2:00PM Water Cooler 6/21/2017

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Live, more or less, from South Station, Boston!


Obama Legacy

“[David Garrow’s Rising Star] also helps us see the making of the other Obama, the forging of Obama’s inner character, and in particular the emergence of the will and drive that he developed in these years, mainly in his time as a community organizer. Obama in this period began to speak to Jager, and occasionally others, of his “destiny”—which was a reason he gave Jager as to why they couldn’t marry…. What is clear is that around this time, Obama came to feel that he had a calling for greatness, and that sense of destiny transformed him, nourishing his pragmatism and fueling his ambition” [Politico]. Note the muffled agency in “came to feel”; I’d like very much to know how he did so (“We don’t want nobody nobody sent,” as they say in Illinois politics). Perhaps Rising Star explains. Damn, another long book to read (besides Shattered).

Ossoff Loss

Ossoff loses GA-06, by 52.7 – 47.3 = 5.4% (Trump won the district by 1.5%). Not a good look.

Lambert here: Ossoff’s loss is a loss for the Clintonites, and therefore a win for Democrats, if (and only if) it loosens the Establishment’s death grip on the Party apparatus which, if the Party is concerned with survival, it should. Ossoff’s race was the do-over for 2016 that Clintonites sought: Like the post-convention Clinton campaign, Ossoff’s lavishly funded campaign appealed to wealthy, educated, suburban Republicans, especially women, and ran a technocratic (documentary filmmaker, staffer) candidate with a vacuous message. Ossoff even turned to the right, first running on “Make Trump furious,” then pivoting to run against government waste (!). When will Democrats learn that Republicans prefer real Republicans to fake ones? Oh, and of course Ossoff kicked the left: Never, ever #MedicareForAll. So the Clintonites got their do-over, and they lost. They did the same thing. Did they get a different result? No. No Russians this time, eh? No Comey. No content farms in Macedonia. Or any of the other excuses.

The bright side here, aside from relief that the Ossoff dry hole didn’t produce a gusher of Clintonite triumphalism, is that the Democrats might reconsider their 2016 do-over concept for 2018 and 2020. Might. Oh, and now would be a good time to recall the DCCC’s famously defensive, anti-50 state strategery memo on why it wouldn’t fund Sanders supporters like Thompson and Quist, and went all in for Ossoff: “DCCC Took A Smart Chance With Its Investments, Refused to Waste Money on Hype.” BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA!!!!!!

That’s my hot take. Now let’s go see who’s firing the Blame Cannons, and at whom!

Blame the Message: “This was the beta test for the DCCC’s theory of the 2018 case that well-educated, suburban voters who swung away from Trump last year would reject GOP candidates for Congress” [Paul Kane, WaPo]. “Privately, Democratic strategists said even before the votes were counted Tuesday that Ossoff’s civility campaign would be mirrored only in more Republican-leaning districts, and that a more aggressive anti-Trump campaign would be waged by candidates in longtime swing districts.” See below on Democratic strategists…

Blame the Message: “Ossoff, who received gobs of money from outside Georgia and doesn’t even live in the 6th District, started his campaign by exhorting voters to ‘Make Trump Furious.’ But more recently he backed off that attack line, and ran what even the New York Times called a ‘milquetoast’ campaign. He portrayed himself as a centrist, with a platform about as thin as his resume. Apparently he came to realize that those activists sending contributions from LA and New York would not be showing up in the voting booth, and that he had to win the hearts and minds of Georgia Republicans” [FOX].

Blame the Candidate: “That’s one lesson to take away from this: Candidates matter. And Ossoff’s defeat may make it more difficult for Democrats to recruit the best ones for the equally tough House races to come. Those ditherers craved encouragement, as did the party. It eludes all of them still” [Frank Bruni, New York Times]. If only there were a way to get candidates to run on policies like #MedicareForAll, and bypass the funder class with a small-donor model!

Blame the Campaign:

Blame the Deplorables: “Her hopes dashed, a dejected Hazel Hunt made her way through the crowd carrying a canvas on which she’d painted Ossoff’s portrait over an original poem, a limerick that began ‘There once was a country in pain.’ Hunt’s green eyes were moist. ‘It’s very sad,’ the middle-aged drama teacher told me. ‘It tells me that despite all the wonderful people I met in this campaign, there are still a lot of people who support the meanness and ignorance and tearing each other apart’ that she saw Trump as representing” [The Atlantic]. “Once was a country in pain” is especially rich, given that there’s an opioid epidemic, part of tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair” yearly, which Democrats are studiously ignoring.

Blame the Party: “[A]fter $23 million, a candidate who genuinely ignited the grassroots, and a Republican president who may or may not be (but probably is) under FBI investigation and can’t stop talking about it, the real question Democrats need to answer is: What’s it going to take to win an election in the era of Trump?” [Daily Beast]. “As of Tuesday night, they still have no idea.” Idea: Clintonites, as a body, leave public life?

Blame Republican Money: “Yet the Republican triumph came only after an extraordinary financial intervention by conservative groups and by the party’s leading figures, buoying Democrats’ hopes that they can still compete in the sort of wealthy, conservative-leaning districts they must pick up to recapture the House” [New York Times]. “Must”? Sez who?

Don’t Blame Anybody, Stay the Course: “Back to politics: The Republicans have won several tight races this year in districts that are favorable to them. The whole reason these special elections were happening is that Trump had appointed sitting House members to his cabinet. Winning close races in these districts is not a sign that Republicans will keep winning close races in less favorable places” [David Leonhardt, New York Times]. “To be clear, the Democratic Party has an enormous amount of work to do. It doesn’t hold the White House, the Senate or the House, and it holds only about one in three governorships and state legislatures. Yet a handful of close losses in conservative districts shouldn’t make Democrats panic, no matter what this morning’s punditry says.”

Don’t Blame Anybody, Wait for the Wave (1): “How the Democrats Can Take Back Congress” [Rahm Emmanuel and Bruce Reed, The Atlantic]. “So Democrats don’t need to spend the next year navel-gazing over how to motivate their base. In 2018, Trump will provide the greatest fundraising and get-out-the-vote machine the party has ever had. Wave elections are a chance to build on that base by winning back voters disappointed in the other side. Democrats will have plenty of disappointments to bring to their attention, including Republican health-care and tax-cut plans that betray the working-class voters who put Trump in the White House.” Rahm Emmanuel. His concern for working class voters is touching. Help me.

Don’t Blame Anybody, Wait for the Wave (2): “Facing fresh criticism from fellow Democrats after a disappointing loss in a Georgia special election, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman Ben Ray Luján on Wednesday sought to rally his party by declaring the House of Representatives in play and distributing internal data suggesting a number of incumbent Republicans are in more electoral trouble than widely thought” [Politico]. “Lujan also told staff that starting this week, senior aides and allies will be deployed into target districts to ramp up candidate recruitment, and that Lujan himself is planning trips to states including Maine, Kansas, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Missouri.” I’ll be watching their choice in Maine very closely, because — and I so hope I am wrong — it will be fascinating to see which loser apparatchik from the corrupt Baldacci administration Lujan manages to back.

Don’t Blame Anybody, Wait for the Wave (3): “But those charts above show something quite astounding: Republican margins of victory in these districts have shrunk to single digits, after being GOP strongholds for decades. There is a huge and measurable backlash to the results of the 2016 election” [Vox].

Don’t Blame Anybody, Wait for The Wave (4): “The overall measure of Democrats’ standing at the moment is not whether they have won, but how they have performed relative to the partisan composition of the districts in which they are running. That gauge remains quite positive” [Jonathon Chait, New York Magazine].

Don’t Blame Anybody, Wait for the Wave (5): “First and foremost, just one state over, unheralded Democratic tax expert Archie Parnell – who ran on a similarly conciliatory, post-partisan message but generated a tiny fraction of the hype Ossoff did—shockingly came within three points of Republican Ralph Norman in a district President Trump carried by 18 points last November (Ossoff came within four points in a district Trump carried by one)” [Charlie Cook, Cook Political Report]. “Parnell’s near-miss has prompted outrage from activists on the left who believe he got short shrift from the DNC, DCCC and party hierarchy. If only the DCCC had parachuted into Sumter instead of Atlanta, the thinking goes, Democrats might have actually gained a House seat by now. But the reality is Parnell—much like Democrat James Thompson in KS-04—outperformed polls and expectations precisely because the race flew under the radar, not despite it. ” I like Cook because he’s level-headed. That said, what kind of Party has to run races using a “security through obscurity” strategy? (And surely it’s possibly for Democrats to craft a national message — pick a few of those universal direct material benefits, like #MedicareForAll and Warren’s Post Office Bank (a Debt Jubilee perhaps being a bridge too far) — and then run a 50-state strategy on that?

Blame the Platform: “‘Our brand is worse than Trump,’ said Mr. Ryan, who urged Democrats to make forging a clear economic agenda an urgent priority. ‘We can’t just run against Trump'” [New York Times]. That’s what you think.

* * *

And some nuts-and-bolts technical stuff, beyond the hot takes:

“How each neighborhood voted in the District 6 runoff” [Atlantic Journal-Constitution]. Handy interactive map, but I don’t know enough about the district to commment. Readers?

“Voter turnout in April was already high for a spring special election, and it soared during the runoff, to more than 240,000, from more than 190,000. Nearly 150,000 voters cast ballots before the polls opened on Tuesday, nearly three times the early vote in the first round. And nearly 40,000 of those people had not voted at all in April” [New York Times]. For some reason, Democrats get all excited about early voting (which in my view is a bad idea, at least compared to making Election Day a national holiday). But early voting doesn’t seem to be a reliable indicator.

“Handel and her allies took every opportunity on the campaign trail to frame Ossoff as a shill for the California Democrat whose values were more in line with Pelosi’s home base of San Francisco than Georgia’s” [Atlantic Journal-Constitution]. “‘Let me tell you something, he’s a puppeteer [sic] and the strings are being pulled by Democrats and the Nancy Pelosi,” Agriculture Secretary and former Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue said of Ossoff at a rally last weekend.” Hmm. That’s the third liberal Democrat meme I’ve seen Republicans seize and redeploy, “fake news” and “deep state” being the other two. (Clinton called Trump a “puppet” in debate, to which Trump responded “No, you’re the puppet,” which shows this dynamic in miniature.) Maybe the Democrats need to start creating messaging the Republican’s can’t steal, assuming they want to defeat Republicans, instead of become them? #MedicareForAll would certainly do that, and it polls well. On a more meta-level, it’s hard to see the Republicans appropriating “Seize the means of production,” or even a more centrist “Break up all the monopolies.” And this is the thanks Pelosi gets for taking impeachment “off the table” in 2006. Why, the ingratitude!

“Many of the same online donors who directed more than $23 million into Ossoff’s campaign have also been donating online to Democratic “nominee funds” in Republican-held districts. The liberal website Daily Kos has raised over $1.5 million that has put into escrow funds for the eventual Democratic nominees in 24 Republican-held districts; Swing Left, another progressive organization, has raised $1.7 million into funds for the eventual opponents of 35 Republican House members who voted for the GOP health care bill” [Daily Kos]. “Those numbers will climb significantly over the next year, and they demonstrate that Ossoff is not the only Democrat pulling in big money from small donors online. Many Republican incumbents will face opponents who are better-funded than ever in 2018.” Which goes to show the problem with regarding infrastructure as such to be important. Daily Kos got a bunch of small donors to back a candidate who, if elected, would have had the effect of preventing Democrats from supporting #MedicareForAll (and yes, saving thousands of lives and hundreds of billions of dollars per year isn’t such a bad litmus test). So why is that good? It’s not good. Same thing with voter turnout. If Democrats succeed in activating wealthy suburban voters also opposed to #MedicareForAll, why is that good? Sure, democracy, etc., but why not let other parties handle getting those particular votes out? Eh?

“She will become the first woman to represent the Peach State in Congress since Democrat Cynthia McKinney lost her reelection bid 11 years ago” [Atlantic Journal-Constitution]. “The future is female.” Not those females!

“The dollars came rolling in but the votes did not. Handel’s win was comparatively comfortable, given polls showing a neck-and-neck race, anecdotal accounts of intense Democratic enthusiasm and Ossoff’s success in raising more than $23 million — an astronomical sum for a House race” [The Hill]. So the consultants are happy campers, at least. “I Am The Very Model of a Democratic Strategist”:

I’m very good at narrative and counterfactual history,
I know the talking points for when I’ve snatched defeat from victory;
So if you want a partisan, sock puppet, or apologist
I am the very model of a Democratic strategist!

Health Care

“The U.S. Navy has found $500 million to buy a second littoral combat ship in next year’s budget after scrounging that was required because the vessel was left out of the Trump administration’s proposed budget sent to Congress last month” [Workboat]. In my reading, the contracts are going to Lockheed Martin Corp. in Wisconsin and Austal Ltd. in Alabama, and not to Bath Iron Works. So.

Realignment and Legitimacy

I focused on Ossoff, and so I’m not fully up to speed on this story, but I think I am right that (a) there are still only anonymous sources on election system hacks, where “hacks” assumes reliable attribution, and (b) the only evidence we have that the DNC email system was hacked by Russians came from the DNC’s vendor, CrowdStrike, and that the DNC refused to hand over its servers to the FBI at the time. I had always thought that a story’s lead was structured like an inverted pyramid, not the evidence for the story itself.

“Russian hackers targeted 21 U.S. states’ election systems in last year’s presidential race, a U.S. Department of Homeland Security official told Congress on Wednesday. Jeanette Manfra, the department’s acting deputy undersecretary of cyber security, would not identify which states had been targeted, citing confidentiality agreements. ” [Reuters] (Manfra). “She reiterated to the Senate Intelligence Committee that there was no evidence that any actual vote ballots were manipulate.” Oh. OK. Weird sense of priorities results in an argument from authority by an intelligence official on matters that could be considered to affect the legitimacy of a Presidential election, but OK. Anyhow, it’s an administration official making the argument, and a career professional, if that means anything these days, so maybe the Russian hacking story will become something that Trump’s Election Integrity Commission looks at (“vulnerabilities in voting systems and practices”). A good outcome for DHS, at least.

“Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson testified Wednesday that the Democratic National Committee last year turned down his agency’s offer to help protect its network despite being warned about a hack” [Fox]. “He also confirmed that while Russia, at the direction of President Vladimir Putin, orchestrated cyberattacks on the United States to influence the 2016 presidential election, Moscow was unable to actually alter ballots.” Just to defend the DNC, the successful spearfishing attack on Podesta’s email account probably didn’t warrant DHS’s involvement.

“Blumenthal joined forces with the Constitutional Accountability Center and became the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit filed against the President, last week, for violating the emoluments clause. Thirty other Senators and more than a hundred members of the House of Representatives, all Democrats, have joined as co-plaintiffs” [Jeffrey Toobin, The New Yorker]. On the emoluments clause, see NC here, here, here, and here. And seriously, if Zuckerberg decided to run on the Democrat ticket, do you think the Democrats would be calling for him to sell all his Facebook interests? Or would they cough up their principles? A question that answers itself, once asked. As I keep saying, the problem isn’t “conflict.” It’s oligarchy (and oligarchs).

Stats Watch

Existing Home Sales, May 2017: “Housing has been sliding which adds importance to May’s very solid 1.1 percent rebound in existing home sales to a higher-than-expected 5.620 million annualized rate” [Economic Calendar]. “The housing sector opened the year strongly but mostly fizzled during the Spring selling season. Yet this report limits that weakness and should confirm expectations for a bounce back in Friday’s new home sales report. Watch next week for pending home sales which will offer an advance indication on existing home sales in June.” And: “was the third-strongest rate of the past 12 months” [Economic Calendar]. And but: “This was a relatively good month for home sales which offsets last month’s poor showing. The rolling averages improved. It is true that low priced inventory is almost non-existent” [Econintersect]. And: “I started the year expecting inventory would be increasing year-over-year by the end of 2017. That now seems unlikely, but still possible. More inventory would probably mean smaller price increases, and less inventory somewhat larger price increases” [Calculated Risk].

MBA Mortgage Applications, week of June 16, 2017: “Purchase applications for home mortgages fell a seasonally adjusted 1 percent” [Economic Calendar]. “The robust purchase application activity reported by the MBA in recent weeks suggests that the housing market is coming back strongly after first quarter strength sagged substantially in April and May.”

Shipping: “UPS Inc. said today that, for the first time, it will assess a surcharge on peak holiday season deliveries in the U.S. in an effort to recoup the higher costs that come with managing the peak surge” [DC Velocity].

Shipping: “Approximately 100 truck drivers and warehouse workers serving the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach plan to launch a strike starting Monday, according to the Teamsters union local that represents the workers” [DC Velocity].

Shipping: “Shipping industry consolidation is picking up again. Chinese conglomerate Cosco Group is in advanced discussions to acquire Hong Kong-based Orient Overseas Container Line Co., the WSJ’s Costas Paris reports, in a deal worth at least $4 billion that could be concluded by next month. The transaction would be the first since a series of acquisitions and new alliance tie-ups, along with the collapse of Korea’s Hanjin Shipping, redrew global container shipping maps” [Wall Street Journal].

Concentration: “Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is telling some technology companies that if they want its business, they can’t run applications for the retailer on Amazon.com Inc.’s leading cloud-computing service, Amazon Web Services, several tech companies say” [FOX].

Concentration: “The company has established its level of dominance because of the failings of our current antitrust laws. To understand why, you first need to understand the scope of Amazon’s power. It has captured 43 percent of all internet retail sales in the United States, with half of all online shopping searches starting on Amazon. In 2016, it had over $63 billion in revenue from online sales in the United States — or more than the next 10 top online retailers combined. It controls 74 percent of e-book sales, is the largest seller of clothes online and is set to soon become the biggest apparel retailer in the country” [New York Times]. “Amazon today is also one of the world’s largest logistics networks and marketing platforms, as well as the dominant provider of cloud computing, which counts among its clients the Central Intelligence Agency. It manufactures products like the Echo, produces award-winning movies and television series, and delivers food from restaurants in 20 cities. In building this vast empire, Amazon chased growth over paying dividends, pricing key goods and services below cost to chase out competitors.” Amazon also evaded state sales taxes for years, did it not? Any chance of clawing them back?

The Bezzle: “Former JPMorgan trader Iksil links CEO Dimon to ‘London Whale’ losses” [Reuters] (Iksil’s site). On Dimon and the London Whale, see NC in 2010.

The Bezzle: “Uber CEO Travis Kalanick has resigned due to investor pressure, and a search for a new leader is on” [Recode]. (Oddly, both the Times and WaPo attribute Kalanick’s defenestration to “shareholders,” as if Uber were a public company. Did all the copy editors get fired in the last re-org?__

The Bezzle: “Uber’s board plans to approach Facebook operating chief Sheryl Sandberg about filling its newly vacant CEO spot, The Post has learned” [New York Post]. I can only hope somebody sends Sheryl some NC links, so she knows what she’d be getting into. See especially “Can Uber Ever Deliver? Part Ten: The Uber Death Watch Begins.”

Rapture Index: Unchanged [Rapture Ready]. Record High: 189, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 182.

Five Horsemen: “Amazin’ blows past Alphabet” [Hat tip, Jim Haygood].

Five Horsemen Jun19

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 43 Fear (previous close: 48, Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 52 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed. Last updated Jun 21 at 1:21pm.

Health Care

“Able Health is looking for Senior Application Engineers to build delightful features and improve the reliability of our systems as we rapidly scale our product and organization” [Able Health]. A start-up backed by Y Combinator. Can anybody decode this:

Able Health’s mission is to support a continuously improving US healthcare system. Our platform helps doctors earn incentives from health plans for delivering better care.

What’s “better,” for example?

Class Warfare

“POPULISM AND THE ECONOMICS OF GLOBALIZATION” (PDF) [Dani Rodrik, John F. Kennedy School of Government]. “‘Populism’ is a loose label that encompasses a diverse set of movements. The term originates from the late 19th century, when a coalition of farmers, workers, and miners in the U.S. rallied against the Gold Standard and the Northeastern banking and finance establishment. Latin America has a long tradition of populism going back to the 1930s, and exemplified by Peronism. Today populism spans a wide gamut of political movements, including anti-euro and anti-immigrant parties in Europe, Syriza and Podemos in Greece and Spain, Trump’s anti-trade nativism in the U.S., the economic populism of Chavez in Latin America, and many others in between. What all these share is an anti-establishment orientation, a claim to speak for the people against the elites, opposition to liberal economics and globalization, and often (but not always) a penchant for authoritarian governance.” It seems to me that any concept that throws Peron, Trump, Syriza, and Podemos into the same bucket isn’t especially useful (except, possibly, to threatened elites).

News of the Wired

Oh, good:

Hope nobody figures out how to make them flicker…

And here’s today’s plant (via):

Footprints in the sands of time, or at least a sandy beach! And don’t step on your specimens!

* * *

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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. Altandmain

    Is anyone actually quite amused and pleased that Ossoff lost?

    Had Ossoff won, the Establishment Democrats would have argued that neoliberalism was the way forward, despite the fact that Thompson in Kansas and Quist in Montana had virtually no support from the DNC, while they raised more than $20 million for Ossoff.

    It would have been no different than had Clinton won. She would have used the win to suppress the left and inflict neoliberalism on the rest of the world. It would have been business as usual.

    I’m reminded of this editorial:

    In other news, other races are gaining steam. The race against Paul Ryan for example:

    Also, without Cobryn, I doubt there would have been a block for the Grenfell survivors:

    The illusion of the American dream is starting to fade:

    Finally, Trump has just sold the American people out – on drug prices:

    1. Vatch

      It’s good that the voters in Georgia swatted the establishment Democrats with a rolled up newspaper. It’s bad that they elected Karen Handel, who is a disturbing extremist. We already have too many of her type in the Congress.

      1. Big River Bandido

        The result was almost foreordained, despite what the Rahm Emanuels of the world say. That seat has been in Republican hands since 1979.

        Of course, that would have been good reason not to light $23 million on fire in the first place.

      2. Pat

        I’m pretty sure the Republican extremists are becoming instrumental in the breakdown of the Republican party. Especially in future days as we see the circular firing squad emerge from the ashes of the Republican replace and repeal antics.

        Electing Trump was not good, but it was better than the alternative, although a whole lot of people still have not figured it out. Eventually most people will. At which point they demand the party becomes a ghost and the current leadership and consultancy class gets called out and exits left, and gives up the big tent smoke and just goes for good old fashioned liberal ideas, like single payer.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          Um, uh, really? “Breakdown of the Republican Party”? Maybe the Dems can learn that trick too then, and “break down” by winning elections…they’ve already mastered the “winning by losing” method it seems.

      3. Allegorio

        Though it is courting disaster, maybe it is time for the electorate to realize who they have been supporting by the damage they will do to themselves in so doing. Talk about Democratic identity politics, the Republicans take the cake. Anything the “liberals’ want we don’t, no matter who it benefits, and of course anything that Obama did was horrible and stupid, even though he carried water for the Republicans. I think it had something to do with the color of his skin, and “those people can’t do anything right.”

        1. Oregoncharles

          It’s the same reason the Republicans hated Clinton: precisely BECAUSE he is one.

          That means he is/was stealing their ideas and, the part that really counts, their donors.

          Race affects a certain number, probably quite stable but declining and mostly Republican (though also, of course, in a different way, Democrats – note the loss of votes when they did NOT run an African-American).

          But Obama got elected with a wide majority and great enthusiasm. The current occupant did not. And remember the key, swing counties, that elected Obama and then turned around and elected Trump.

          Racism is real but, for present purposes, mostly a distraction.

    2. Big River Bandido

      I read the news this morning, waking up with a chortle.

      Mind you, I don’t think the Democrats will learn their lesson, yet.

      1. Martin Finnucane

        Oddly enough, I needed to look something up on the Georgia Secretary of State website this morning. I googled “Georgia sec state” or some such, and up pops the election results. I’ve been grinning ever since.

    3. Kirby

      Also very amused. Trump and the money Dems are deeply, darkly amusing. Every time I think I’ve hit the bottom of the amusement bucket Trump does something like his trip to Panama and the same screw-ups from the DNC and Clinton campaign drop $25M on a dude I wouldn’t buy a used car from in Georgia – and I’m chuckling again.

      Can’t say I’m pleased though – not while the largest amount of reactions from $Dems and political hacks is “wait for the wave” – per today’s links.

      The Establishment Dems are still being told by the media around them to wait for a magical wave of voters that arises in response to Trump and carries them to power without having to do anything – especially anything for the left, the poor or the working class. Don’t know if that wave is coming. Don’t know how those $Dems propose maintaining power when the tide starts going back out.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        I think the most destructive part about the “Wait for the Wave” mentality is that it presumes the Republican Party is unable to adapt to changing circumstances. (Rather like the “Obama Coalition” idea that all the Democrats have to do is wait and demographics will work its magic.) But if the Republicans were not adaptive, they wouldn’t have won all three branches of the Federal government, most governorships, and most state legislatures.

        1. tempestteacup

          This is an important point that I’ve been thinking about recently with regard to the UK. After Corbyn’s unexpectedly, joyously good showing in the General Election, a lot of the strategising has been based around the presumption that the Tories will continue in their current blighted state. Unsurprisingly, much of this has been coming from organs like the Guardian, or MPs like those who until about 2 weeks ago were lining up to launch their own leadership challenges to what they expected was a Corbyn just waiting for the coup de grace.

          This is politics as the batting of a ball between two largely static opponents. You just have to wait for it to come exactly where you want it to be. The rules of the game are fixed (in both senses). The notion that you could harness the political agency of your constituents in the service of structural change is not just anathema – it’s speaking a different language. Many of those now “reconciled” to Corbyn are only so because they believe he’s about to win. The fact that they are cheering him on doesn’t alter the fact that they’re doing so for the same mistaken reasons that caused them to hate him until June 9th.

          Back to the US, and I’ve read the stuff about the Republican Party as a declining force, how demographic changes will render them obsolete. In the first place, I’m not sure that throwing the next 5-10-20 years, and all those who will suffer under its prevailing conditions, away is a very ethical position to take. In the second, as you say, it falls for the same trap – that “liberals” have a monopoly on agency, that the Republicans are just cartoon buffoons, fodder for Samantha Bee to laugh over. Election results suggest otherwise.

          The obviousness of that suggests to me that this soap opera view of politics is of benefit to both sides. Sustained, determined, detailed demands are to the benefit of neither side in this one-dimensional game of checkers. “When they go low, we go…away”?

          1. Mike

            – “this soap opera view of politics is of benefit to both sides”

            Sadly, we still have to learn that both sides are just the Janus faces of one ideology. Yes, it changes, and it moves in relation to the “opposing” face, but the necessity of its existence is rooted in the single body of political economy that produced such policies and politics that we see and deplore. Apart from identity politics that does not reflect, but rather creates, such identities, core beliefs about domestic and foreign policies are the bullets that will kill us.

            So, I ask, with what is our gun loaded?

        2. Kfish

          Even viruses adapt to a changing environment. Republicans are demonstrating a greater ability to adapt, and therefore greater fitness to survive, than the DNC.

      2. Altandmain

        It might be better with the Democratic Establishment believing their own propaganda about a mythical wave.

        At least they will complete their own self destruction. The question is what the left can do to take over the ashes once the smoke and dust settle. The real change is taking on the plutocracy.

    4. dcblogger

      I am sorry Handle won, another victory for an anti-abortion extremist. An Ossoff win would have also made it more difficult to pass Trumpcare. So I regret this. Democrats losing does NOT equal Democrats learning.

      The real battle starts in the primaries next year. In the mean time there are important legislative races in VA and NJ. dunno about NJ, but Republican are due for a pummeling in Virginia. Fortunately NONE of that is dependent upon the national party.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Democrats losing does NOT equal Democrats learning

        It’s the only possibility I can see. That’s one reason we have elections, right? And I think the direction and leadership of the party matters much more than any one seat.

          1. Oregoncharles

            Meant as a reply to DCblogger.

            And to fill it out: Why would they? How much did the “consultants” make on losing that election? Or the party?

            1. David Carl Grimes

              I wonder if Hillary employs financial advisers the same way she does with political consultants – by the truckload, perhaps? I wonder why she hasn’t caught on that the only ones who benefit from her campaigns are the consultants. Maybe she’s losing money with her financial advisers as well. That’s why she has to keep on grifting. Sort of like Nicolas Cage or Johnny Depp doing movie after movie to stave off bankruptcy.

              1. different clue

                Or maybe all her campaign consultants are stealth-instructed on stealth-ways to stealth-launder some of the campaign-donation-money she pays them . . . into her own family foundations. So perhaps she is personally making a percent of the money which the patient donors keep losing to the campaign consultants.

        1. PH

          The Dem establishment will never learn anything from general election defeats.

          Only maybe will learn from primary defeats. Probably will never learn; just must be replaced, one at a time.

          Would be good if a progressive or two get to Capitol Hill if they learn to bring their own staff.

          The recycled staff on Capitol Hill are minders for the Dem Establishment. Even Bernie falls prey to this.

          1. different clue

            No progressive will learn this after getting to public office on Capitol Hill. The only way this will happen is if liberadicals who have already learned this beFORE they “go national” can get elected to these national offices. They may already have their “liberadical mafias” in place to bring with them.

        2. Mike

          Unfortunately, Lambert, elections are a positive as long as the voting system can reflect true popular opinion base upon real facts.

          May I add that it pays the Democrats to lose if, as is true for the last 37 years, their core policy prerogative is to reinforce and realign with Republicans, allowing neoliberal monopoly to the exclusion of all else.

      2. I Have Strange Dreams

        Being anti-abortion is no more extremist than being anti-death penalty. It is an ethical and moral stance that many people have come to after long and deep reflection.

        1. WobblyTelomeres

          They should be the same (anti-abortion and anti-death penalty). Same argument. One-and-the-effing-same.

          But they are not. At least, not at the clinic I escorted at. Forced birth, then starve them, put them into underfunded schools, and kill ’em if they turn out bad.

          Tried to explain how passing out free birth control and teaching the kids how to use it would d*mn near eliminate abortions. Words fell on deaf ears because birth control causes babeez to die.

          1. Oregoncharles

            Actually, TBF, the Catholic Church is consistent on precisely that. Also antiwar.

            I still think they’re evil, but they have some good positions. I think a lot of what we see is that the American hierarchs are personally very conservative, so they favor the Church positions that fit with that attitude.

        2. ChrisPacific

          If it was in the context of an overall pro-child viewpoint then I would agree with you. Currently given the other policies that most of them favor (well described by WobblyTelomeres) I find it hypocritical in the extreme. Work with us to build a world in which people are provided with the necessary support to build a meaningful life for themselves, with enough space to raise a child to become a productive member of society, and we’ll talk.

        3. Mike

          That’s fine, for you and your co-believers. If you think slavery, as is supported in the Bible, is something to reinstate, please gather together all fellow theorists and have at it- in your own country where your policies can be put into law without dissension (but good luck attracting voluntary slaves, or raiding other countries for your labor needs).

          A neutral policy of access to abortion is necessary until that point is reached where all men and women have complete knowledge of their own psychological drives, how sex and power cohabit the mind, the side effects of drugs and procedures used to limit birth, and long-term economic security such that planning can take place.

          Do we have that?

      3. Benedict@Large

        “Democrats losing does NOT equal Democrats learning”

        That’s not important. What’s important is whether the donors learn. How long are they going to keep giving to a group with a track record approaching zero? This isn’t some sports league where you die cheering on the same home town team you were born with. Donors give because they have needs, and this Democratic machine seems singularly incapable of delivering to those needs.

        When the donors get tired, the neolibs go.

        1. different clue

          The donors hire the neolibs to keep liberadicals and progressives and such from getting nominated to Democratic slates. As long as various “bernies” are prevented from getting nominated to DemParty slates, they are satisfied with their good investment. As long as they have more money to lose by other people electing progressives and liberadicals to positions of policy power than the money they are losing by funding neoliberal candidates to keep various counter-neoliberals from getting nominated, they will keep donating. The donors’ victory lies in protecting their wealth and power and social position. And they will keep donating to neoliberals in order to keep excluding neoradicals from every getting to run for something.

          If we want various sorts of “bernies” to be nominated to slates and tickets, then we will have to become a whole separate parallel donor-base. The Bernie donors showed what could be done in that regard. The Clintonite donors will have to be crushed and exterminated from politics along with the Clintonite recipients.

      4. sid_finster

        Team D will start learning once the donors start to get wise.

        Team R (or Team D) surely will implode once they achieve a defacto political monopoly. At that point, they’ll be out of excuses and there is only so much loot and so many offices to go around.

        1. Skip Intro

          Perhaps the donors understand that the Democrats are not there to win, but to keep the left from running and winning.

          1. different clue

            You know, if I had read down to your comment first, I would not have written my redundant comment just a little upthread.

            That is what the donors are donating for. To buy anti-left exclusion against left-minded people getting nominated to any Democratic tickets at any level for anything.

            The donors are ” the Arsenal of Clintocracy”.

            1. Skip Intro

              Hence the come-on used by the DNC when courting sugar daddies: ‘It’s a nice little oligarchy you got there, it would be a shame of something were to happen to it’.

              p.s. You elaborated the dynamic nicely. I should have formulated my post as a haiku.

    5. FluffytheObeseCat

      The decision to go all in for Ossoff in the north uber-burbs of Atlanta looked insane to me. I lived among the exurban southern professional class in the 00’s. There is always a minority of good-natured, mild-mannered, genuinely Christian folks in areas like this who will vote Democrat, but they are always outnumbered. The focus on Georgia’s upper middle class 6th district made no sense from the perspective of actually winning. The core population there will not vote for Democrats in their lifetimes. Ever. Their children probably will not either.

      I wonder if the political consultant class didn’t push this race in order to secure good temp jobs in the wake of their unexpected loss of access to Beltway employment. Tidy, over-hyped long shots like the Ossoff campaign buy them a little time, and keep money rolling their way until it finally disappears. A Beltway based campaign consultant could service a north Georgia race and get home most every weekend until right before the election day. Working a race in Kansas or Montana would mean actually ‘rolling up sleeves’: weeks on end eating rubber chicken in small towns in the flat lands, changing tires, lugging stuff, talking with gun-toting rude folk. Actual, real campaign work as we may still imagine it to be. As it still is for the nobodies across the nation.

      Winning small, special election races in deep flyover is not a desk job. You can’t do it while using your spare time to find your next gig at some Washington-based NGO or think tank.

        1. philnc

          Yes. Fluffy has nailed it. The Clintonites and Blarites are the very definition of cynicism, so this should be no surprise.

        2. different clue

          Well . . . that’s all the Clintonite Sh*tobamacrat Leadership of the Democratic party is these days, yes.

          That’s why they will have to be slowly and in detail exterminated from out of the Party if the rest of us want to have a Democratic Party which we can use as a tire iron to beat what we want out of the political system.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Flight time from DC to Atlanta is one hour and 17 minutes, so yes, theoretically, a strategist or consultant could leave in the morning, take some meetings with the Ossoff campaign, and be back in DC in time for a late dinner at Tail Up Goat.

        I don’t know if that’s the driver, but it might not be too cynical to imagine it factors in.

      2. Benedict@Large

        The move now to blame Pelosi is so obviously a move by the consultant class to once again save its ass for yet another failure.

        1. different clue

          If “blaming Pelosi” can get Pelosi removed from public and political life, then lets all “blame Pelosi” even if she is oh-so-technically not “to blame” for this particular outcome. She is certainly to blame for the current antiworkeritic classist antiworkerite orientation and mission of the NAFTAcratic Party of today.

    6. Jeff W

      I’m pleased (but not particularly amused).

      Democrats losing might not be sufficient to bring about some change but it is, however, necessary. Losers might learn; winners seldom do (even if they need to).

    7. different clue

      Yes, I am amused AND pleased. This defeat won’t defeat Clintonism all by itself. But it is a small step.
      Real Democrats will have to be willing to reject the Clintonites among them. The most effective such rejection would be for Real Democrats to vote Republican against the Clintonite every time the Democratic Nominee is a Clintonite. Keep defeating every Clintonite every time until zero Clintonites are left in public office. Then perhaps the Clintonites will be weakened enough within the Party that the Real Democrats can begin a house-to-house search and destroy mission to find and “kill” every single last Clintonite hiding in every single last spider hole.

  2. TK421

    The Democratic Party will learn or die. Either way is fine with me.

    Speaking of which: holy hell, there’s a website called hillarybeattrump.org that operates from some bizarro world parallel universe, where Hillary not only won the election but solved most of America’s problems in her first hundred days as well (and, weirdly, Corbyn was replaced as head of Labour). Yikes.

  3. sleepy

    The Atlantic article and Rahm:

    Wave elections are a chance to build on that base by winning back voters disappointed in the other side.

    No mention of winning back voters disappointed in both sides.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      It’s amazing to see Rahm pose as “The Victor of 2006.” IIRC, the “wave” started because Bush the Younger decided (“I have political capital and I intend to use it”) to privatize Social Security after he won in 2004. Amazingly, Pelosi — her spine stiffened by the then functional blogosphere — decided not to sell out via a Grand Bargain, but to oppose the effort. The effort succeeded, Bush was shown to be weak, and that gave a lot of other people courage to oppose him. That’s my recollection, at least. The wave began with a policy victory for the Democrats on universal direct material benefits, and not the Russkis or some such cr*p.

      1. Darius

        Or “reaching out across the aisle,” or “magnanimity,” or other Obamamometer diversions.

      1. The Beeman

        Read through Swearengin’s website and policy positions.

        I would vote for her if I lived in WV.

  4. Carolinian

    Lindsey Graham says sick people should all be on Medicare (as a way to pull down private insurance premiums presumably). Lindsey more liberal than Ossoff?


    A friend in Ga 6 says it poured rain yesterday and presumably hurt turnout in more AA Dekalb county. But as mentioned in comments this morning the rest of the district is very affluent. Mebbe upper middle class people–at least in the south–don’t vote Dem.

    1. Pat

      Well I guess they really wanted Ossoff if having to use an umbrella kept them away from the polls. As in that obvious choice between candidates just could not be ignored by the electorate…NOT.

        1. Darius

          But they keep telling us it’s the white working class that abandoned the Democrats, not the black working class.

        2. Hana M

          I’m blaming my Republican sister for this link but when Rush Limbaugh is on target, well…what can I say. Yes, I confess I laughed.

          So apparently Rachel Maddow is prepared to Blame the Rain:

          It was a big deal. It was breaking news here on the EIB Network. We stopped everything. “Folks, it’s raining in Georgia 6!” Why was this big news? Because it provides either another excuse or opportunity for the Democrats, and, lo and behold, Rachel Maddow last night talking to their elections expert, a guy named Steve Kornacki.

          She said, “Steve, let me ask you one last question on this. If there was a turnout effect from the bad weather today in the district, does that have any partisan implications that you could foresee in terms of what was expected for same day Election Day voting rather than the early vote?”

          Do you want me to translate this question? Rachel, did you understand this question? Did you know that rain was partisan? Did you know that there are partisans implications in rain showers? Well, here’s what she’s asking. Did the bad weather have partisan implications by virtue of the fact that it might have kept Democrats at home? Election Day turnout, could it have been very poorly affected, negatively affected, Steve, by virtue of the bad weather, does the bad weather have a partisan implication?

          At least we can’t blame the weather on the Russians….Or can we?!!


    2. Carla

      “Lindsey Graham says sick people should all be on Medicare (as a way to pull down private insurance premiums presumably). Lindsey more liberal than Ossoff?”

      Graham might be more “liberal” but I’m afraid he may just want to isolate sick people so he can slash Medicare funds and make sure the sick die faster. It’s sick people clinging to life that really costs the big bucks.

  5. Pat

    Has anybody figured out how much the Clintonites and friends spent per vote to lose in Georgia 06?
    I remember when people pointed out that Bloomberg spent over a hundred dollars a vote to remain Mayor of NY, I just think the huge waste of funds should be celebrated for the stupid choice it was in terms that many of the Democrat consultancy biggest chumps might get.

            1. lyman alpha blob

              Seriously. He criticizes Trump’s tweeting with…30 seconds of film showing him tweeting. How stupid are these people?

          1. Lynne

            Wow, that was terrible. My primary thought watching it was, “Is his speaking voice really that bad?”

          2. HotFlash

            It was awful, I bailed after 2nd tweet. And I *like* watching paint dry. Some bozo got paid to tell him to do that?

  6. Sam Adams

    Lindsay Graham wants them to be on Medicare so they can be used as cannon fodder in his playpen he calls the middle east

    1. Pat

      Lindsay wants them to be on Medicare in order to wreck it (little or no new funding after being sent everyone insurance companies don’t want to insure. Meanwhile insurance profits go through the roof even as a bunch of Americans think Republicans fixed things because their premiums go down. At least until a few years pass and they get a serious health issue and get sent to the badly funded and barely functioning shell of Medicare.

      People with disabilities, cancer, long term and expensive illnesses etc are not currently eligible to be cannon fodder.

      1. Carolinian

        Apparently the only source for this trial balloon by Graham is Manchin himself. More at the article I linked above.

        “A few of us — Susan Collins, Lindsey Graham, and others — are looking for a better way. Lindsey Graham says — let’s put everyone with a pre-existing condition on Medicare.”

        “That’s a big leap forward,” Manchin said. “But I told him — we have to change the tax structure. We can’t accumulate more debt.”

        “There is not another Republican who supports what Lindsey has said,” Manchin said. “But people are listening. It gives us an opening we didn’t have before. I told Chuck Schumer to act like he doesn’t like it and wait and see what happens.”

        1. craazyboy

          “Lindsey Graham says — let’s put everyone with a pre-existing condition on Medicare.”

          Ha! That would be one sure way to conflate the definition of “pre-existing condition” to the moon!

    2. Carolinian

      Sick people cannon fodder?

      And it’s possible Ossoff’s position on the middle east not much different from Lindsey’s–haven’t really followed it. In fact the ‘liberal’ media seems to luv Lindsey mucho. They probably want that middle east war too.

      And don’t forget Bernie “Assad must go” Sanders.

  7. Kim Kaufman

    Am I at least somewhat correct that Ossoff didn’t win any more votes in the general than he did in the primary, in fact fewer? In other words, all that money produced no new voters? Or, if there were new voters than primary voters switched or stayed home?

    At much as Ossoff was a total dud, it’s hard to feel at all good about another female anti-Planned Parenthood nutjob vote in Congress. I read somewhere that McConnell was waiting for this election result before introducing his Kill Poor Americans bill.

    1. Carolinian

      Think I read the runoff turnout was 240,00 vs 190,000 for the first vote. If I have that right then Ossoff did at least get more votes the second time.

  8. Vatch

    it will be fascinating to see which loser apparatchik from the corrupt Baldacci administration Lujan manages to back.

    You made me look up (John) Baldacci, and I found this paragraph in Wikipedia:

    In 2007, Baldacci announced a plan to send 125 Maine prisoners to the private Corrections Corporation of America called North Fork Correctional Facility in Sayre, Oklahoma, to ease crowding at the Maine State Prison in Warren. Critics, such as the Maine Civil Liberties Union called for supervised release of non-violent prisoners and sentence commutation for model inmates to ease overcrowding instead. The proposal was killed by the Maine Legislature. However, in 2009, Baldacci’s administration again suggested that the state could relocate prisoners to Oklahoma. The owner and operator of the Oklahoma prison, Corrections Corporation of America, indirectly contributed to Baldacci’s re-election campaign and hired Baldacci’s cousin and advisor, Jim Mitchell, as a lobbyist.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Baldacci and his Democrat minions and lawyers in Portland gave us the landfill. The demon LePage, nutjob, gave us the first hearing, after ten years, where people were put under oath, and as a result we were at least able to scale expansion plans back (and the next one they had teed up never went anywhere).

      1. Swamp Yankee

        Likewise, people here in Massachusetts who are well-acquainted with the state government’s anti-poverty efforts (such as they are) report that Do-Nothing Deval Patrick (D-Corporate Lawyers) was far more damaging to anti-poverty programs than Charlie ‘Mean Boss’ Baker (R-HMO Vampires) has been so far. Baldacci and Patrick seem birds of a feather, which is probably why Valerie Jarrett likes him for President. Good Lord!

  9. Synoia

    Able Health’s mission is to support a continuously improving US healthcare system. Our platform helps doctors earn incentives from health plans for delivering better care.

    What’s “better,” for example?

    Better for the Health Plans: Kill’em.

  10. PKMKII

    Anyone crunched the numbers yet on these special elections, for the campaign dollars spent per point of Democratic vote share gain since the last election? Like to see just how inefficient the money spent on Ossoff was as compared to the races the DCCC ignored.

  11. flora

    ‘ [David Leonhardt, New York Times]. “To be clear, the Democratic Party has an enormous amount of work to do. It doesn’t hold the White House, the Senate or the House, and it holds only about one in three governorships and state legislatures. Yet a handful of close losses in conservative districts shouldn’t make Democrats panic, no matter what this morning’s punditry says.” ‘

    Why, it’s like Mr. Leonhardt has never heard of compound interest. /s

    1. clarky90

      “Don’t Blame Anybody, Wait for the Wave”

      This “Democratic Election Process” is cruel and destructive to the self-esteem of the “losers” (To me, they are all winners!!!). Why not an empathetic system, for instance, “A Totalitarian Dictatorship”? Controlled by the sensitive, over-caste? This would avoid disappointment and tears.

      To ensure every child ‘wins’, Ontario athletic association removes ball from soccer

      “By removing the ball, it’s absolutely impossible to say ‘this team won’ and ‘this team lost’ or ‘this child is better at soccer than that child.'”

      “We want our children to grow up learning that sport is not about competition, rather it’s about using your imagination. If you imagine you’re good at soccer, then, you are.


  12. Mel

    I do like this:

    Don’t Blame Anybody, Wait for the Wave (2): “Facing fresh criticism from fellow Democrats after a disappointing loss in a Georgia special election, Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman Ben Ray Luján on Wednesday sought to rally his party by declaring the House of Representatives in play and distributing internal data suggesting a number of incumbent Republicans are in more electoral trouble than widely thought”

    It’s the Maltese Falcon Defense:

    Gutman’s jaw sagged. He blinked vacant eyes. Then he shook himself and was–by the time his bulbs had stopped jouncing–again a jovial fat man. “Come, sir,” he said good-naturedly, “there’s no need of going on like that. Everybody errs at times and you may be sure this is every bit as severe a blow to me as to anyone else. Yes, that is the Russian’s hand, there’s no doubt of it. Well, sir, what do you suggest? Shall we stand here and shed tears and call each other names? Or shall we”–he paused and his smile was a cherub’s–“go to Constantinople?”

    The Maltese Falcon, Dashiell Hammett

  13. Huey Long

    RE: Navy LCS Purchase

    “The U.S. Navy has found $500 million to buy a second littoral combat ship in next year’s budget after scrounging that was required because the vessel was left out of the Trump administration’s proposed budget sent to Congress last month”

    This is very interesting considering that the Navy allegedly doesn’t want these ships:

    This year’s Pentagon budget originally included a small victory for taxpayers: it reduced its request for the troubled Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) to only one ship for $1.2 billion. “The Navy doesn’t want them,” Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney told Hugh Hewitt earlier this month.

    Yet, while sailors and Navy brass may not want any more LCSs, members of Congress do.


    It looks like some Admirals and Captains in the Pentagon just secured their cushy retirement jobs at Lockheed Martin and Austal. My question is what did they have to de-fund to free up the $500 million for the additional LCS?

    Let’s just hope they didn’t gut the training budget, because the USS Fitzgerald tragedy suggests that the Navy needs a refresher course on the nautical rules of the road:


    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      IIRC, the littoral destroyers were the ones whose hulls corroded when placed in contact with seawater.

      Presumably fixed, now, but file under Imperial Collapse Watch in any case.

        1. Oregoncharles

          So not only do they have no armor at all, they’re made of f’ing beer cans?

          Talk about imperial collapse; this could actually be serious, especially if you’re a sailor – or captain, for that matter.

          1. polecat

            But if your talking Fosters, well then mate … it be a manly ship !

            Virtually ‘crush proof’ ….

            1. witters

              Fosters is undrinkable (and so, unsinkable), which is why it is an Australian “export beer.”

      1. PlutoniumKun

        There are two ship designs in Littoral Combat Ship Class – its the Austral (Australian company) design which has had corrosion problems, it has an aluminium hull.

        I think a lot of the issues are related to the original contract, in which there was a massive pre-order of vessels in order (in theory) to ensure rapid and cheap design. So there are built in penalties if not enough are built. The problem is that both vessels have proven to be useless. They were intended to be modular – i.e. they could take on a variety of different roles, such as anti-submarine warfare or mine hunting – with just a days switchover in port. But it didn’t work, so the Navy were stuck with a vessel too lightly built and too short range to be much good for anything.

        The problems are remarkably similar to the F-35. Too many roles shoved into a badly designed basic frame, with badly thought through basic requirements (in the LCS case, most of the problems came down to a requirement that it could outrun an Iranian gunboat – this need for speed compromised almost everything else). And add to that a contract that made the programme impossible to cancel. So the Navy will be stuck with a ‘frigate’ that can’t do frigate things, like escort long distance fleets (it doesn’t have the range or endurance), and will have to order dozens of boats to do the things it can’t do but was supposed to, like hunt mines.

        Looking on the bright side, there are probably great fiscal multipliers at work with every order….

    2. JTMcPhee

      Those Brass Scats don’t have to “de-fund” anything, in our Miraculous Monetary Threnody age… Always money rises up to meet “threats” and “requirements…”

      And was it just improvident misfortune and “ignorance of the Rules For the Prevention of Collision at Sea,” http://www.otenmaritime.com/international-collision-regulations, that even the US Empire acknowledges the force of, or was it tactical incompetence and befuddlement in the face of something more intentional? The DFitzgerald has all kinds of tracking and anti-collision hardware and software on board. The situation evolved over many minutes. I wonder how the crew and command would react to Aegis warnings of incoming anti-ship missiles and torpedoes and stuff, and respond to the little texts from the Battlespace Managers in their Command Chairs, intaking and outputting real-time data and directions from all the total situational awareness sensors and stuff that have been put in place over all these years…

      Another incident that deserves recall, you can bet the people of Iran remember it: another Imperial naval vessel’s crew shooting down an Iranian civilian airliner, Iran Air Flight 655. I’m adding this link despite the propaganda noise about the shoot-down of Malaysian Air 17, because the reporter did a pretty good job of spotlighting the real situation and how the Navy ‘handled’ and massaged and messaged the aftermath:

      As the Boston Globe’s defense correspondent at the time, I reported on the Vincennes shoot-down, and I have gone back over my clips, chronicling the official lies and misstatements as they unraveled. Here’s the truly dismaying part of the story. On Aug. 19, 1988, nearly seven weeks after the event, the Pentagon issued a 53-page report on the incident. Though the text didn’t say so directly, it found that nearly all the initial details about the shoot-down—the “facts” that senior officials cited to put all the blame on Iran Air’s pilot—were wrong. And yet the August report still concluded that the captain and all the other Vincennes officers acted properly. http://www.slate.com/articles/news_and_politics/war_stories/2014/07/the_vincennes_downing_of_iran_air_flight_655_the_united_states_tried_to.html

      The Great Game, as augmented and amended, sets the conditions for marginal idiocy and aggression and incompetence to result in some Really Bad Ship happening.

      1. Huey Long


        Thanks for the excellent reply! I agree that a “loss of situational awareness” is the likely cause of this collision, my comments on the rules of the road are mostly snark. I couldn’t help myself!

        As you remarked, this wouldn’t be the first time the Navy has had issues in this area:

        USS Trippe T-bones USS Platte

        USS Tarawa Loses Anchor and Chain

        USS Georgia Sinks USS Secota

        USS Iowa Turret Explodes

        At this point I’m wondering how odious the cover-up will be, especially in light of the Iowa incident in the above video. The Navy tried to blame the whole thing on an alleged homosexual affair between two of the sailors on board:



        1. Oregoncharles

          There are quite a few Youtube videos of large ships losing their anchor and chain; apparently it happens regularly.

          Very entertaining, but not if you’re there. The chain can be 3 or 4 FEET across the links. The system to control it is very elaborate, and sometimes the brakes fail. Usually the assembly catches fire.

        2. David J.

          Navy vet here. I was in the same amphibious squadron, but on a different ship, when this happened in Barcelona harbor..

          When I heard of this most recent accident, my first thoughts went to the missing sailors–that kind of death is a nightmare. I also thought about this dynamic. All the fancy tech which serves to help prevent this sort of thing cannot change one important fact: even with quick warning of imminent danger, it takes a while to move a ship. Probably some human factors involved, too. I think all one can hope is that folks do their best and react well when in the midst of a crisis.

          As for a cover-up? Maybe let’s save the cynicism until it is deserved. It happens, but there are plenty of damn fine sailors out there who have a little honor.

          1. The Rev Kev

            A question here. The US media were quick to blame the commercial ship for making a tight turn leading to a collision. Arguendo, a larger ship always has right of way as it has a slow lead time in turning but what if the USS Fitzgerald had been part of a task force with a carrier in action?
            Those huge carriers might have to make all sorts of turns and maneuvers in action so would it not be up to the cruisers and tin cans to keep a sharp watch and to stay out of the way of the larger ships?
            In all honesty though, this country had a carrier once (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMAS_Melbourne_(R21)) that rammed smaller ships not once but twice – the HMAS Voyager and the USS Frank Evans – so who am I to talk.

            1. David J.

              Generally speaking, when a squadron of ships is steaming in open water there is a lot of room between them. Things do tighten up when in shipping lanes, near harbors, transiting straits, etc… . Communication is the key, especially at night.

              Ships do get quite close when doing a replenishment or refueling. Once we were refueling and the oiler lost its steering. We did an emergency breakaway–essentially doing a quick release of the tubes which transferred the fuel–but it still takes a minute or two. There was a very real danger of a collision for those few moments. (Here’s a rundown on refueling.)

  14. RUKidding

    Vis Ossoff: live on the left coast, but have friends out here who finally “got woke” when Trump won. They are clinging and grasping to the D Party like a life raft and really don’t want to hear my factual information about what a bunch of sell-out 1%ers they are who don’t give a staff about any of us peons. Nay verily, the D Party are THE ANSWER to all of our prayers.

    Anyway, I was being hounded to give Ossoff money, so I checked him out a while ago. Came back and said: a) the dude’s a carpetbagger; he’ll never win Gingrich’s old district, b) he’s totally against Single Payer and/or Medicare for All, so that’s IT for me, and c) he’s a Republican in D drag.

    My friends just wandered off cursing me under their breaths.

    Hey: I guess if you wanna just toss away $100s of dollars on lost causes maybe you could find something worse??? I really don’t know.

    Like with Hillary before him, I knew that Ossoff didn’t stand a chance. And to that I say: good.

    As horrid and horrible as the R Team is – and make no mistake, they’re disgusting – I am so DONE with supporting wannabe Republicans running as purported “Democrats.”

    Glad he lost. Color me unsurprise.

    1. Darius

      Hey. The Democrats suck and, at best, are worthless, gutless, backstabbing crooks. But they’re not monsters like the Republicans. Hmm. That message will get out the vote.

  15. SKG

    From the Ossoff election, I’ll see if I can pull up the numbers, but it looks like turnout in some of the blue precincts dropped off pretty significantly compared to the Presidential, while some casual inspection of the red districts shows less sigificant. (i.e. 30% vs. 5-10%.) (My own precinct looks like that.)

    Many of those blue precincts were probably heavily minority.

    He ran trying to get the suburban white vote, and despite huge manpower working on “Get Out The Vote”, couldn’t get the Democrats “core” to show up.

    1. RUKidding

      If the Ds keep running on Republican policies, they should expect to lose. As has been stated ad nauseum, if citizens are interested in Republican policies, then they’re going to vote for someone who belongs to the Republican party.

      If it’s true that the minority areas of the district didn’t GOTV, that says a lot right there. If my rapidly fading memory serves me, wasn’t the South loaded with Carpetbaggers after the Civil War? I think the citizens of GA have seen this movie before and know how it ends.

      Unless or until the D Party gets back to truly serving their traditional base, this is what’s going to happen endlessly. This – or suffer the losses of those D politicians who actually run as “real” Democrats, and then the DLC doesn’t support them. And the DCCC can say: see, they lost; good thing we didn’t waste any money on them!

      Lather, rinse, repeat.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        I don’t think Introspection and Redemption and Reform is going to happen at all, I’m already reading comments by oh-so-smart Dems saying “maybe we need to be more right wing”.

      2. Carolinian

        We got over the carpetbaggers a long time ago. You’d be surprised how many northerners live here now. It’s getting hard to find a good southern accent (except on tv).

        As has been said here endlessly the Dem pursuit of the southern suburban vote is probably futile for the most part. It’s the minorities and the poor they should be going after. Voter registration should be a big priority.

  16. Oregoncharles

    ” if (and only if) it loosens the Establishment’s death grip on the Party apparatus ”

    Snicker. Snort.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          “Pessimism of the intelligence, optimism of the will.” –Gramsci

          And I’m not so sure you’re right. If a battle is “must win,” than you dispose your forces accordingly.

  17. gonzomarx

    Rehousing of Grenfell Tower families in luxury block gets mixed response

    While some residents welcome the families to Kensington Row others are less positive with concerns over future property prices

    “She bought her flat two years ago for a sum she was unwilling to disclose. “We paid a lot of money to live here, and we worked hard for it. Now these people are going to come along, and they won’t even be paying the service charge.”

    Nick, who pays £2,500 a month rent for a one-bedroom flat in the complex, also expressed doubts about the plan. “Who are the real tenants of Grenfell Tower?” he asked. “It seems as though a lot of flats there were sublet. Now the people whose names are on the tenancies will get rehoused here, and then they’ll rent the flats out on the private market. And the people who were actually living unofficially in the tower at the time of the fire won’t get rehoused.

    “I’m very sad that people have lost their homes, but there are a lot of people here who have bought flats and will now see the values drop. It will degrade things. And it opens up a can of worms in the housing market.”

    1. witters

      “I’m very sad that people have lost their homes, but there are a lot of people here who have bought flats and will now see the values drop. It will degrade things. And it opens up a can of worms in the housing market.”

      See how important quote marks are? It should be: “I’m ‘very sad’ that people…”

    2. Huey Long

      WAAAAAAA!!! These Grenfell survivors are going to wreck my property value!!! WAAAAAA!!! These useless eaters don’t deserve to live here!!! WAAAAA!!!


      Deplorable even!

      Meanwhile, it seems the UK propaganda outlets are suppressing the death toll numbers and denying it.

      The Mirror is busy trying to explain why the death toll is stuck at 79:

      The Independent is busy trying to address Grenfell “conspiracy theories”:

      Both of these links were in the top 10 when I googled “grenfell death toll.” All the other links stated the ambiguous party line dead/missing total of “79 and expected to rise.”

      Foreign media outlets and interviews with folks on the ground in and around Grenfell are reporting that the death toll is north of 300 people.

      The Iranians are claiming that 500-600 people perished:

      iNews is reporting a death toll closer to 300:

      This woman states on camera that she cannot contact any her 20 friends who lived in Grenfell:

      My take on the Grenfell death toll is that HM Gov’t and it’s propaganda outlets are waiting to reveal the actual death toll until the story is replaced on the front pages by something different. I won’t speculate as to the motive, but I see no reason why HM Gov’t can’t update the Grenfell butcher’s bill with a daily press release as crews clear the floors of corpses.

      They’re not fooling anybody with their obfuscation and are only eroding the public’s trust in the UK’s media and gov’t institutions at this point.

      1. Skip Intro

        Another page from the Cheney-Bush gang’s Katrina playbook: Hide the bodies, lie abut the numbers.

  18. Carey

    Regarding Mister Ossoff: I have the same nagging question as with her-almost-highness: was winning™ really
    the goal? Stoller said Ossoff looked about 13 years old, and I’d agree. The Dems run this blank kid to win? WTF?

  19. Paid Minion

    “21 states hacked by Russians”

    (……by a couple of little Yuris or Andreis with an internet connection in their mother’s basement?)

    And to put it in perspective:

    -how many attempts (total), and

    -breakdown by country?

    Figures don’t lie, but liars figure.

    Pretty sad state of affairs when Putin is more believable than the US government. Why is he more believable? Because his story passes the “smell test”

    1. witters

      “Pretty sad state of affairs when Putin is more believable than the US government.”

      Because Putin is PUTIN?

  20. Paid Minion

    “Better” (typical 21st Century business definition) = Cheaper/lower cost, the “savings” being pocketed by the health care industry.

    Like all of the healthcare software/management programs, which are designed to more efficiently suck money from the patients/insurance companies/government.

  21. manymusings

    All of the Acela class is yammering today about the “challenges” facing the democrat party over how to effectively counter Trump if, as appears to be the case, his approval can crater to any low without necessarily translating to wins for democrats. Of course it’s approached as some unfathomable mystery, a profound and complicated crisis requiring political sophistication, skill, finesse — “What message will work?” “How can the party bridge the rural/urban divide?” “How do we reach those ‘left behind’ if they will respond only to hate?”– the Ds and the media asks itself breathlessly, while earnestly agreeing that the each latest defeat is more proof that “purity” tests demanded by the “left-wing” are hopelessly foolish.

    There is no mystery. Whatever democrat or republican candidate credibly runs on providing material, tangible improvements for working class people, and refuses to carry the water for neoliberalism, will win. Lambert has said this over and over: bring real benefits to people (the problem with obvious, good advice, is you can’t charge for it! To earn the big bucks you need to misidentify the problem, flatter the client, and offer expensive, multi-step hi-tech “solutions.” duh.). The “divide” or “turmoil” at the heart of both major parties can be reduced to the simple fact that no one in the political class is willing to champion straightforward policies designed to directly benefit the working class, to describe honestly the state of things for the vast majority of Americans, or to admit manifest facts about what national politics has devolved to.

    The republicans can’t pass a healthcare bill because enough of them know that simply repealing Obamacare would be sheer brutality that they’d pay for at the ballot box. They were happy to run (and win) on hyping the depravity of Obamacare (an opening left by the dems’ unwillingness to admit its shortcomings) but know that without offering something better (or even different) they’ll lose. The same dynamic will repeat itself on tax cuts. Republican excuses for manifestly harmful policies are wearing thin, and now Congressional republicans are paralyzed not over differences of ideology or belief, but because being in control is like the bill finally coming due — some would suffer electorally for the real consequences of what they’re pedaling, while others would suffer electorally for a failure to follow through on what they’ve long promised. Thus, impasse.

    Likewise the dems, who twist and squirm every which way to avoid the obvious answer: they have an open field, a clear path, to run on policies that (a) help people, (b) are enormously popular across party lines and c) would be unambiguously good for American prosperity and its future.

    It can be described only as willful ignorance, or utter cravenness, to shun the obvious formula for broad victory in favor of personally-satisfying and lucrative corruption. 2016 indeed was clarifying. The dems are all-in on corruption, and in the Trump era they are apparently willing to go to any manner of extreme and corrosive lengths, not to maintain power (which in fact can be inconvenient) but to maintain the easy comfort of unearned self-regard, the flattery and open wallets of well-heeled “friends,” access to a jet-set lifestyle whose trappings and opportunity confirm a deep sense of personal destiny and entitlement.

    Already dems are performing a sleight-of-hand that is all too familiar: Kick the left in the teeth while lecturing the need to run “moderate” or “centrist” candidates (read: empty suits that will fawn over the donor class and spew the right platitudes); then when these candidates inevitably lose or under-perform, fan out among the chattering class to cast the losing candidate as overly “progressive” in some silly (always cultural) way. The emerging line on Ossoff seems to be that he’s culturally “too coastal” for a Southern district. We know this play: the Dem establishment hand picks a candidate that runs on fiscal conservatism (stopping govt waste, lamenting the national debt) and anti-Trump civility; then, dumb-founded by predictable loss, the Ds seamlessly pivot to make it yet again the fault of the left — the candidate lost because of something having to do with “progressivism,” they weren’t allowed to deviate from a “left” hard-line, something that is always cultural (abortion, transgender rights) or craven/cronyish disguised as “cultural” (e.g., support for coal, pipelines). “We have to be willing to support candidates in red or purple districts who are [fill-in-the-blank unsavory cultural trait].”

    We must remind ourselves each time: there is no continuity between the Left and the democratic party. This needs to be actively asserted, corrected. Because the democrat party’s claim to sharing a tent with the left is perhaps the only remaining pretense that the party stands for anything or represents anyone, other than the professional class that profits handsomely from losing campaigns and blocking alternatives.

      1. manymusings

        Yes, thanks, good correction; “coastal” was a bad short-hand here, meant to get at what truthfully was still a bit fuzzy (the blathering heads I heard on cable news were waxing about his profile in a way that seemed to insinuate that he may have been overly hipster/urban-ish, young film-maker … whatever.). In any case I think Kaufman’s link better identifies the tie-back to the left in this particular instance, which (again generalizing) seems to be something like: Handel ran against Pelosi, Ossoff had to try to distance from Pelosi, so Pelosi = liability (and the next step, which may not have crystallized yet, is “progressive” = liability). So we’re probably in for a great debate between “stay the course” (look how close we came in the reddest of red territory!) and vague talk about “fresh ideas” and “new faces” in dem leadership, with no specifics, and ultimately a convergence on the blue dog model (but please, no).

  22. Kim Kaufman

    Jon Ossoff’s Loss Should Be a Lesson to Corporate Democrats
    It’s time to bury the Panera Bread strategy.
    By D.D. Guttenplan


    “My own reservations about Ossoff were about strategy, not tactics. As we were reminded time and again by the media, an Ossoff win would have also been a victory over the left. It would have been trumpeted as vindication of “a decidedly un-Sanders-like vision of the future” and cited as proof that Democrats who “want to win” should follow his model and explicitly rule out raising taxes on the wealthy and firmly oppose “any move” towards single-payer health care. It’s tempting to argue that wasn’t Ossoff’s fault. After all, it was former Clinton aide Brian Fallon, not Ossoff, who came up with the “Panera Bread strategy”—essentially a rationale for appealing to suburban voters in swing districts rather than spending time or money trying to expand the Democratic party’s base among working-class voters, minorities, or millennials—which is really just a new name for the kind of triangulation that put Bill Clinton in the White House. As the career of its current master Rahm Emanuel suggests, that kind of politics can still be effective. But it was never progressive, and not even the backing of Daily Kos or the Working Families Party—who both worked hard, and effectively, on Ossoff’s behalf—can change that.

    Nobody forced Ossoff to dismiss single payer, or held a gun to his head and made him use dog-whistle language about “both parties in Washington” wasting taxpayer dollars. Those messages weren’t aimed at Georgia voters; they were aimed at funders, like the supposed pragmatists at the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee who stiffed James Thompson in Kansas and spent a paltry $340,000 on Rob Quist’s race in Montana, but lavished millions on Ossoff’s equally doomed campaign. “

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      That’s a good link. Thanks!

      Adding, I love this:

      … the army of fired-up Georgia women who answered his call—and who told my colleague Joan Walsh that they intend to stay involved in politics—should remind progressives that local knowledge matters…

      Joan Walsh… Why isn’t she happy a woman won?

      * * *

      MEDIA: The Clintonites lost again.

      DEMS: Yes, let’s give them more money.

      1. Eureka Springs

        Tried to duckduck for decent stats to no avail. One blogger with no supporting data or links over at DU said total GA6 registered voter turnout (not to be confused with or so readily dismiss eligible voters) was 48 percent.

        If true, I’m loving this silent but majority/super plurality delegitimization going on.

  23. Kim Kaufman

    From Harvey Wasserman and Bob Fitrakis:



    “In Georgia, Greg Palast has reported in that a grassroots citizens’ group recently compiled some 10,000 registration forms for Korean-Americans to vote in the disputed Ossof-Handel district. The completed forms were delivered to GOP election officials, but somehow the names were never entered onto the voter rolls.

    When registration activists complained, Georgia authorities claimed to never have received the forms. According to Palast, when the activists told election officials they had photo-copied the forms, the state launched a legal lynching, threatening the activists with criminal prosecution and destroying their voter registration organization.”

    1. flora

      And the Dem estab was right there to help GA activists push back again this voter registration denial. Oh, wait….

    2. Carolinian

      Your “story” is a complete muddle. “10,000 Korean Americans” is the name of a drive to register Asian-Americans. Palast made no claim that they had submitted 10,000 registration forms for Korean-Americans in Dist 6 which would be absurd.


      In 2014, AAAJ-Atlanta launched its “10,000 Korean Votes” campaign specifically targeting Korean Americans living in Georgia, with a specific emphasis on conducting outreach in Gwinnett County which is home to the largest Korean population. The goal of this multi-year campaign is to target and engage 10,000 Korean Americans in Georgia to become active voters in Georgia by 2020.

      Before the last election, Advancing Justice-Atlanta registered about 6,500 people, roughly 500 of them Korean.

      Dist 6 is in Cobb, Dekalb and Fulton counties.

      1. Kim Kaufman

        @Carolinian – l will send your comment to the writers and see what kind of response I get. I honestly don’t know. I’ve heard Ari Berman say he hasn’t seen any proof they used crosscheck but I don’t know what that means coming from him. I wish these guys would all get on the same page and we could get some real documentation.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Holy moley:

      Democrat candidates in both races ignored the Black vote until the last minute. Then they parachuted organizers and operatives into the districts to rev up Democratic-leaning but low-propensity voters, particularly Black voters. Had Black turnout been higher, both Ossoff and Parnell probably would have won.

      It’s like Democrats think that organizing is something you do campaign by campaign, randomly, as opposed to being a core party function. They think the same about voter registration (viewing that as something for the courts or Congress to fix, assuming they think it needs to be fixed).

      This article is also interesting because it shows that the grassroots organizing in GA-06 came first, then the DCCC focus. But that doesn’t absolve the DCCC, or Kos, or the rest of em: Why were the grassroots who are wealthy suburbanites given the attention and the funding?

      1. Kim Kaufman

        I heard someone from GA on a NPR affiliated station (not an NPR program though) who said GA-06 was a wealthy district, not particularly minority.

      2. Hana M

        When I was canvassing for Bernie in NH (my first time doing anything remotely political) my partner was a veteran Democrat who had worked on the first Obama primary campaign. She talked about how incredibly well organized the Obama’s 1st primary was: personalized street map routes for each canvasser, great meals, snacks at headquarters, follow-up tracking and contacting of voters based on canvassing notes. She said Bernie’s campaign was good but didn’t quite reach the level of professionalism that marked the Obama effort.

        It is telling that this element of one-on-one voter persuasion seems never to have been a part of Hillary’s 2016 campaign. And now the pattern repeats in GA-06.

  24. Fastball

    Don’t look now, Rahm, but I’ve never contributed one red cent to any Democrat or the Democratic Party. And I don’t intend to start now just because of Trump.

    Signed — “Freakin’ retard”.

    (And no, I’m a left winger — a REAL one, unlike you frauds — not a rightie).

  25. 3.14e-9

    Yves had a link this morning to Bloomberg’s article about Ford moving production of the Focus to China, but I’m posting my comment here, because it reinforces Lambert’s theory of crapification. It’s also relevant to the Georgia election, as voters chose a Republican not only after millions were poured into the Democrat’s campaign, but despite Trump’s failure to keep one of his signature campaign promises.


    A friend of mine who has worked on his own cars for nearly 40 years was a confirmed Volkswagen man, until VW changed the design and made it harder to do home repairs. He switched to Ford, not necessarily for the ease of doing the work himself, but by that point, he was heavily involved in his trade union and wanted to support his union brothers and sisters in the UAW. He also thinks cars built in the U.S.A. are better-quality.

    He often laments about crapified auto parts from China, so this morning, I texted him the link to the Bloomberg article, with a note that now the entire car will be crapified. I got an atypically long reply, in five or six parts, saying he thought it would be a very bad decision, because people wouldn’t buy cars made in China.

    I pointed out the quote by the Ford exec saying that buyers care only about the “quality and value” and not the country of origin. Of course, he had to throw “quality” in there, because what he really meant is that American consumers just want everything cheap. Sadly, he’s mostly right.

    My friend went on a tour of the factory in Dearborn a few years ago and custom-ordered a car – first new car in his entire life. He also has helped several family members find used cars, all Fords. I asked if he’d continue to recommend Ford, and he said only cars made in the USA for now, and he’d have to give it more thought. I’m encouraging him to write to Ford management and express his dismay and to try to persuade his union to write a protest letter. Ford needs to hear from people who truly do value quality and who definitely look at the country of origin.

    1. Fiery Hunt

      Definitely have loved my Ford truck…the small Ranger built 20 years ago this year. Simple, takes abuse and just keeps going. 250,000 miles of hard commute, and job sites.

      But Ford stopped making the Ranger. They’re bringing it back but as a larger 4 door…based on the European version…Crapification!

      Now nobody makes a small durable pick-up.

      Ford would be ruling the car sales right now if it had a basic small truck. I’ve talked to no less than 6 people looking for older Toyota or Ford trucks cuz nothing on the market appeals (too big/4 doors, not a long enough bed and too damn tech loaded/expensive).

      1. a different chris

        >Now nobody makes a small durable pick-up.

        I have no problem with keeping older vehicles running, so I was just a few weeks ago thinking a small pickup might be a good idea. So I started (and quickly finished) looking at used Rangers.

        Quickly because the prices were jaw-dropping. Last made in 2011 (?? right), because the marketing geniuses were sure we didn’t want a little bitty truck, I guess since it wouldn’t give the right impression about our, um family blog, “equipment”.

        So you can up your total to 7 people, anyway.

      2. 3.14e-9

        That might explain why I’ve seen so many beat-up old Toyota pickups where I live.

        This afternoon I was talking to my neighbor, who said she loved her Ford SUV, an Explorer, IIRC. It was still running fine when she sold it three years ago, also with 250,000 miles on it. She said that in the 15 years she owned it, it never was in the shop except for routine maintenance.

        At what point did manufacturers realize that making durable cars was less profitable than flooding the market with problem children?

    2. a different chris

      VW didn’t just “change the design” they made repair information nearly unobtainable. Beyond that, when you do find the info it’s unreliable — my owner’s manual has the fuse locations all wrong.

      Yeah, I once popped the lighter fuse and it took two weeks to figure out which one it was. And when I was younger I would rebuild transmissions for fun, now I can’t even fix a headlight (another long story).

  26. Kim Kaufman

    From Marcy Wheeler:

    Penetrated: Today’s Senate Intelligence Committee Hearing on Russian Interference in the 2016 U.S. Elections


    “If you aren’t at least mildly panicked after watching the second panel’s testimony and reading Halderman’s statement, you’re asleep or dead, or you just plain don’t care about the U.S.’ democratic system.”

  27. Kim Kaufman

    From Brad Friedman:

    Tuesday’s 100% Unverifiable U.S. House Special Election Results in GA, SC: ‘BradCast’ 6/21/2017
    And, ironically, Wednesday’s mostly disinformative hearings in the U.S. Senate Intelligence Comm. on alleged manipulation of the 2016 election…


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