tweet storms and arguing even more than usual.

        The only place outside of Scandanavia that has nice horney quiet girls anymore may be France. (and Finland, tho they may be Russian super spy women) Germany has gone down the tubes – they don’t even drink beer anymore. But they’ll still punch you in the nose!

        This could be a global trend, and even reach the coasts of America!

        1. Synoia

          Things have changed? When?

          “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”, and there’s a lot of scorn about these days.

          Definition of scorn: a feeling that someone or something is not worthy of any respect or approval.

        2. fajensen

          It appears that all the women have morphed into gay, liberal-conservative warmongers, starting tweet storms and arguing even more than usual.

          … Only the ones that don’t go out because their “life” happens on “Social Media”. They become quite similar in attitudes and response-pattern as their sisters cloaked in burkas and locked up in the ghettoes, interesting enough.

          Social Isolation breeds Crazy.

          Social Media is just a really good tool for sort-of egging it on. Soon all the crazies will be only characterised by the dominant common feature crushing all other classifiers, which is Social Media, thus making mass surveillance 100% useless.

    3. PKMKII

      They should be happy, the only thing that gets conservatives to support gun control is when leftists start using them.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        He’s more like a two-percenter with his senate salary.

        Occasionally, he might get bumped up with a book deal.

        1. Vatch

          There are some very rich people in the Congress, but none is a billionaire. Some of them also have a big discrepancy between their Congressional salary and their wealth (or lack of it). Sanders is in the lower part of the middle third of wealth, and Scalise (the shooting victim) is in the bottom 10% of wealth. Future lists will show Sanders at a higher point in the list, because of his one-time book deal. Here’s one list of estimates of Congressional wealth (from 2015):


          The link implies that this only has the 50 richest, but there are actually 541 people in the list. The text points out that lawmakers are required to list their mortgages but not the equity in their home(s), so some of the numbers can be misleading.

    4. RUKidding

      It was a matter of nanoseconds before the Clintonites arrived locked and loaded, ready to go for the allegedly “violent Bernie Bros.” All kinds of “I told you Sos” going on.

      Frankly, I can’t tell a Clintonite commenter from a rightwing commenter. They’re all vile, and they’re all out to “get” the horrid Bernie Sanders who, along with his “violent” supporters, is the scourge of the entire universe.

      Totally disgusting. Unsurprised at Joy Reid’s tweet. She’s one of the worst (albeit highly compensated, I’m sure, to spew her Clintonite bile).

      The 1% laughs and laughs to see the sheeple so easily pitted against one another. Divide and conquer, y’all.

      1. Roger Smith

        Really? To me this culmination of factors leading to today’s event plays right into the “rights” hand. It vindicates all their messaging. Guns saved lives, it was a “radical leftist”, it was the media’s charged rhetoric that aided the situation, their group specifically was targeted.

        1. RUKidding

          I agree.

          Not good in any case, but this plays straight into the hands of the conservative 2d Amend types.

          1. Lambert Strether Post author

            If you view, as I do, the current state of affairs as tripartite, with the left (Sanders et al) the common enemy of liberals (Clinton et al) and conservatives (McConnnel, Ryan, Trump et al) all the reactions fall neatly into place.

            Bonus for the conservatives in that they consistently conflate liberals and the left.

        2. marym

          The Democrats can point out that:

          It was actually the “well regulated militia” (the Capitol police) that saved lives.

          Also that when white guys target Muslim or black people, Republican politicians and the media don’t blame right wing political rhetoric or ideology, no matter what opinions the attacker may have expressed.

          They can say that, regardless of political or policy differences, or even questions of improper exercise of power, they invite the Republicans to affirm that Obama wasn’t a Kenyan jihadi, while Democrats affirm that Trump isn’t a traitor.

          Democrats can also affirm that, despite political differences, Sanders is an honorable public servant, not deserving of any implied association with a violent criminal.

          Instead the Dems will probably just hold another dumb sit-in to validate the atrocious no-fly list by demanding it be used for gun control, while the Republicans express their reverence for life by destroying what’s left of our healthcare “system.”

          1. MtnLife

            The Capitol Police are not a militia, they are a professional law enforcement organization. Militias are, by definition, ordinary people and not professionals. Well regulated could be better worded to capture the sense of intent as well drilled in that they are supposed to 1. be able to hit what they aim at 2. not run under fire.

            1. marym

              Thanks for the correction. It was regulated organization legally armed and trained for a specific function, though. Whatever one thinks of citizens packing arms at will, the swift resolution of this particular situation wasn’t an argument in favor of that.

              It would be interesting to know if Senators who were there who do support unrestricted gun access think they would have done a better job defending themselves than their police force; or if they think the knowledge that they were likely armed, if they typically were, would have deferred the attacker any more than the police presence did.

        3. reslez

          According to the news story, the shooter asked whether the baseball team were Democrats or Republicans. Now, why would he ask that unless he thought it mattered? Which means the shooter didn’t realize both parties are bought. Both parties play for the same side. They have the same owners, the ownership class. The shooter bought into a braindead media narrative. This isn’t about the extreme right or extreme left. Those people all know the score. What it’s about is a brainwashed boomer on Medicare who watched too much MSNBC.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Brainwashed media narrative.

            Anyone ‘disrupting’ the media is labeled by the media as a monster, a fascist, a tyrant or some other names.

            That slight off-course decades ago, without correction, can lead you way off the mark.

          2. jrs

            well the Republicans are more directly trying to kill people at this point (in part because they have power, in part because they are Republicans) with the ACHA etc..

      2. Gaianne

        Yes, but a gift from whom?

        When I first heard about it, I thought,”Gee, lobbyists are getting more assertive with their clients.”

        But now it looks like simple black ops.

        And our “evidence” is from Facebook. Better and better!


        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > And our “evidence” is from Facebook

          No, it isn’t. Combining CT with not reading the post is bad, tactically. I hope you find the happiness you seek elsewhere.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Yes. That’s the strategic hate management part. Somehow, I doubt that the shooter succumbing to the (engineered by Clintonites) Putin Derangement Syndrome will become part of the narrative any time soon. I’ve been saying for some time, muffled a bit so as not to give anybody ideas, but if Trump really is Baby Hitler, as liberals used to claim he was, than a von Stauffenberg solution (assassination) was a logical, even moral, answer. And here we are.

        At the leadership level, the left (I would argue) isn’t doing hate management; they focus mostly on policy. The Clintonites clearly are, and the Republicans have for a long time.

        On the ground, things are a lot more confused.

        Makes me reconsider Sanders being Mr. Nice. I see the argument that he would never have gotten a hearing from any Democrat; on the other hand, if outcomes like this shooting were baked in, “Just win, baby” was appropriate.

        1. craazyboy

          Also, Trump Piñatas. Piñatas are like a gateway drug to even more drug induced violence.

          How else can you explain Hippies transitioning from merely punching, to assault rifles? Hmm?

      2. ian

        Not to mention the Kathy Griffin bloody head thing and the Trump-as-Caesar play.
        While it may seem edgy and clever to some, it’s entering dangerous territory.


    On your Newark experience: Newark is a major international airport. Not, we have a couple flights to Canada a day so we get to call ourselves international, flights from all over. It, and similar airports, are bad enough as is for picking up diseases from every corner of the globe. Now they’re adding all these tablets people have to rub their grubby fingers all over just to get a bottled water? And I’m sure they’re not disinfecting those surfaces on a regular basis, either. Who’s going to bear the cost of all those extra colds, flus, etc?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Ugh. Good point.

      So now we have humans to wipe down the screens and handle glitches (which are really poor choices by the developers). We will never be replaced!

      1. TK421

        Touch-screens are an inherently stupid idea, anyway, to me at least. Why do I want what I’m looking at to be covered by smudges? And my finger is nowhere near as precise as a mouse-pointer.

        1. lyman alpha blob

          That and they don’t really save time either. I ran into these at JFK a year or so ago when I was trying to get some food. With a human being as a cashier, only one person needs to figure out how to use the machinery needed to process an order; with the ipad everybody has to learn how to use the machinery.

          I stood there for a wondering why the guy behind the counter wasn’t interested in taking my order before figuring out I was supposed to use the ipad. I tried to get a cheesesteak with two extra ingredients but the ipad menu only had one with three. Couldn’t figure out how to order with ‘no mushrooms’ so after spending a few minutes trying, I eventually had to ask somebody for help. Saw other people having the same problems. Meanwhile the guy behind the counter is doing nothing while waiting for everyone to figure out the ipad. If I could have just said ‘cheesesteak with onions and peppers please’ to a human being, I would have been eating in less time than it took to figure out how to order.

          Same thing with the automated checkouts at grocery stores. Our town recently installed a couple which I refuse to use since for now I have a choice. I’ve breezed through the checkout line with a human being quicker than those trying to use the automated machine many times now while watching those in self-checkout have to call a person for help.

          This idea that moar technology is always better is truly maddening. But some middle manager somewhere got themselves a big bonus because they replaced a couple people with an ipad. Wonder if any of those bonuses will be clawed back when it’s discovered that more IT workers are needed to fix all the new problems caused by crappy, buggy technology?

      2. WobblyTelomeres

        Close your eyes and tap your heels together three times. And think to yourself, “We will never be replaced!”

        1. Jim Haygood

          They’re not gonna listen until victims passengers bang their iPad screens with their spoons in unison chanting “The people, united, will never be ejected!” (along with “More soup, please, kind sirs!)

    2. TK421

      there’s no line, just a scrum of people waiting for their digital order

      Oh, lovely, there isn’t even someone to bring it out? How soon before patrons are cooking their own dishes, too?

      1. CD

        Hmmm … I can see where this is going. Maybe the airlines are following the do-it-yourself supermarket approach?

        I can see flyers preparing their own food. Loading their own luggage into the cargo hold. Maybe even electing one of their own to fly the plane.

        Also, if you give each passenger a parachute, you’ll save a lot on landing fees and fuel.

        Worth a try. Do-it-yourself Airline.

        1. Synoia

          Ah, one upon a time I heard a story of a group of Muslims on the pilgrimage to Mecca trip. Being enterprising people they had brought their own fresh food, a goat.

          The were stopped from eating said Goat when their plane made emergency landing after they lit a fire to cook said Goat, at the rear of the plane.

          This story may be Apocryphal.

          1. Oregoncharles

            I’m not so sure. We happened to share a plane from Rome to Morocco with a large number of pilgrims returning from Mecca. They must have been from deep in the country, because they didn’t speak any European language, as Moroccans are supposed to. And it was clear they’d never been on a commercial airliner before; for instance, they didn’t know about checking luggage, nor were their bags prepared for that. They didn’t know about assigned seats, either. How they got to Rome from Mecca I have no idea.

            Quite an experience. However, they did not light a fire at the rear of the plane.

    3. RUKidding

      Sounds like a nightmare.

      I try to avoid buying anything at airports, but sometimes you have to or starve.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        I got stuck in Guangzhou on a connecting China Southern flight that unfortunately did not come with a short stay visa to head into town for excellent food during the 8-hour layover (I saved $400 but forgot to check the total flight time).
        They locked us in a wing of the airport that had no food except at the gift shop: candy bars, or red and gold gift boxes of special dried lychees ($50 per box).
        Still better than the “vegetarian meal” I got once on United: a pack of Gummi Bears, some Saltines, and a plum so hard you could drive a nail with it

        1. WobblyTelomeres

          Those are the days when the only thing one can trust is a single malt scotch, neat. And keep ’em coming.

    4. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Am I the only one here that’s not a complete germophone?

      I mean FFS it’s a tablet you touch with ur finger.

      I for one participate daily in the exchange of germs and bacteria that occur anywhere from the couch I sit on to the self check out lines and red box rentals.

      1. Ian

        Airports are a little bit special in the germ reality, the difference between your coach and an airport is that you and the germs are very familiar with each other and have reached an understanding, whereas airports bring about a whole new host of exotic and potentially dangerous germs all intermingling with which might not be so friendly.

        1. polecat

          “Uh …I’d like a side of Ebola with that over-priced plate of what might be chicken wings!”

      2. fajensen

        I mean FFS it’s a tablet you touch with ur finger.

        And then you touch your food with that … finger. Now anointed with God knows what!

        It takes only one finger that has been recently up a nostril stuffed with Norovirus to spoil hundreds of holidays and conference visits, no way I am touching that!

        Noro is a fast and effective virus too. Just imagine feeling the initial tremors some hours into the 20 hour flight to Narita – that will be one hell of a trip.

        I had Noro last year, it comes in the winter here. The onset feels like the “Pitiless Hammer of Doom” coming down upon ones useless, heretic, suspect stain-to-be-erased-existence and to reinforce that message, one will need at least a bucket for the next 48 hours of toilet visiting. I’d rather not eat for 2 days.

    5. John k

      My daughter didn’t like to touch escalator guard rails. I asked her if she touches money? Or washes afterwards?
      At least I’ve seen the guard rails get cleaned on occasion…

  5. douglass truth

    Panera has gone the same route as the airport cafe – ipads, frustrated workers and customers. works terribly, miserably. what’s the incentive? consultants’ fees?

    1. TK421

      Over a month’s time, or so, an IPad is cheaper than a waiter, and that’s money that can go into an executive’s pocket right now. Boom, there’s the incentive. It may tank the entire business eventually, but that’s what golden parachutes were invented for.

      1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

        I recently bartender at a restaurant in Harvey, LA, which is on the other side of the river from Downtown New Orleans. The restaurant implemented iPads instead of the standard POS system to save on labor costs, because it’s faster to send the order from an iPad to the kitchen, instead of having the server walk from the table to the back of the house where the POS station is at to ring in the order.

        I have to say that the servers who used the iPad made more money because they needed less servers on the floor, who were now relegated to being glorified food and drink runners making minimum wage.

      2. nothing but the truth

        as a businessman, i’ll tell you that we hate paying labor. That’s not just because it’s expensive, its because there’s tons of taxes, insurances, unemployment, worker’s comp, etc to be paid for them.

        And they complain. And sue.

        1. clinical wasteman

          As a worker, I’ll tell you that we hate working for you too. And we already noticed that you hate paying us.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Sounds like they need artificial intelligence voice-activated robot-shaped iPads, backed up by humans from across the Pacific.

  6. Octopii

    Re: Alexandria Shooter
    I live very close to the ballfield. We’ve seen the old guys playing baseball in the mornings from time to time, with a few black SUVs parked. I always just thought one of them must be important, didn’t realize the whole bunch were. When the firing started my first thoughts were not of political targets — more like lock the doors get to the basement and call 911. Then call all the neighbors, hoping nobody was walking a dog in the park or in the playground with a child. Called my partner at the gym to say don’t come home.

    The firing went on and on and on, pausing occasionally and continuing. Shots were sometimes on top of each other, indication multiple shooters. Seemed like it took forever for police to arrive. Someone on my grapevine said there was baseball practice this morning and that’s when we put two and two together. An ambulance went up the street and I wondered how bad it was, still on high alert in case any fugitives were trying to find a hiding spot. It’s the first time since Katrina that I’ve wished for a gun in the house.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Shots were sometimes on top of each other

      Sounds that way on a video at New York Post, capturing dozens of shots. But I interpreted this as an echo phenomenon (sound bouncing from vertical hard surfaces at different distances).

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        Nope. Straight-up exchange of fire between the Capitol Police and the “shooter”.

  7. Toolate

    The message we will be meant to hear: speaking the plain truth about the violence of inequality in our society is in itself an unforgivable inducement to violence.

    1. FluffytheObeseCat

      That is the message being assiduously pushed by the New York Times: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/06/14/us/politics/virginia-shooting-suspect-james-hodgkinson.html The shooter’s rather unremarkable social media posts are being ham-fistedly displayed as indicators of his Berniebro-osity. From the linked article:

      “Just Tuesday morning, Mr. Hodgkinson posted a cartoon on Facebook explaining “How does a bill work?” “That’s an easy one, Billy,” the cartoon reads. “Corporations write the bill and then bribe congress until it becomes law.”

      “That’s Exactly How It Works…..” Mr. Hodgkinson wrote.

      On Monday, he posted a Yahoo News article about Mr. Trump’s most recent cabinet meeting, in which cabinet members went around the table and praised the president. He added his own sharp critique to the posting”

      The Times’ subtext of course, is that vulgar ‘ordinary man’ types like this Hodgkinson have no business expressing independent opinions. Sen Schumer and his aides mock Trump’s cabinet of sycophancy in video: GOOD!; average guy in flyover makes a few mere written comments: CRAZYBAD!

      The Times’ avid admiration for social hierarchy is really too much sometimes.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        More than ‘GOOD!,’ when a Nobel Peace winner says it.

        “First thing we do, let us quote ourselves more often…that is, say it in our own words.”

        I think that beats rock song lyrics most of the time.

  8. neighbor7

    Very interesting ponder re Newark: in automated environments, all human interactions will be about problems.

    Which undoubtedly won’t stop people from saying “no problem.”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      All human interactions will be about problems…

      So when we see a human coming our way, we anticipate it negatively?

      “Here comes a human. Problem!”

  9. Left in Wisconsin

    The share of employment in “middle-skilled” jobs fell 9.5 percentage points between 1995 and 2015 in the OECD area, while the share of high and low-skilled jobs rose 7.6 and 1.9 percentage points respectively. About a third of this polarisation was owing to the destruction of factory jobs and their replacement with lower-skilled service sector roles.

    I have to admit, I was party to the conspiracy to label factory jobs “middle-skilled.” We did it in the union primarily to justify the pay but also to distinguish the line jobs from jobs like custodian, which were considered “unskilled” and paid less and at the time were reserved for union people whose bodies had given out on the line (now they have all been outsourced and are truly low-paid, and people whose bodies give out on the line go out on disability). Lots of people in the union came to believe this and it took a decade or more for us to move from “they will be sorry if they move that to Mexico/China/etc. because they don’t have the skill base” to OMGGG!!!

    The economists in DC were also partly responsible, because labeling auto assembly jobs “middle skilled” helped them to explain the high labor productivity. But the reality for a very long time was you didn’t need anything more than basic skills to get hired and were “trained” for 4-8 hours after hiring, mostly in how assembly lines work (relentlessly) and what to do when there was a problem, and then put on the line. It is probably a bit different now, with everything being JIT. But my guess is not too much. That is why they are great jobs if you have only a HS degree (or less).

    Of course, there are and always were a lot of very highly skilled manufacturing jobs in auto. (Less so in the factories I have been into more recently, which are mostly plastics and sheet metal fab.) It’s just that this whole notion of “middle-skilled” factory jobs is a hoax. No doubt the jobs assembling iPhones in China are considered middle-skilled, too. Even though it was recently shown you could get hired in 30 seconds if you knew some English.

  10. Marilyn Delson

    Not that I’m crazy, but to me this ambush has all the fingerprints of a psychopathic Clinton psy-ops, because the crazy has been steadily escalating as Hill $ Bill become angrier and more desperate. This act also smears Bernie in particular and socialists in general (the shooter is one of his supporters, apparently) and could have freed up a good number of Republican House seats, if successful, for Third Way Democrats. Thwarted psychopaths escalate until they get their way, and the Soros-Clinton resistance movement isn’t doing that well in getting rid of Trump so far.

      1. Gaianne

        We are not a court of law here. We do not need proof beyond reasonable doubt.

        We look at likelihood. We look at who is running what games and how we can avoid being pwned by them.

        If you only look at the surface you will get pwned every time. You have to look at least two levels deep. If the deeps agree with the surface, well, fine (probably). But if they disagree, then the surface is just deception–more than probably. But you don’t have to jump to conclusions, take your time and watch.

        The people who always jump from one big story to the next big story–they are pwned already. Because the stories are not stories, only gambits.

        There are only as many stories as there are players. But there are as many gambits as all the players together can think of. Each day. Too many gambits to worry about each one. But you don’t have to. The players reveal themselves through their gambits, and then the real stories–the stories about the players–are revealed.

        What I have just described is a perspective–a way of viewing and perceiving. What about action?

        The key difficulty impinging on action is our reluctance to build independent working groups separate from central leadership.

        I say reluctance, but the flip side of this reluctance is our passion to associate ourselves with some form of celebrity. This is not a new fault at all, though social media make it more apparent. But it is a fault, and it is anti-survival.

        Thus the working groups come first, not second, for the simple strategic reason that a leader can always be destroyed if he starts to become effective. That does not mean assassination, although assassination has been used many times. Often black propaganda is sufficient–such as is happening to Bernie Sanders right now.

        Remember, the DNC already violated its own charter to keep Sanders from the 2016 nomination. But he has not quit, and neither will they. If the shooting doesn’t work, they will move to the next level, whatever it is. Eventually he will have a tragic accident. The media will spend two sentences expressing sadness, then one sentence admiring his energy, then paragraphs and paragraphs deploring his misguidedness, and then pages and pages talking about the need to look forward not back and to move on. If this sounds familiar it is because it is, and, yes, you have seen this movie before.

        Many times.

        There is no defense unless you think in depth.

        The problem with leaders is not that they can be corrupted–although they can be–but that the can be taken out.

        Bernie is great, but he does not eliminate the need to build small groups.

        So you build small groups. The groups learn how to do what needs to be done. The groups can produce leaders any time they need them–as many as they need. Then the taking out a leader is not a strategic loss. You can survive it. And surviving, you gain ground.


    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Just because somebody benefits from an event doesn’t mean they caused it.

      I think the strategic hate management means that something like this was “bound to happen,” but it’s a very long way from that to saying “psy-ops.”

  11. Alex Morfesis

    don trumpioni scores some vig…qatar to buy f-15’s…nobody gets painted without the proper permits…so…did he just do a mobster test to see who will sell out whom or will reach for their ankles in the shower ??? or is he just the ultimate opportunist ?

    protection money…that’s the ticket…

    next up…unnamed sources disclose what Jens Weidmann was and was not doing during the 100 days in Rwanda while he was working for the French Central bank in Kigala during those
    months in 1994…

    just to let the guy in the wheel chair know who is the boss of bosses…

    but jens does care about afrika


  12. Synoia

    “James T. Hodgkinson, whom law enforcement officials identified as the shooter”

    So if all the R politicans carried gunz, they would have been able to defend themselves, which probably requires eyes in the back of their heads, preparation, shooting skills, as well as precognition.

    Can we recognize the complete wording and intent of the 2nnd amendment now? The piece about “a well ordered militia?”

    And an end to a standing military, as the founders intended?

    Where are the “originalist judges” on these matters? Selectivly originalist? Do that include selective rights for corporations, or just rights for corporations awarded under trade treaties?

  13. Cujo359

    Ian Welsh wrote this a few months ago, and it’s worth considering in light of the Alexandria shooting today: You Can’t Scream Holocaust or Fascist Without Consequences. We too often use words like “murder”, “treason”, and “fascist”, but those words describe very specific acts that have serious repercussions. I try to avoid overusing them, and I wish more people would think about what they’re saying before they use terms like them.

    There are almost certainly more proximate causes for today’s shooting than politics, but the suspect quite clearly blamed the group of people he targeted for something, and from his Facebook friend list it looks like his choice of targets was influenced by a bubble of inflammatory rhetoric.

    1. Montanamaven

      It’s not like me and many of the commenters on this site are clairvoyant, but this whole demonizing of Putin and Trump by the hysterical left to many of us seemed like “a recipe for disaster”. The “resistance” idea is vague. It has nothing positive. It fuels outrage. MSNBC is an outrage machine. The late night comics, especially the every increasingly loathsome Steven Colbert, are not like Lenny Bruce or George Carlin in telling truth to power. But rather they are mere propagandists. Leni Reifenstals. The comedians bring on bloody heads and the New York Shakespeare Festival’s Julius Caesar has an actor looking like Trump being assassinated. Maher makes a crack about Trump and incest. They personalize this difference of opinions. They call them demons and then they call up the demons. They revel in their outrage and revel in the way they get their audiences to shout and scream. And then some kid named Reality ends up in jail because “clean water and air”. And some sad dude gets gunned down while gunning down Republicans because Trump is the devil and Reopublicans want to kill you.
      I choose to emphasize the positive. I want to call attention to Oliver Stone’s life time of truth seeking and tellling his side of the story. The Putin Interviews like The Untold HIstory of the United States has great wisdom in them. There is truth about the evil of those who start wars for their own advantage. There is the shock of learning how much the US betrayed the Russian people. And not just betrayed them, but killed them in the millions. That is why the elites are out to sweep his latest work under the carpet. And why Colbert mocked him. I , for one, will do my best to not let that happen.

      1. Montanamaven

        i just finished the second part of “The Putin Interviews “. The way he answers Stone’s questions about his daughters is quite touching. He is trying to preserve his and their privacy while at the same time being proud of them. We don’t talk about politics , he says, they are scientists.

        1. Cujo359

          I wrote a reply to your earlier comment, but it’s in moderation. I’ll have to check out this Putin/Stone interview. Most of what I know about Putin sounds pretty horrible, so it will be interesting to see how he comes across…

          1. witters

            “Most of what I know about Putin sounds pretty horrible…”

            What makes you think you know all that much here? (You might distinguish belief and opinion from knowledge. It is where Plato started.)

            1. Cujo359

              The person who came out on top of post-Soviet Russia was bound to be ruthless, and almost certainly smart, at least when it comes to his understanding of people. Putin came out on top, and he did it by getting many other ruthless and smart people out of the way. One of the reasons he was able to do that is that he was a former KGB official who knew where bodies were buried.

              That last sentence ought to be a cautionary tale for those of us who live in the US.

      2. Cujo359

        The Russia stuff is one of the reasons I’ve seen the words “treason” and “traitor” far too often lately. It’s all based on whispered nothings from the intel community so far, which wouldn’t be my first source for objective, thoroughly investigated opinions about anything. I suppose I shouldn’t be shocked at how many liberals are willing to believe this with no real proof on offer, but I’m learning once more that conservatives aren’t the only ones who are willing to believe nonsense when it suits their purposes. Maybe once the FBI has finished investigating we’ll know more, but at this point I’m about as inclined to believe aliens knocked down the World Trade Center in an interstellar false flag operation for hire as I am that the Russians have Trump in their pockets.

        But I think all that hysteria, plus the WTC conspiracy theories, are part of a much more unsettling problem – we Americans seem to be deathly afraid. Whether it’s Muslims, atheists, blacks, whites, Latinos, Christians, conservatives, liberals, Democrats, or Republicans, most of us seem to inhabit a country where people who are different from us are going to kill us, destroy our way of life, or both, any way they can, because, well, it’s what they do. I’m not a big fan of Michael Moore, but I remember an animated short he did on this subject awhile back (it may have been for Bowling For Columbine). His conclusion was that it wasn’t just the guns that make America so dangerous, it’s how afraid we are. The more I watch post-911 America, the more I think he was dead on there. We live in fear, and most of what I see on mainstream news these days seems to just stoke that fear. Thanks to the Internet, we can now stay in our own little like-minded fear bubbles, telling each other how the Other Guys have it in for us. With the economy getting more Darwinian all the time, I think that fear is just going to get worse. People who are increasingly worried about their jobs and their ability to live on what those jobs pay aren’t likely to cut folks who are different a break.

        So, yes, clear thinking, preferably positive, is a welcome change.

        BTW, you mentioned in yesterday’s WC that your husband has made you a better thinker (at least, that’s how I read it). How did he do that? I sometimes tell people that I learned my values from liberals (real liberals, mind you, not today’s pitiful versions), and I learned politics from conservatives. Conservatives I’ve met, at least the smart ones, have a more realistic notion of peoples’ motivations sometimes, which means they understand how to motivate politicians to do what they want. I don’t know if your husband qualifies as conservative, but rural people tend to be.

        1. Annotherone

          But relevant, and dangerous. in that they are instrumental in manipulating minds.

      3. craazyboy

        Trump and incest

        Oy vey. Whodathunk all this 24X7 kevetching in the MSM about Putin stealing our America and Hillary as our only chance of being saved could be taken seriously by some slightly unstable nutballs out there?

        Then personal issues like our duly elected President, “home incest”, in particular, (wait till Baldwin and Colbert get their Freedom Eagle Claws into that one!) being vetted in the MSM like it’s something serious and there’s a law against it! Ivanka has probably already denied it! Baron too!

        This just undermines the fine jobs our selfless, diligent, and non-partisan, understaffed (and under managed) intel community are doing for us.

        No wonder Putin can just step in and take over!

      4. Allegorio

        “but this whole demonizing of Putin and Trump by the hysterical left” @ Montanamaven

        Please don’t confuse the left with establishment liberals. There is a world of difference.

    1. Cujo359

      It’s getting increasingly expensive to live in this country, isn’t it? Most states require more than $15/hr wages for a 2BR, suggesting that the working class will still be behind the eight ball even if that becomes the new minimum wage.

      1. a different chris

        And it says “30% of their income”… which isn’t too different from my day. But this isn’t just about the working class: my Reagan-era student loan payment was <$40/month, 2% of my gross.

        Nowadays 50% of gross is not unusual.

        1. Cujo359

          My Carter-era college education came loan-free. If you went to a public university back then, you could usually manage that.

          Another indication of how low we’ve sunk.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I remember those years well – the nightly entertainment was free too.

            Now, to spend the few hours every night not slaving away for one’s masters and lords at work, one has to pay anywhere from $50 to $100 a month, or more (that is, $600 to $1200 a year, for $48,000 to $96,000 during an expected life span of 80 years).

            Yes, one had to endure commercials to earn those free TV shows. But that made me a stronger person, I think.

  14. Howard W Hawhee

    This note suggested by your post on the Newark terminal experience: flew on Frontier Airlines just recently and you even have to pay for the water (no cash, of course). It does cut down on work for the steward(esse)s. They go down the aisle to take orders and basically get stony silence, studious avoidance of eye contact. Then they have to make long, repeated pitches for switching your credit card balances to Frontier’s special card or for some other cool service like paying a mere $100 a year to be in the club that gets you boarding priority or something. More stony silence from the passengers. Gotta be more stress for the flight crew. No sense of friendliness with the customers anymore.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      That particular liberal, he

      1 suddenly is not a snowflake,
      2 never has been a snowflake
      3 stopped being a snowflake slowly over recent months

  15. alex morfesis

    not 2 downplay the injuring of the congresskrittr, but 3-5 women everyday in usa are Killed by spouse, boyfriend, lover, or ex- of above…it becomes a buried local story and not the national tragedy it is…hardly anyone prevents crimes with their own handgun or weapon…most crimes are committed by drug addicted folks who are living a zombie life and could care less if someone “might” have a gun…am neither pro nor anti gun although this person does not believe in them…not that yours truly has not annoyed folks who might shoot but, those who might if they crossed that line, would know to do it from a distance and there would be no sound before the pink mist flows, so no need to get worried about it…more likely to get run into a lamp post by some florida granny cutting and crossing three lanes with her auto to get to her favorite lucky bingo seat before marg tries to steal it from her again…a nation of 325 million with only 365 days of reporting available…stuff happens to some…but not likely to most…

    1. jo6pac

      Thanks for the link.

      I wonder if there will be copy kats only shooting at demodogs?

      I wonder if now the congresscritters will pass a bill so they can fly military jets, taxpayer protection provided by private contactors of course. Dialing the white courtesy phone for blackwater types.

      I’m sure congresscritters will vote away our rights if have any left and more money for the surveillance state.

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        Our local gun shop bought way too much inventory anticipating a Hillary win. He has been holding non-stop sales since the election, trying to get rid of inventory. I’m certain reports of violent lefties will start flooding the intertubes.

        1. RUKidding

          The violent lefties meme is out there today in neon letters. It’s like there’s no one else in this country who’s ever ever violent except for leftwingers.

          I think conservatives are beside themselves with joy that finally a bona fide leftie busted some caps… and on congressmen, no less.

          This was a yuuuge gift to conservatives.

    2. Cujo359

      That’s a great essay, and the comments are worth reading, too. The sad truth is that the author’s right, the argument is so polarized now that everyone thinks he knows what’s to blame even before we can understand the story. And a lot of times, with these acts being perpetrated by asocial individuals who are killed before they even have a chance to explain their actions, we’ll never know why some of them happened. I’ve called this phenomenon molestus hoc, ergo propter hoc, pseudo-Latin for “this bugs me, therefore it’s the cause”. Less talking and more listening by just about everyone who has an opinion on this issue would certainly help, but that ain’t happenin’.

      In case he writes something else in the next couple of days, here’s the permalink.

  16. diptherio

    “Violence of any kind is unacceptable in our society…” ~Bernie Sanders

    LOL! Hilariously obtuse. We accept plenty of violence in our society, so long as it’s directed at the right people, or carried out in someone else’s country. Familiar with our “Justice” system, Bernie? See any footage from NoDAPL?

    1. MtnLife

      That’s exactly what came to mind when I saw it along with the Palestinians, Syrians, Iraqis, etc. Not to forget our “healthcare insurance reforms” which leave more people without access to care, killing them indirectly.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        No man is an island.

        We together are responsible for the crimes committed by humanity against animals and plants…through violence.

        “I am responsible. I’m Spartacus.”

        “I am responsible. I’m Spartacus.”

        “No, I am resposible. I’m Spartacus.”

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Wish my cats had said that, now that both of them are in, hopefully, cat heaven.

      2. jrs

        “violence is unlikely to lead to a good outcome politically”. I mean that’s likely a true statement

      3. witters

        “What statement would work better for you?”

        A truthful one would be a good start.

  17. Dead Dog

    Thank you Lambert. I remember when I first flew in the 80s, it was a pleasant experience.

    Re the ordering terminals – society gives these corporations a license to operate and serve us. When they blatantly cut out employment, people should just boycott them. When McDonalds (eventually) removes the front counter staff (they are usually shift managers now), I will stop going.

    Society needs to tell these corporations that they have a duty to society as well as a ‘duty’ to deliver profits to owners.

  18. John k

    MMT queation…
    Banks don’t need deposits in order to loan any amount, they just need qualified borrowers. In that case…
    Why do banks compete for deposits, either checking or term? Or pay any positive interest rate? Deposits would seem to have no value to them…

      1. Jim Haygood

        For commercial loans, it’s usually REQUIRED … the loan appears as a deposit in your business checking account.

        If fees cover overhead, demand deposits are “free money.” A no-deposits bank using Fed funds and brokered funds cannot compete with deposit takers … their gross margin is too small because funds are too costly.

    1. jerry

      Because once they get you in the door you’re more likely to come to them for larger loans (auto, mortgage, credit card) where the real money is, and they get paid by merchants for every purchase you make using their card – well technically the credit card company does but I’m sure they receive some percentage of that. Not to mention all the various fees and nonsense they charge for overdrafts, replacement cards, breathing, crossing the street, etc.

      The minute level of interest they pay on deposits is a little consolation gift for your impending lifetime of debt peonage.

      I wonder when so many debt slaves that have ruined their credit just trying to stay alive that the credit bubble keeping the economy afloat collapses. Awkward sentence but I ran out of time lol

    2. RGC

      1. A commercial bank is required to accept deposits to qualify as a commercial bank.

      2. The money you deposit becomes the property of the bank and you get a promise-to-pay in return. The bank normally (forgetting QE) can invest roughly 85% of it’s deposits for a higher yield. It usually makes about 15% of its income that way.

    3. funemployed

      When I worked as someone who opened bank accounts in the early aughts, management was very specific about the fact that our jobs were justified by the number of “cross-sales” we got. All were not equal. Most prized were grossly overpriced annuities and insurance accounts, and we were specifically instructed to target the most vulnerable and trusting people. I despised the sleazy con-artists in my branch who sold them, and refused to pressure people into buying crappy products. Because I was unwilling to participate in the con, I was regularly raked across the coals, but they kept me around, because many customers trusted and would only deal with me.

      None could fathom why I wouldn’t leverage that trust for a few extra dollars a month, or the relationship between me not conning people and the large number of customers who trusted me.

    4. nothing but the truth

      MMT or no MMT, a bank needs to clear transactions.

      If everyone takes a loan at bank A and those deposits end up at bank B, either A has to borrow from B or it is toast (assuming a two bank set up).

      1. reslez

        But in the real world the Federal Reserve is a thing which means A has access to whatever reserves it needs.

  19. edmondo

    So the real issue is: Should any oligarch be President? A question the Democrats don’t ask, probably because they can’t answer it.

    Of course they can answer that question. The Democrat candidates for governor in Illinois is a billionaire; in New Jersey, a former Goldman CEO deca-millionare; and Colorado, another hundred millionare +.

    The difference is that their are good oligarchs (ours) and bad oligarchs (theirs).

  20. Jim Haygood

    Chart of the Day … the yield on the 10-year T-note, minus yield on the 2-year T-note. A big difference (as in 2009-2010) signals “growth ahead.” Zero or negative difference (as in 2006-2007 after Bernanke’s rate hike campaign) announces “recession ahead.”


    Today the 2yr-10yr yield curve dropped to 80 basis points (0.80%), about the same as in late 2007 when the last recession began. Not to suggest this means recession now. But it’s on the way to zero, where it would acquire that implication.

    In the 20th century when the Fed raised its policy rate (a short-term overnight rate), longer-dated Treasuries would rise in yield too. When the short-end yield goes up but long-term yields fall, Wall Street chants with increasing urgency, “Policy error! Policy error!

    Crawl in off that limb, J-Yel!

  21. allan

    Grenfell Tower cladding that may have led to fire was chosen to improve appearance of Kensington block of flats [Independent]

    The cladding that might have led to the horrifying blaze at Grenfell Tower was added partly to improve its appearance.

    During a refurbishment aimed at regeneration last year, cladding was added to the sides of the building to update its look. The cladding then seems to have helped the fire spread around the building, allowing it to destroy almost the entirety of the structure and kill people inside.

    And that cladding – a low-cost way of improving the front of the building – was chosen in part so that the tower would look better when seen from the conservation areas and luxury flats that surround north Kensington, according to planning documents. …

    What can one say.

  22. Alex Morfesis

    “The incredible life of Phoebe Snow”…the current working title of the Robert Mueller final report on President Trumps obstruction of justice investigation…because good olde bob is just an average guy…didn’t see nothin in siilykone valley during the crash of 2001 and then forgot anything he might have remembered when he ran the ffibbiirz club…

    but good olde bob can be trusted since dad worked for doopond…

    oh…and that photo of his (?great?) grandfather and thomas edison…

    but that is probably not fair…loving patton requires also accepting his dad was also a RR man…and the santa fe pacific railroad was kind enough to pay me to do clean up work as a law clerk for a while which kept food on the table, so…its not like RR’s are all bad…

    but back to phoebe snow…it certainly plays into the clean coal argument of don trumpioni…

    history…ah yes…i remember it well…

  23. local to oakland

    Someone here suggested the movie French Connection. Ok, it has beautiful 70’s cinematography. But it’s too gritty for me.

    I’ll take the pictures from the African Queen instead.
    re NY grit, my first impressions came from books like the Cross and the SwitchBlade.

  24. fajensen

    UPDATE “Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak: Why robots won’t be taking our jobs for hundreds of years” [CNBC]. “You would have to change every bit of infrastructure [to enable] machines sending orders to other machines …

    The good Steve should tour his factory floors more often. Maybe also do a trip to the Hanover industrial fair. We are building it, now. Have been for some years. Lots of Chinese present last year, with sophisticated wares too. The Chinese are generation-gapping in a lot of technology areas. Solar is now producing electricity at 1/3 the cost of fossil generation. Donald Trump is going to land someone with a shitload of stranded assets, but, I digress.

    On the industry side the next wave of robotisation and automation is branded under “Industry 4.0”. “Boring” things like the IEC 61850 digitalised electrical distribution systems and crazy things like whatever Festo is up to with their creepy-cool robots. It not really a wave, there is a tidal wave of “new, smart, fast” coming in.

    The “glue”, the logistics side do not use smart branding-names, they quietly use Bar-Codes as data carriers, this works Right Now. My son is working in logistics, implementing a labelling system so “his” company can feed Boozt.se directly from the Boozt website. He says that it is a bit “insane”, work-wise, with head-hunters all over the place.

    Sorry Mr Wozniak, but, the machines are already talking and ordering us around!


  25. Lambert Strether Post author

    I forget to ask the most obvious question of all:

    How do travelers at Newark International buy food, when the iPad system crashes or gets hacked, as it inevitably will?

    Good thing airline food is so excellent people can really wait to get fed ’til after they board. Oh, wait…

    1. allan

      I use air travel days as fasting days. Bring an empty water bottle through security,
      drink lots of free* water from the water fountains to stay hydrated and to feel somewhat sated.
      On the plane don’t need/want food while sitting in close quarters with strangers for hours.
      And then have a good meal as soon as possible after arrival.

      * Until Nestle gets buys the rights and neoliberalize’s the airport water supply.

      1. craazyboy

        We have “Trail Mix” ! $5 a big bag. Pick up at Wal-Mart and bring along.

        Fight airport piracy!

  26. Charger01

    From the Scientific American article, the ancient nuclear reactor theory is superb. At firat, I thought they were talking about NW Energy Hanford reactor (vintage 1963! Kennedy was there for the ribbon cutting!). However, the geologic formation require to contain that amount of material is simply awesome.

  27. Michael C.

    You have not seen the end of the linking of Sanders to the crazed guman Hodgkinson. Both parties will use it against him, one overtly and one more subtlely. Both parties of the status quo system demand all outliers be eliminated by whatever tactics necessary.

  28. Ptolemy Philopater

    Bernie Sanders


    Violence of any kind is unacceptable in our society and I condemn this action in the strongest possible terms.
    12:12 PM – 14 Jun 2017

    I concur, do not believe in extra judicial violence of any sort. Yet it remains to be said that Republicans have spent their careers destroying people’s lives, it’s about time they know how that feels.

Comments are closed.