2:00PM Water Cooler 6/20/2017

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

I’m in transit today, so there will be no Water Cooler proper, which is why I promised a rant on “contactless payment” (that’s what they call it) as I experienced it in the UK, especially when buying tickets on the London Underground (“the Tube”), meaning that I began every day trip with a sense of barely suppressed rage. (It’s very hot in London just now, 86°F at mid-afternoon, and no air-conditioning or even cold water, let alone ice water, anywhere. One can only wonder if the locals are as irritated as I am, although for reasons of their own, like the Borough Market attack, the Grenfell Tower inferno, and today’s incident. Fortunately, the UK’s hot summer is short.)

Contactless payment means this: When performing a transaction, you don’t exchange bills and coins with a smelly prole[1]. (“Eeeew. Their hands!”) The term is, of course, a lie, since you in order to pay, you “contact” a digital sensor with a card of some sort by swiping: Your credit or debit card, or a card loaded with digital cash (the Tube, I believe, calls its card “the oyster card” — UK readers correct me — from the circular shape of the Underground logo.) You may also contact the screen of your own cell phone if a vendor has Apple Pay or Square, for example. Regardless, a digital transaction in real, or near-real, time is set in motion by the contact, and you, as a customer (and the customer behind you (and behind them (and so on…))) must wait for that transaction to complete, because in all cases, the time for “contactless payment” is equal to or greater than the time it would take a human to do the job. (I mentioned this to the lady before me in line when I failed to complete a transaction at the Post Office out of exasperation; she agreed. “Artificial intelligence,” she said.)

So here is how contactless payment works at Paddington Station Tube stop, after I descend the steps from the hellishly hot Praed Street to the cacophony of the Tube. Here are the ticket machines. There are five (I think), in different flavors. Some are only for “topping up” (one’s Oyster card). Others are for paper tickets. Of these two kinds, some take bills and coin, and some do not. Of those that take cash, some will not accept bills. Some give change, and some do not. In fact, the whole situation is so confusing that the famous British queues devolve into a scrum. Adding to the fun is that the scrum will be full of newly arrived tourists — Paddington has a direct train from Heathrow — who are, if not utterly confused, slow. Some of the tourists notice there is a button to press to call for assistance, and do so. A person in uniform appears, with whom they have a conversation, further slowing things down. “Some of us have places to go,” an obnoxious American mutters loudly enough for the person to hear. Why did they not just staff a ticket area with persons in the first place, since apparently only they are able to straighten things out?

Rejoicing, I am at a ticket machine that takes cash; it can’t have taken more than five minutes. (Then minutes is my limit, my absolute limit; after that I take a cab (not a bus (the busses no longer take cash; one must go downstairs again and buy an Oyster card to take a bus)).

Now comes the best part. After fighting my way through the ticket machine’s touchpad — “OU,” no, delete, delete, looks like the touch screen is out of kilter, “PI,” [yes!], “PICCADILLY,”[2] tap confirmation, single ticket, choice of cash, Oyster Card, or debit/credit card, tap cash — Why can’t the machine just let me put cash in and then do the right thing? Why must I tell it anything? — “£4.90” (Yikes, that’s more than six bucks! It costs real money to ride the Tube!), tap confirm, dig out the heavy pound coins that I counted out beforehand to find out I had enough in case the machine wouldn’t take bills, and then… I said there would be a best part, and this is it: The machine announces it doesn’t make change, [_] Accept or [_] Cancel. Vibrating with rage, I press Accept, since I’m certainly not going to the end of the queue and starting over, and the Tube raises my fare by £5 – £4.90 = 10p. Like that’s a bad thing, right? Insert, insert, insert, insert, insert. Please take your ticket.

Contrast walking up to a ticket counter and saying: “Piccadilly please,” whereupon the human says “£4.90,” and I hand them the money.

Anyhow, writing this up — and I’m sure there’s stupidity I’ve missed[3] — has made me so irritated I have to stop. Suffice to say that I wouldn’t be surprised if the real purpose of the Tube’s insane ticketing system — and “contactless payment” generally — is to make cash so hard to use that people will be willing to abolish it, thereby letting digital middlemen into every transaction so they can screw us as hard as they possibly can, because that’s what digital middlemen do. “Swipe” does have a dual meaning, after all. And those 10p add up. So it would be irresponsible not to speculate.

Tomorrow, I’ll write up my notes on the London Meetup (which was terrific, thank you all) and some incidental conversations with cab drivers and cashiers.


[1] Uber makes the same pitch. See, the driver is really equal to you, since they are an independent contractor, even if they do sleep in the trunk of their car. And you use an app, so it’s not like you have to speak with some rough dispatcher or, heaven forfend, step out on the smelly sidewalk and lift your arm.

[2] There is, of course, no map on the wall next to the ticket machines. You already have to know where you’re going. That’s a nice touch.

[3] I’ve used electronic ticket machines in recent memory in New York, Washington DC, and Bangkok. I’m not sure why the Tube’s is so much worse, but it really, really is.

* * *

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

And here’s today’s plant (via):

A “Black Velvet” petunia.

* * *

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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. Quentin

    Yes, the point of the mess is to make you opt out of cash for electronic payment. And it will succeed. Here in Amsterdam I notice weekly that another shop refuses to accept cash. And so it goes, slowly but steadily. Sweden, I understand, is for all intents and purposes nearly already a cashless shopping experience. Funny the Brits calling electronic payment ‘contactless’. That signifies a lack of human contact, I suppose. Here a payment with a swipe card is, in fact, ‘contact payment’, that is, the card makes direct contact with the pin machine circumventing a pincode.

    1. flora

      “That signifies a lack of human contact,…” Indeed. I make it a point to always use the human cashier line in the grocery checkout lanes as opposed to the “self checkout lines.” I want people to have jobs.

    2. Sputnik Sweetheart

      Speaking of Sweden, there’s this article which talks about how people who are micro-chipped there (about 2,000 of them for work purposes) have the option (with one rail line) to verify their train tickets by scanning their hand instead of by paper/smartphone. ( https://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/sj-rail-train-tickets-hand-implant-microchip-biometric-sweden-a7793641.html ) Seems like the next step in our dystopian future, and the Swedes are the ones to take it because of how cashless their society already is.

      As for London, the Oyster cards always keep a record of what stations and buses you’ve swiped in at. This is along with the security cameras in all of the buses as well. Control for the few, surveillance for the many!

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        But they need to hire more analysts to prevent another London Bridge tragedy…crippling shortage of them.

        1. ambrit

          For the Kabukeers, the “London Bridge Tragedy” is nothing of the sort but instead yet another disaster to take advantage of. Let no disaster, (manufactured or real,) go to waste.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Speaking of Sweden, there’s this article which talks about how people who are micro-chipped there

        After chipping comes pithing, I suppose.

        Say, can I have more than one chip? Like I can have more than one SIM?

  2. Enquiring Mind

    Be glad that the machines sorta worked. Rome subway machines don’t work routinely, so you must go from one to another to see which one might work. Of course, there was no helpful person in sight. Imagine the hilarity.
    I went through several and mirabile dictu, the last one worked.

  3. Martin

    I don’t understand. You bought a paper ticket – not contactless. So this has nothing to do with contactless – more the ticket vending machine experience.

    TfL is aggressively phasing out paper tickets and have been doing so for a while – hence why the journey which costs £4.90 cash is around £2 on oyster or contactless.

    What you are meant to do:

    Take your contactless card or phone (apple/android pay)
    Touch on gates going in
    Touch out on gates leaving your destination station.

    There’s no need to buy a ticket or oyster card now.

    I really don’t get your hatred of this system. It is one of the most efficient in terms of cost and is amazing compared to every other network in convinience.

    1. Motownrunner

      Seconding the motion.

      As an NYC resident for nearly a decade and an Oyster Card holder for longer, there is no comparison between the two systems. NYC’s flimsy MetroCard and magnetic stripe cause turnstile backups in the best conditions because of the need to swipe, swipe, swipe until the payment registers and the turnstile unlocks. The Oyster Card tap registers quickly enough that there’s no need to slow one’s stride. They serve the same function—avoiding the ticket machine—but the Oyster Card is far more efficient. And much cheaper!

      I could transition to the phone, but more than anything keep the Oyster Card for sentimental reasons. It’s in the same envelope as the pound notes and coins, ready for the next trip.

      1. John A

        It’s in the same envelope as the pound notes and coins, ready for the next trip.

        to Motownrunner, you’d better go back to London before October if you want to use those pound coins! They’ve introduced a different design – a coin with 12-edges, a nightmare for coin op machines as the coins are not compatible, and the old pounds will no longer be legal after october.
        But I second the comments on the superiority of the Oyster (I think it is more ‘the world is your’ rather than related to the London Transport logo, the prices are much lower and there is a daily cap. If you dont have an oyster card, a contactless card with the sort of wifi logo will work, as long as you tap in and tap out at the end of your journey.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > s, a nightmare for coin op machines

          It’s almost like there’s a policy to get rid of cash incrementally, by stealth. Though it could be the ruling class hive mind setting priorities which have that happy effect. Convenience and privacy being low on that list, if indeed they are on it.

    2. nowhere

      This is similar to my experience with the Clipper card; you touch the sensor coming/going through the turnstile. Easy peasy.

      I will complain, that unlike the El, that the BART train’s lack of route information on the physical car (Red Line, Green Line, etc.) is annoying.

    3. Harry

      I get the hatred cos nowhere do they tell you they will rip your face off and make you a pariah if you attempt to interact with it like the previous system or other similar systems all around the world.

      Yes you will be taxed mercilessly if you do not use an oyster card or something like it.

      Yes, Taxis are even more abusive. You have to be a Morgan Stanley MD, an MP or a reality TV star to take taxis.

      No there are no staff. If stuff doesnt work and Brits dont help you – well you are on your own.

        1. ambrit

          Try riding a bicycle from point A to point B in any major city if you aren’t a resident thereof. (If you do try it, carry a gun and lots of ammo.) Once one leaves the “tourist” areas of any big place, things change. I’m tempted to call this effect; Reversion to the ‘Mean’ streets.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > use a bicycle

          Until I fall of it and break my typing hands, yes. Almost happened, but by the grace of The God(ess)(e)(s) Of Your Choice, If Any, I didn’t instinctively put out my hands to break my fall.

          So, public transportation for me!

    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I really don’t get your hatred of this system.

      Because I don’t want to store my money in their card. I want to pay for exactly what I need, when I need it.

      Because I don’t like paying a “tax on time” to consummate what was once a simple and straightforward transaction.

      Because I don’t like being coerced with the pricing mechanism (“nudge theory,” so-called). I mean, do you really think the price differential is somehow apolitical?

      And because, besides enriching middlemen, we have the happy side benefit of encouraging a worker-frei retail landscape, which I also hate.

  4. Synoia

    You need to get an Oyster card, connected to a debit or credit card.

    The problem with that is that the actual cost of travel on the tube is now completely unknown.

    At one time the money collected for the tube was just sufficient to pay those who collected the fares, and I wondered why there was any point to the mindless collections of money.

    1. hemeantwell

      You need to get an Oyster card, connected to a debit or credit card

      Ditto. I can only share your pain regarding the heat. When we visited last year the nearest station to our rental, Holloway, was always well staffed. Staff was good at introducing us to the system and after that carding went smoothly, even after very heavy pubbing.

    2. ambrit

      You have hit upon one of the intended side effects of “plastic.” The tendency is for “plastic” users to lose track of their balances and thus fall into “overage” territory. The justly dreaded “‘overage’ territory” is a fertile ground for banks to make profits through hidden fees from the “lower orders.” Also, what about those who cannot afford to be banked? This is creating an actual “underclass.”

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > You need to get an Oyster card, connected to a debit or credit card.

      No, I don’t “need” to. Why do you think my needs have anything to do with this?

      > The problem with that is that the actual cost of travel on the tube is now completely unknown.

      So, again, why do I “need” to? For example, can anybody prove this system is cheaper? I bet they can’t. Especially when it starts breaking down (plastic everywhere, screens everywhere). And it will never be rebuilt, because that would be too expensive, and (calling Clive, here) nobody will understand how it works in a few years anyhow.

  5. XXYY

    It’s very hot in London just now, 86°F at mid-afternoon, and no air-conditioning or even cold water, let alone ice water, anywhere.

    Last time I was a sweaty American in Europe, I was infuriated by the inability to get “ice water” or “iced tea” anywhere. What you would invariably get is a glass of room temperature water or tea with one sad ice cube floating in it. :-(

    The solution, I eventually found, is to ask for a *glass of ice* and a glass of water, or a *glass of ice* and a glass of iced tea. Then combine the two as desired.

    Hard-won survival tip!

  6. Altandmain

    Has anyone else realized how ridiculous the endless calls that “manufacturing isn’t coming back” amongst the “centrist” neoliberals are?

    Amongst many “professionals”, I keep hearing the “manufacturing jobs aren’t coming back” mantra repeated over and over again.

    I was just talking on the bus to a gentleman who cam back from the Ruhr Area in Germany. He had visited a ton of plants there. No sane reason why the US and Canada could not manufacture a lot of high end imported goods.

    I keep seeing articles like this one: https://hbr.org/2017/05/why-germany-still-has-so-many-middle-class-manufacturing-jobs

    This article is pretty shallow: They don’t go in depth into how manufacturing requires a lot of precision and quality work, which the Germans dominate.

    I find myself these days (and maybe it’s because I have worked in manufacturing before in Accounting), concepts such as how semiconductor fabs are pretty capital intensive, but not very labor intensive. Robots do a lot of work, but they still need people (and I’ve worked a lot with engineers on the factory floor before).

    There’s something that is very classist – the upper middle class feels superior to the “hands dirty” working class. It’s also why politicians like Trump are gaining steam. The working class knows that they have been sold a bill of goods and isn’t taking it any more.

    Ironically in manufacturing, engineers, a largely upper middle class profession, would be some of the biggest beneficiaries. Other jobs such as accounting, are critically needed skills.

    1. oho

      Ford Focus (Ford’s US compact car) production to move to China.

      Corporate execs and bicoastal elites continue to scratch their heads—-why is Trump so popular?

      Answer: Russia, of course!

      >> Other jobs such as accounting, are critically needed skills.

      Easy to outsource back office functions to the Philippines or India. (And already done) Our overnight clerical work, accounting and some IT is done in the Philippines.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The Chinese communist government will bail out them in the future, in case they should need one.

        1. Altandmain

          Either that or they will demand a technology transfer and copy the good parts of Ford.

          That is often what happens with manufacturing in China.

      2. marieann

        The last Ford we bought was a Fusion (A-plan), we said we wanted one made in Canada…nope. The US…nope so we walked away. They called and said they had found one made in Michigan…perfect, we would, of course have to wait a week or two for them to ship it in…fine.
        I hope this is the last car we have to buy.
        We live in Windsor Ontario…our only manufacturing is Autos…..God help us all.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          In Germany they have unions, and large companies must have a union representative on the board. Perish the thought! Labor organizing to match the unbridled power of management, how un-American! I bet the union guys on the board also have a few good ideas when the geniuses from product development come up with something that just will not work on the shop floor.
          But the very idea of organized labor has been systematically demonized in the US. Good luck, then…you versus the S&P 500

          1. barefoot charley

            And isn’t it ironic, the US had demanded that union representation on corporate boards as part of our nation re-building in Germany after WW II. We export all our best ideas . . .

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              Maybe at the next Constitutional Convention, we should add a demilitarization clause, as MacArthur did with (for) Japan. Worked for awhile, at least.

        2. Altandmain

          Yeah I used to work for the big 3 automakers as well.

          Lots of outsourcing:

          Toyota sent the Corolla to Mexico from the Cambridge, ON plant too:

          Same with Bombardier:

          Canadian Taxpayers bail them out … and they send the jobs to Mexico.

          …. and people think it’s a mystery why Trump won in the US. This is insane. When the manufacturing jobs go, the middle class jobs go too. What’s left are minimum wage service jobs, or in many cases no jobs period.

    2. WobblyTelomeres

      Manufacturing will return to the US when the transportation costs of finished goods exceeds the difference in labor costs.* This will occur when the entirety of manufacturing is performed by robots (which cost the same to run wherever they are run).

      When China’s paupers become too expensive, and Vietnam’s paupers become too expensive, and Bangladesh’s paupers become too expensive, the paupers in equatorial Africa will have their turn at the millstone (which may explain why AFRICOM is so busy). Eventually, the machines will win out. Sad. Inevitable.

      *yeah, I know it is more complicated than that, but that is the general theme

        1. WobblyTelomeres

          Manufacturing returning is not the same as jobs returning. My post was in response to Altandmain’s comment:

          “Has anyone else realized how ridiculous the endless calls that “manufacturing isn’t coming back” amongst the “centrist” neoliberals are? “

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Until some government decides to subsidize corporations by paying for robot parts.

        (“For each robot, we will pay for the cost of one robot leg, and one robot arm, if you locate your robot army in our country.”).

        To earn imperial money.

      2. Altandmain

        Direct labor (and I worked as a Cost Accountant) isn’t as big as you might think.

        That said, many companies do have underfunded pension liabilities and other benefits.

        Another big part undiscussed is how the Asian nations tend to undervalue their currency. Germany does too, thanks to the EU. A Deutschmark would be trading much higher than it does. Either that or they do what the Japanese do with the Yen. The Yen is aggressively undervalued by the Japanese.

    3. JTMcPhee

      Classism, credentials, and working stiffs: In the late ’60s and early ’70s I had some great older friends who took me under their wing at a tough time. Herb owned a 38-foot sailboat, and I crewed for him for years and ate a lot of great meals at his home — Flo was a marvelous chef. Herb had lots of life stories, had been a steeplejack, shoe salesman, all kinds of stuff. He and Flo had gone off on a Harley for a couple of years, long before the “look for America” trope became a thing.

      Herb finally settled down and got a degree in engineering, a good fit for his German rootstock. He worked for US Industries, which used to be a big company then. It had industrial production in lots of places, including India. He told about his experience with a gaggle of upper-caste engineers from an Indian operation, who were sent to the US plants to learn the technical stuff that production and plant engineers were supposed to know, about how to use machine tools and heavy equipment to, you know, make stuff.

      These gentlemen showed up in tightly pressed, buttoned-up and buttoned-down white shirts and ties and quality slacks and expensive shoes. He told them their initial task would be turning a set of drawings and a block of mild steel into a finished part. They were reportedly aghast — “We do not do this kind of work. We supervise and manage, we are not required to get our hands dirty this way.” He gave them a quick lesson in authoritarianism, and they learned to roll up their sleeves, though it took many passes through the process for the other “fully-credentialed” engineers to produce an acceptable part…

      By the way, back when “investing in companies” was a thing, Herb added a lot to his income by understanding the effects of the “business cycle” and other impacts on the price of US Industries stock, and trading accordingly. Not sure how that works any more, though insider trading and the games played by C-Suite-ers to increase the “values” of their options and stock holdings are now part of the game, along with HFT and ETF and the rest…

    4. Mike

      It is amazing to me that labor bureaucrats also buy into this mantra. Two things wrong with it:

      1- Manufacturing is still a major employer, but only if you are a poor nation that has cheap labor cost – in other words, if we still have national economies, AND if some nations are “advanced economies”, while other are wannabe’s (a “pyramid scam” if I ever heard one). So, labor bureaucrats who are privileged would somehow lose out if national borders went away. Hmmm…
      2- As has been over-documented, the trade deals between the global elites are meant to farm manufacturing to cheaper nations. Again, nations are at root.

      So, according to neo-cons and neo-libs, the nation must be protected. Pray tell, how? By having poor folks shoot or bomb other poor folks (sorry, Barack – your word, not mine). Keep those borders and allow elites to take advantage of them, so they get the mine, you get the shaft. Lovely.

      1. neo-realist

        Manufacturing is still a major employer, but only if you are a poor nation that has cheap labor cost

        It also helps if you are a right to work state in the U.S. w/ lower labor costs, e.g., Boeing has been laying off people and moving jobs from WA state to the cheaper (labor) costs states of SC and AZ.

  7. steelyman

    My wife and I surrendered a few years back and acquired Oyster cards as we visit London a couple of times a year. Still have to locate top up machines that take cash.

    Meanwhile (and my memory may be faulty on this) I think that there are live ticket booths with actual humans in some of the bigger Tube stations like Piccadilly Circus.

    I was in London several days ago and I noticed that 1) I was one of the few people still paying with actual cash even for minor items like a coffee or a snack or a newspaper and 2) one of the only persons reading an actual newspaper anywhere!

    Traditional black cabs also still accept cash. Unlike Uber etc.

  8. PeonInChief

    This is just more dumping the work on the consumer. It works okay at the ATM, since all that does is dispense cash, but anything requiring choice requires a human. That’s why the self-check at the grocery store is so unpopular.

    1. Chris

      In Australia, supermarket self-checkout is becoming quite popular for fresh produce. You can put all your fruit and veg through as ‘loose carrots’ at $1.50 a kilo, and buy your portobello mushrooms at a very reasonable price.

      1. Arizona Slim

        Here in the good ole US of A, grocery retailers are starting to realize the downside of self checkout. OTOH, if you’re a shoplifter, what a great opportunity!

  9. Ernesto Lyon

    As a SF Bay Area power commuter I do love my Clipper card. It gives me access to nine different systems. Don’t have to worry about keeping cash and change around to match up to fares everyday.

    I know this is all leading to the matrix, but that part works for me, at least.

    1. Art Eclectic

      I use the Metro system in LA and it’s similar. You get a TAP card and just reload it when needed. There are no humans in the process anywhere on the system.

  10. ptenneson

    That’s a hellish experience. While we might moan about the heat, travel for us locals isn’t so bad. I live outside London and have ditched my Oyster card (or cards, since I forgot mine once and had to buy a second – ugh) and now use my bank debit card for travel in London. Prices are the same, and it works for tubes, trains and buses with one swipe. It’s certainly more convenient than digging about in a pocket for notes or change with a growing queue behind you.

    This all depends on being part of the system already, though. I find it convenient because I know how the beepers work and have the sort of card necessary to make the process painless.

    And please don’t take my cash from me – I’m a musician! Who’s going to tip a busker with a debit card?

    1. JTMcPhee

      You need to add one of those scanner gadgets to your SmartPhone, eh? Get with the times, eh?

  11. Eureka Springs

    Any time a computer is involved in a transaction things go too slow. No better way to signify you hate your customer. Its not about us, except for the looting.

    1. bdy

      Transfer the labor of sales to the customer. Of course all those savings mean low low prices because capital slashes profits at every opportunity. Just you wait. Stuff is going to be so affordable.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Except for Walmart, the discount stores here are worker-owned and still have actual cashiers. Works pretty slick, and friendly people.

        So it isn’t clear where the savings are going.

  12. ratefink

    Are there no ways to get on the tube without a ticket anymore?

    Can’t pay, won’t pay! (as it were)

  13. JohnnyGL

    I’m going for the re-post on this from my comment this morning….mostly for entertainment value and and a demo of the class-hatred that oozes out of the NYT.


    Tucker Carlson is NOT having any of it. Strange days, indeed!

    Also, the NYT comments section is very telling if you sort by “reader picks” by what is and is NOT stated and ‘liked’.
    1) Comments section (most popular ones, at least) is FILLED with praise for immigrants as industrious, hard-working and innovative….commenters seems to apply this to the educated immigrants as well as the non-educated ones.
    2) Comments section does NOT, I repeat NOT, have any commenters blasting the article as spiteful hate-speech and flagrant victim-blaming class warfare (which is exactly what the article is).

    Also, Bret Stephens tried to cover the hate with claims of ‘satire’. Uh, uh, I say. No dice….the hate just POWERS through any pretense of satire. He’s only kidding himself on that front.

    1. toolate

      Having just read this, it is pretty hard to see how this can be seen aas anything other than good satire.

      1. JohnnyGL

        Yes, I get that the headline policy advocacy “deporting native born Americans” is satire. Yes, he’s not really advocating that.

        But reading the tone of what he’s writing, it’s clear the disdain underlying his advocacy of immigrants is real. He thinks they’re smarter, more christian, don’t have kids out of wedlock, and start more businesses. All things the existing population doesn’t do in large enough numbers for Stephens.

        1. jrs

          I guess it gets lost a lot of places because:
          1) regardless of what one thinks of immigration policy, many immigrants ARE cool people and so people might just think it’s saying that “immigrants are awesome people”, but really it’s also lots of hate for non-immigrants who don’t measure up to his standards
          2) people think it’s turning conservative values on it’s head by arguing immigrants are actually better conservatives, So ha ha ha it sure shows those anti-immigrant conservatives. But in fact it requires one to accept a lot of conservative values that I categorically reject absolutely such as: one is a better citizen if they are religious versus not, one is a better citizen if one has lots of kids, one is a better citizen starting a business than being an employee (F this glorification of entrepreneurs already! some entrepreneurs are decent people others are jerks, enough already), one is a better citizen if they work hard versus not (really can’t justify work that much when unions are non-existent and the benefits are mostly not going to the worker, working harder than necessary at that point is just making rich people richer), one is a better citizen if they study STEM. Etc. Also what is astonishing is what is left out: how a person treats others which has to be a pretty important criteria for being a better citizen in reality (far more than entrepreneurship).

        2. Another Anon

          After the riots in East Germany were put down in 1953, Bertold Brecht sarcastically said that the problem was not with the Regime, but with the people which could be fixed
          by the Regime electing a new people.
          It looks like this is his way of saying that the problem is noth with the oligarchs, but that we do need a “new people”. In other words, the Deplorables

      2. kareninca

        I’ve been reading Stephens for years. It is not satire. He means it. He may now be saying it is satire, but that is just a way for him to be nasty and get away with it.

    2. Art Eclectic

      OMFG. Deport all the people who don’t believe in a magic man who lives in the clouds. What an ass.

      Reminds me why I loath conservatives.

      1. jrs

        oh they are loathsome.

        Better candidates for deportation:

        – conservatives, all the more so if they are oh so sophisticated ones like he pretends to be, old enough to know better but still too sociopathic to care.
        – the billionaires
        – the 1%
        – corporations (they are people too, so why not?). Let’s deport the corporations!
        – people who due to being male are unable to conceive a kid themselves, and yet feel entitled to blabber on about fertility and the need of women to breed (like a true f-ist there) and yet judge them if happens outside marriage.
        – religious right who impose their religion on our shared public policy
        – greed driven sociopaths including those who start businesses and then proceed to abuse their workers, break the law etc..

        1. Adar

          Um, I hesitate to step into this firestorm about Bret Stephens, but the piece was satirical, unlike most of his work. If the statistics he cites are correct, he is mocking the kind of conservative who says all immigrants are undesirables taking away ‘our’ jobs. In fact, many immigrants seem to embody the very qualities held up as most desirable: hard working, enterprising, law following, family and community oriented. “All the things the existing population doesn’t do in large enough numbers for Stephens”, says one respondent. Surely some of them don’t, eh? Is criticism of anyone for any reason not allowed anymore?

          1. kareninca

            It is technically satire, but as I wrote above, I’ve been reading Stephens for years, and this is in fact also his real view. This way he gets to say something nasty which he really believes, and then chuckle and call it satire. He’s a really vile, manipulative person.

        2. craazyboy

          That’s because many conservatives don’t know there is a connection between sex and pregnancy.

          Or, it was dark and they thought they were poking their plastic love doll or robot. That would confuse them.

    3. Punxsutawney

      Can we mass deport the .1%, and maybe as a bonus the DLC types.

      Or maybe just raise their taxes to the point where they “Self Deport”. A better country awaits.

    4. clarky90

      Funny, ha ha! (Not!) This is exactly how the Soviet Union destroyed ancient nations, and murdered millions of innocents. The Soviet’s intent was exactly the same as Bret Stephens’ “Hateful” fantasy; destroy any political, social, language, religious, family, traditional cohesion- by breaking up families, villages, regions….by deporting them to random, desolate places, in the middle of “no-where”, thousands of miles from their homes, their sacred hills, their streams and their family graves. It is “Gas-lighting” on an epic scale.

      This was also inflicted on Native American Tribes. (My Mingo forebears were transported out of the Ohio Valley and into Oklahoma, in the early 1830s under the “Indian Removal Program”. Most of them perished in that distant land)

      Population transfer in the Soviet Union


      “…The partial removal of potentially trouble-making ethnic groups was a technique used consistently by Joseph Stalin during his government; between 1935 and 1938 alone, at least nine different nationalities were deported. …

      Looking at the entire period of Stalin’s rule, one can list: Poles (1939–1941 and 1944–1945), Romanians (1941 and 1944–1953), Lithuanians, Latvians, Estonians (1941 and 1945–1949), Volga Germans (1941–1945), Ingrian Finns (1929–1931 and 1935–1939), Finnish people in Karelia (1940–1941, 1944), Crimean Tatars, Crimean Greeks (1944) and Caucasus Greeks (1949–50), Kalmyks, Balkars, Karachays, Meskhetian Turks, Karapapaks, Far East Koreans (1937), Chechens and Ingushs (1944). Shortly before, during and immediately after World War II, Stalin conducted a series of deportations on a huge scale which profoundly affected the ethnic map of the Soviet Union. It is estimated that between 1941 and 1949 nearly 3.3 million were deported to Siberia and the Central Asian republics. By some estimates up to 43% of the resettled population died of diseases and malnutrition.”

      The purpose? A docile population that can be farmed efficiently, for maximum return and minimum disruptions.

    1. Arizona Slim

      I’m at work, so I had to keep my jaw from clattering to the floor while I read that Atlantic article. Which saves the best for last:

      “In 2014, the University of California listed melting pot as a term it considered a ‘microaggression.’ What if Hillary Clinton had traveled to one of its campuses and called that absurd? What if she had challenged elite universities to celebrate not merely multiculturalism and globalization but Americanness? What if she had said more boldly that the slowing rate of English-language acquisition was a problem she was determined to solve? What if she had acknowledged the challenges that mass immigration brings, and then insisted that Americans could overcome those challenges by focusing not on what makes them different but on what makes them the same?

      “Some on the left would have howled. But I suspect that Clinton would be president today.”

      If Hillary had said such things, this leftie would have voted for her. And, even though I’ve found much to disagree with Obama on, I still agree with his “UNITED States of America” sentiment.

      1. Matt

        I had to raise my eyebrow at this sentence:

        ” America’s immigration system, in other words, pits two of the groups liberals care about most—the native-born poor and the immigrant poor—against each other.”

        Liberals care about the native-born poor?

  14. timotheus

    Washington, D.C., Metro ticket machines CANNOT be understood by anyone who has not taken a multi-session course in operating them. Uniformed officers stand next to them at Union Station to coach the newly arrived through the arcane procedures.

  15. DJG

    Here in Chicago, we have Ventra, which is a reader card. No dipping! That was indeed the slogan that ran when we switched from cards more in the style of the New York subway.

    And Ventra only “processes” the fare: You don’t get a readout of what you have paid. Nor does it show the balance on your card. For these, you have to go either to a poorly designed Ventra machine (think of a large refrigerator with door handles soldered on too low). There, you can get your balance, but no history of fare payment. To get recent fare payments, you have to go the Ventra site.

    These aren’t conveniences. These are not-so-subtle ways of bilking the passenger. Making contact with your bank debit card to get in and out of station? Come here: I have a bridge to sell you.

  16. windsock

    Actually, Oyster is very convenient and can be used on the underground, overground within London limits, buses and trams. You buy one card. You can top if up with cash or debit card at a station ticket machine or online. You don’t even need an Oyster card – you can use your contactless bank card to tap in at any tube barrier. It takes seconds. You can see how much you are being charged in your bank statement online any day. TfL will always work it out so you pay the cheapest rate (i.e. if you are making several journeys, you will only be charged the price of one daily multi-journey travel card).

    While I get the general antipathy towards making cash obsolete, the tube is a reasonably efficient system. Just because you didn’t learn the rules quickly enough to suit your own purposes, doesn’t make it bad.

    That’s not meant to be a dig at you, just my observation of using the tube, and buses, with friends who tend to be the non-tech savvy sort, regularly and reasonably hassle free.

    Now, if you want to have a go about the ridiculous charging system for overland trains to destinations outside of London, which is arcane, obtuse and confusing, go right ahead. That is worthy of derision, whether paying by cash or card.

    1. JustAnObserver

      Of course using a credit/debit card to top up your Oyster does require a Chip+Pin card, still a rarity for USians with their stone age banking system.

      Also: IIRC contactless payments are limited to &pound30 max. Not sure if this is a one-off or a daily total.

  17. toolate

    I must say it need not be this bad. Japan does something like this in a couple of flavors and my experience with the Japanese system is uniformly excellent. I can use the same card at most large stores as well.

  18. Eustache de Saint Pierre

    It has been twelve years since I visited London & in terms of making payments, I am sure I used cash. As for cold water in plastic bottled form sold from glass fronted fridges, they are normally available from small shops that I remember being there, but perhaps those places have been priced out, as it seems have many small retailers……I think I will stay away.

    PS…thank you Lambert for your very sensitive Grenfell water cooler.

  19. Kim Kaufman

    I just received this email from Ossoff campaign (which is happening today) a half an hour ago (file under Grifters Gotta Grift) (btw, I have donated zero to this campaign and don’t know how I even got on this list) (is this about paying off campaign debts?):

    Kim — we know we keep asking you for money (we’re sorry!).

    But today’s election in Georgia will have massive ramifications on the Democratic Party’s future.

    If we win today, it will give Democrats the momentum we DESPERATELY need to take on Trump.

    So if you have ANYTHING left to give, please step up right now. We’re counting on YOU to help us get Democrats out to vote:


    Triple Match: $5 →

    Triple Match: $35 →

    Triple Match: $50 →

    Triple Match: $100 →

    Triple Match: $250 →

    Triple Match: Other amount →

    The early vote numbers are in, and Democrat Jon Ossoff is in a DEAD-HEAT TIE.

    Everything comes down to whoever can get more voters to the polls TODAY.

    Progressive Turnout Project has a huge team of trained field coordinators on the ground in Georgia RIGHT NOW. They’re hard at work canvassing the district and getting as many Democrats to the polls as possible before 7pm tonight.

    But we’re a grassroots-funded organization. So how far we get is entirely up to the support of progressives like yourself.

    It would be devastating to lose in the final stretch due to lack of resources.

    So we’re begging, Kim — DO. NOT. SIT. THIS. OUT.
    Rush a donation today to help Democrats win Georgia’s 6th:


    Triple Match: $5 →

    Triple Match: $35 →

    Triple Match: $50 →

    Triple Match: $100 →

    Triple Match: $250 →

    Triple Match: Other amount →

    We’re counting on you. Don’t let us down!

    – The Progressive Turnout Project

    1. Martin Finnucane

      I hope Ossoff loses. Oh god, please make him lose! Please please please lose!

      (I say ‘him’ – perhaps ‘it’ is more apropos. ‘It’ as in the Blob, the Beltway Thing, the Clintonoid Grayness.)

      1. Spring Texan

        Oh if they could both lose I wish they would, but compared to Handel, I still have to hope he wins . . . even though I loathe his sort.

        1. different clue

          If it were clear that the only road to purging and burning the diseases of malignant clintonoma and Yersiniobama pestis out of the Democratic Party runs straight through making Ossoff lose, would you still want Ossoff to win?

    2. nippersmom

      Those are the types of emails that cause me to hit “unsubscribe” with a very specific answer when they ask me to tell them why I’m unsubscribing. What on earth does Ossoff have to do with Progressives?

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        He’s an uncharismatic Obama without the novelty. He fits in the modern Democratic Party, and “progressive” was one of those meaningless words bandied about by DailyKos types who didn’t want Republicans to be mean and call them “bleeding hearts” anymore.

        Obama got his guy in Perez who dumped a bank on Ossoff. It was probably Putin’s fault.

    3. mcdee

      “…lose in the final stretch due to a lack of resources.” WTF??? They have spent million$ of dollars!!! I find myself hoping the Republican wins. If Ossoff wins it’s gonna be more of the same from the HRC playbook. OMG, another wonderfully clarifying election.

    4. UserFriendly

      2 hours after polls close and I don’t think we could be asking for a better result. Ossoff looks rather sunk.

      Karen Handel (Republican) 52.6% 96,130
      Jon Ossoff (Democratic) 47.4% 86,531

      And the other race in south carolina that has been completely ignored by everyone because it was a redder poorer district is looking closer… The rural black districts are the ones not reporting in SC yet.

      Ralph Norman (Republican) 50.8% 39,736
      Archie Parnell (Democratic) 48.2% 37,646

      I don’t know the first thing about Parnell but I would absolutely love it if he wins while the DNC’s wonderkin goes down in flames.

      1. Fiery Hunt

        R Karen Handel 94,737 52.6%
        D Jon Ossoff 85,431 47.4%

        At almost 3 hours post polls…What I’m enjoying most is that the margin (so far) is over 5%; if this lead holds up, it seems all the Resistance/Clintonia/consultant grifters have managed to do is triple the loss margin to Trump by Clinton!!!

        1. UserFriendly

          Yeah, I’d say the DNC would have had better luck paying people to vote for Ossoff rather than the giant bonfire they just had.

          Karen Handel (Republican) 52.5% 116,806
          Jon Ossoff (Democratic) 47.5% 105,615

      2. djrichard

        Perusing the comments section over at WP. The volume is insane. But this comment caught my eye before it flew off the screen

        The Democratic strategy of going upscale doesn’t seem to be working out. Maybe they need the deplorables after all.

        1. fajensen

          That’s what killed Bang & Olufsson too.

          There are not enough people spending 500 kUSD on “not-quite” high-end HiFi and TV’s to feed a factory.

          Demand died some years after them dropping the lower-priced entries. Young people used to scrimp and save for their 1’st B&O system, then working their way up to the expensive things. After they bought Sony first and then “High-End”, like the Luxman I just got for 1000 USD. With leather covered speakers. Sooo 1980’s.

  20. Montanamaven

    OKay, I’ve got a good one. Remember when Chelsea Clinton was named on of the Power Women of Hollywood and she was in Variety along with real Hollywood moguls and actors. Why was she in there?
    Yesterday I was handed a copy of “Edible Hudson Valley” magazine. It has a picture of a big gal holding a huge slab of beef on her shoulder. She is part of the main article called “The women of the Hudson Valley”. And those women are all connected with food. They are either farmers, or bee keepers or tea makers or brewers or chefs or restauranteurs. Low and behold between Agnes Deveraux, Proprieter of The Village Tea Room and Ruth Reichl, the food critic, former editor of Gourmet Magazine was HILLARY CLINTON, “Politician and Former U.S Senator. Huh? When I went on line to the magazine’s website, the article was there but Hillary was missing. Edible Hudson Valley
    And it’s a campaign picture of her in profile with a stern look. No pork chop and beer in her hand. Not a picture of her at a State Fair…. Well it’s weird. It’s like she’s Waldo.

  21. Avalon Sparks

    How much cheaper it would have been, if Hillary had just picked Bernie for VP,
    or if Democrats just went back to being Democrats instead of Republicans……

    That email is ridiculous, and makes me wonder if even the Tea Party has ever sent something so desperate and galling out.

    Honestly I hope he loses, Bernie or Bust continues – Viva Revolution!

  22. Carolinian

    Re London heat–forecast high today in Phoenix, AZ is 120 and American Airlines has cancelled 20 flights out of Sky Harbor airport because their Bombardier commuter planes are only rated to 118.

    Probably more humid in London though.

    1. Arizona Slim

      It’s pretty [family blog] humid here in Tucson. Noon weather report said it was 109 degrees. And I have an afternoon appointment. Yippee! I get to go outside!

      1. Arizona Slim

        And I lived to tell the tale. Indeed it is hot outside.

        My advice for coping with this heat wave: Pace yourself, drink plenty of water, keep calm, and carry on.

        1. Arcadia Mom

          Yes, massive clouds surrounding us up here in PHX, none over the city tho. We are normally not here this time of year, the heat is frightening, makes me feel panicky, especially with little ones to take care of.

        2. craazyboy

          It did hit 117F, sayeth the weatherman!

          I walked a half mile to my gym and survived it.

  23. kate

    You need an oyster card. I keep a couple at home for guests.
    I think there may be a deposit
    for the plastic card which is refundable, but everyone just keeps it for their next trip
    for a very good reason, it saves you money. They make it worth your while to be honest too
    and tap in and out. Or risk being charged the daily cap.
    (it even works from gatwick airport now, so its greater london plus the airports too now)

    You dont need to go to any tube station either, loads of small newspaper tobacco type shops do the topup for you, just look for the oyster sign, they are all over london, so no long queues, and the shopkeeper does it for you. Its true there could be more tubemaps at machines, they assume everyone has a smart phone now. But you can always take a photo of the latest map at the station if they dont have hardcopies. As you travel around the oyster card automatically deducts the amount you use, by touching in and out, and the price depends on zones travelled through and time of day, also buses are cheaper than tubes or trains which cross through london too. So its PAYG (pay as you go), it works for trains or tubes or buses, and its quick. We have 5 million a day using the system. Charges are capped so you can never be charged more than a daily travelcard maximum limit. Any cash remaining on the oyster card can be used anytime, ready for you next trip. I suppose you can get a refund if you turn in the card when you leave. It gets fancier, by topping up the oyster when it runs out with another cash card, but oyster card works better than cash, and the bus drivers no longer worry about getting robbed. Bank cards work too but not for all foreigners. Sorry this info is coming too late for your last trip! As you noticed this transport is I believe the most expensive in the world I believe, but I am afraid you spent even more than you had to without an oyster! If only we had known at the meetup!

  24. PKMKII

    NYC’s subway has a certain streamlined advantage because there’s a flat fee per ride+transfer(s). None of this, depending on time of day and where the destination and origination are nonsense. However, the fare bonuses, while they make it cheaper, create these weird amounts such that you can never evenly use up the card. And getting a card refund is a PITA. Designed to get you to through away a bit of money at the end of the card’s expiration.

    1. Huey Long

      This is the one time the MTA being a giant cluster[family blog] is working to our advantage as the metrocard was due to be replaced years ago. I’m sure if the metrocard was capable of such arcane fare nonsense we’d no doubt be subjected to it.

      As for me, I’m the kind of curmudgeon that longs for the days of tokens. They’re low tech and did the job just fine. You can even integrate free bus xfers with them using bus xfer ticket printing machines in the subway stations like in DC.

      1. Big River Bandido

        Unfortunately, the MetroCard has an expiration date. Even if the card is physically fine, you are required to replace it. I had to replace mine just last week; the machine replaces it for free.

        Unfortunately, what the machine spit out was not the typical, recognizable yellow card of the last 20 years. It was functionally a MetroCard…but replaced with an ad. For Empire Blue Cross/Blue Shield.

  25. Tinky

    Lambert –

    While I am entirely sympathetic to your concerns about the push towards a cashless society, your rant against the computerized Tube system is well over-the-top.

    Such systems are, with rare exceptions, vastly more efficient than any system involving regular transactions with people. Here in Lisbon, while not a huge metropolis like London or NY, the card system used for both trains and buses is simple, and very efficient. Disposable cards, which are good for up to a year, negate any possibility of personal movement tracking, and the amount remaining on the card is displayed on the machines when a fare is paid.

    I certainly won’t apologize for transit fares in many major cities, as they typically are outrageously high. Here in Lisbon, however, trips rarely cost more than around one Euro.

  26. Lupemax

    I was in London in the 60s – same tube system of course – as a naive 19 year old – no problems with tickets or getting around on busses or underground at all (all people oriented no machines at all with a complicated monetary system back then…) . Thanks to Frommer’s London on $5 a day (food, housing, museums etc) – and it really was $5 a day. And so much was student friendly (i.e. free). I don’t expect to go to London any time soon – simply don’t want to anymore now that Thatcher and her subsequent clones (including BLIAR) have destroyed the city in order to turn it over to the very filthy rich. I hope Jeremy Corbyn can retrieve all this mess for the people but my biggest fear is that TMay will give it all away in hard brexit and then turn it over to Jeremy and then waltz in again when even Jeremy with all his skills cannot retrieve it for the people after the Tories have achieve the total mess they aimed for. My heart was truly broken with Grenfell.

    1. Spring Texan

      I too was in London in 1968 when I was 18. Subways were clean and cheap, and there was definitely a map posted and a helpful booklet available on getting around that made it really easy even for the directionally challenged like me.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      This ‘mess’ is the symptom, not the cause.

      To be able to handle this mess is to get to the bottom and address the cause.

      Can we do it…against the moneyed class, the media, the adventurists, cultural elites and others? The battle is not against one single political party.

      1. Temporarily Sane

        This ‘mess’ is the symptom, not the cause.

        Indeed. From the 2008 crash to the election of Trump and the rising discontent and polarization evident across the west, the media and most politicians are loathe to discuss the cause and obsessively focus only on symptoms. The last thing they want is dangerous talk of “causes” which could lead to even crazier talk of “solutions” that shift power from the “elites” to the people. It seems the various trough feeders, scam artists and rent collectors have a repressed desire to push things to a point where part of the “solution” involves their kind swinging at the end of a citizen hangman’s rope.

  27. Temporarily Sane

    I don’t mind hot weather and lack of air conditioning and ice water doesn’t bother me (the old style German “shelf toilets” OTOH…yikes) but the Oyster Card system is a pain in the arse indeed. Visiting my in-laws in Vancouver, Canada a few years ago I was overjoyed to learn the city was in the process of implementing it’s very own Oyster system (they call it something else but it’s the same cards, same setup, by the same company) and that it has been in the “implementing” stage for two years. That is, it was supposed to be up and running two years previously but the whole thing turned into a PPP comedy of errors. As of last year the system still wasn’t working properly.

    The hilarious part is that the system was sold to the public as a way to cut down on fare evasion (it worked on the honor system previously…no fare gates just random spot checks) but after massive cost overruns and a half-assed system to show for it, it’s not clear how much, if anything, was actually saved. From what I understand it was more or less an “initiative” by the neoiberal local government to help out a few of its corporate friends. Adding to the hilarity, apparently the “Oyster” parent company in Chicago went bankrupt halfway through the fiasco.

    But, hey, it was an innovative and creative way to deliver a broken system to the public and getting them to pay for it. There is a no shortage of competition in that area but this project really deserves a prize for demonstrating the difference between neoliberalism in theory and how it works in practice. Hardcore “free” market ideologues are not complaining, however. As far as they are concerned it was a wild success. Getting paid big bucks even if the promised product is broken, and pushing the costs onto the public, is a neoliberal feature not a bug.

  28. fresno dan


    “Sir, I have to tell you that I do have a firearm on me,” Castile said 30 seconds after they began speaking.

    “Okay,” Yanez interrupted, his voice remaining steady as he shifted his right hand onto the holster of his gun.

    Yanez told Castile not to reach for the gun or pull it out. Castile said he was not, which was echoed by Diamond Reynolds, his girlfriend, sitting in the Oldsmobile’s passenger seat.

    “I’m not pulling it out,” Castile responded. Yanez again yelled: “Don’t pull it out!” He then unholstered his gun and pushed it into the car.

    First, the video does not show the interior of the car. So I do not know if Castile did pull out or reach for a gun.
    BUT, I have posted many times of documented instances of police saying “stop resisting” with regard to unconscious people. I have no doubt that the “goodoleboy” adjunct training includes acting for the cameras and yelling “he has a gun” whether one sees a gun or not.

    Now, it seems odd to me that someone with a gun that intended to use it against a police officer would announce that they have a gun….
    Was there too much movement by Castile, not taking into account how nervous a police officer could be at the very thought of a black man with a gun? Or did the cop decide to shoot first just to be on the “safe” side?

    And finally, there were two witnesses – the police officer and the girlfriend. Considering how many police lied in the Chicago incident (Laquan McDonald), I see no good reason to automatically dismiss the girlfriend’s testimony.

    1. Lynne

      What your excerpt leaves out is that after Yanez said not to reach for it, Castile said, “I’m… I’m … [inaudible] reaching…”


      After she starts recording, Reynolds says that Castile was reaching, but asserts he was reaching for his wallet. For all that she thought she was helping, both her interjection at the scene before the shooting and her story actually hurt the prosecution’s case.

      1. UserFriendly

        [inaudible] my ass. You can clearly hear “not”
        Officer: Can I see your license and registration
        PC: Ok, officer I have to warn you, I have a gun.
        Officer: Don’t reach for it
        PC: I’m not
        DR: He’s not
        Officer Bang Bang Bang Bang.

        P.S. I used to live in the apartment building directly across the road. Had I still lived there I could have seen the whole thing from my window.

        1. marym

          Full quote from the National Review link:

          9:05:55 – 9:06:02 p.m. — Yanez said “Okay, don’t reach for it, then.” Castile responded: “I’m… I’m … [inaudible] reaching…,” before being again interrupted by Yanez, who said “Don’t pull it out.” Castile responded, “I’m not pulling it out,” and Reynolds said, “He’s not pulling it out.”

          Official transcript released today

          (copying it changed the format a bit, so I reformatted a few characters)

          JY You have your license and insurance?
          (pause/background noise)

          PC Sir, I have to tell you I do have a…
          JY Okay.

          PC …firearm on me.

          JY Okay.

          PC I (inaudible)
JY Don’t reach for it then.

          PC I’m, I,I was reaching for…
JY Don’t pull it out.

          PC I’m not pulling it out.

          DR He’s not…

          JY Don’t pull it out.

          DR You just killed my boyfriend
PC I wasn’t reaching …

          DR He wasn’t reaching. ..
JY Don’t pull it out!

  29. JCC

    Is it just my browser (Firefox on a Linux/Fedora system) or are others seeing the two CalPERS headlines at the top of the Front Page list too for the last few days?

    If it’s intentional, then good move.

    (I’ve contacted Gov. Brown and my State reps a few times over this, and requested a reply. I have yet to see one single reply from any of them)

  30. allan


    Jonathan Weisman, Deputy Editor, 9:19 PM ET

    If Handel wins by more than two percentage points, I think Democrats will in fact be pretty demoralized. There are A LOT of districts that are closer than Georgia’s Sixth, but they will still be asking, man, what do we have to do?

    “What do we have to do?”

    Medicare for All? Criminal prosecution of banksters? An end to forever wars? Support strong unions?
    This shouldn’t be hard.

    An Ossoff defeat is necessary but not sufficient for some self-reflection on the part
    of the Democratic apparatchiks.

    1. kimsarah

      They just didn’t bash Trump hard enough. And who knows what role Russia might have played.

    2. Lynne

      My FB page yesterday was full of cheerleading for Schumer and Democrats wanting to keep Obamacare and going after Russia. That, plus the obligatory genuflections toward the Obamas and repeated wishing that Michelle would run for President.

      Nary a mention of MedicareForAll, unions, income inequality, let alone a suggestion that perhaps rather than “philanthropy”, Bezos should just treat and pay Amazon’s workers decently….

      I was hoping the Democrats would find their way back to being Democrats after Trump won, but Democratic voters seem too stupid, frankly, to demand it.

  31. allan

    Seattle minimum wage hasn’t cut jobs, UCal study finds [San Jose Mercury News]

    Seattle’s $15-an-hour minimum wage law has boosted pay for restaurant workers without costing jobs, according to a study released Tuesday.

    The report, from the University of California at Berkeley’s Institute for Research on Labor and Employment, is certain to add to the debate as activists around the country push for increases in local, state and federal minimum wages. …

    It focused on food service jobs, which some critics said could be disproportionately affected if increased wages forced restaurants to cut workers’ hours.

    Author Michael Reich said that hasn’t been the case. …

    “We were surprised,” Reich said Tuesday. “The results were so much clearer than is often the case.” …

  32. darthbobber

    Well, looks like the jury came in on the clever strategy GA 06 was supposed to showcase. Oops.

    So who could have predicted that refusing to engage on any real issues, casting yourself as a quasi-Republican of the non-Trump variety and burning unlimited piles of cash wouldn’t work any better for the congressional candidate than it did for the presidential candidate who JUST DID EFFECTIVELY THE SAME THING.

    In fact, it worked less well, perhaps because if you narrow your platform to a single plank of “I’m not Donald Trump”, such dividends as that pays will accrue more to somebody who at least actually is running against Donald Trump in an election than to somebody who actually is not.

    1. nowhere

      I think I’d agree more in other Congressional races; not in GA-06. There is 0% chance anything other than a R-light is going to win. All of this site’s favorite topics to opine about have NO sway with people in this district. And that is just a fact.

      1. Fiery Hunt

        Actually, nowhere, one of the most favorite topics here is how fricking stupid, corrupt and incompetent the “elites” in charge of the D party are. I’m quite sure a candidate who wasn’t the epitome of those failings might be of some interest to those voters…

        1. Darius

          GA-06 wasn’t the place for the Dems to make their stand. However, the Democrats would have more success in the South and elsewhere with a working class agenda than with a Nancy Pelosi liberal elitist pose.

          1. Fiery Hunt

            Imagine if someone actually ran on a working class agenda rather than on a word salad status quo agenda….

            1. nowhere

              I honestly would love to think this is true. But having lived in this district, and a few others in the South, I’m just not sure it’s possible. Outside of urban areas (which are, apparently, on the outs around here), there is no indication that they are receptive to this line of policy. Pelosi or not.

              I mean, these are all right-to-work states that haven’t shown any inkling of giving a [family blog] about workers rights for decades.

              Just my 2¢.

              1. Fiery Hunt

                You’re right, nowhere, right to work and all the other “market first” neoliberalism make it hard to make inroads. But urban neoliberalism (I’m in the SF Bay Area) is no different than Southern right to work…the working class gets screwed by higher rent, longer commutes, and less pay than our overpaid, rentier “creatives”.

                The problem isn’t Dems vs. Repubs, North vs. South, rural vs. urban, or liberals vs. conservatives…there’s very little difference there.

                The fight is between the 10-20% who benefit from the way things are and the rest of us.

                1. Fiery Hunt

                  And know, nowhere, I truly believe we’re on the same side.

                  Just awful tired of the jerk-of*s who are running the country continuing to jerk-of* while good people continue to hurt.

      2. darthbobber

        That being the case, why spend all the money there? In preference to other places where this might not be the case? And the blue dogs have been demonstrating for a decade that an R-lite won’t win either. Especially when he campaigns with all the aplomb of a cardboard cutout.

  33. Octopii

    People underestimate the power that the phrase “family values” has in the South. That the Dems made their stand here is incomprehensible. Do they not remember Max Cleland?

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Is it at all possible that the disease known as the Third Way is doomed to failure? It failed in the Mid West. It failed at the local and state level all over the country.

      Maybe, the political establishment dominated by Bill “Mr. 43%” Clinton is simply only capable of winning very safe elections.

    2. Darius

      Someone should tell the Democrats that wishing isn’t a plan. Suburban Republicans aren’t providing the path to power for a party that has thrown the working class of all colors under the bus.

    3. NotTimothyGeithner

      I should note its been a few hours, and Dems are blaming the voters they targeted to flip for not voting for Ossoff.

      How about not giving money to the same clods who have run the Democratic Party into the ground as a nice change of pace?

      1. Fiery Hunt

        Can somebody please start calling these failures, both grifters and policies, what they are???

      2. different clue

        I am guessing from these comments that Ossoff has been defeated. I hope that is true.

        Another Clintonite bites the dust? Oh please! Oh please!

    4. Carolinian

      Hard to go wrong betting that the state of Georgia is more conservative than you expect.

        1. Carolinian

          What I meant is that while GA has the large city of Atlanta and its prominent black leadership the state as a whole is probably as conservative as any other southern state. SC on the other hand is just as conservative as you’d expect with leaders like Graham and Haley. The days when an FDR could win over the south with economic populism are long past in part because the region isn’t nearly as poor as it was then. On the other hand race is increasingly less of a factor. One of our Republican senators is black.

    5. nowhere

      “Do they not remember Max Cleland?” Thank you (or not) for reminding me of the abominable treatment he received. The D’s have a long way to go to make inroads into anything but urban areas in the South.

  34. Livius Drusus

    Why do Democrats have this intense fixation of winning over affluent suburban Republicans when there are huge numbers of working-class people who don’t vote but who fit the Democratic Party’s traditional voter profile? Why not spend money and time getting the latter out to vote? The Democrats have likely maxed out the socially liberal/fiscally conservative vote and trying to move to the right to gain a marginal number of moderate Republicans while alienating many more working-class people seems to be a foolish strategy.

    1. different clue

      Because the Democratic leadership are all Clintonites now. They became anti-workeritic and anti-unionitic beginning with President Clinton itself, and its NAFTA, WTO Membership for America and MFN status for China.

      ( Though some would argue that Trilateral Jimmy was the first New Democratic antiworkerite who worked to set the stage for President Reagan).

    2. Big River Bandido

      Why do Democrats have this intense fixation of winning over affluent suburban Republicans when there are huge numbers of working-class people

      Because the Democrats don’t like working people.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Why do Democrats have this intense fixation of winning over affluent suburban Republicans when there are huge numbers of working-class people

      1) Because the Democrat Establishment hates working people

      2) Because the Democrat Establishment would prefer to be Republicans. Ideologically, they already are. “Ancient tribal hatreds” are the problem, and inconceivably impacted grudge matches.

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