2:00PM Water Cooler 7/20/2017

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Readers, I seem to have fallen into a pattern where if I have lots of posts, I slip the 2:00PM deadline for Water Cooler, and make it up with UPDATEs. If you find this disappointing, or frustrating, or it ticks you off, let me know… More soon, and later. –lambert UPDATE Done, 3:03PM. I added many Bezzle items. I’m not sure whether I’m noticing more, or whether there are more. I keep my sources pretty stable, so I’m guessing there are more.


New Cold War

Hysterical hysteria:

Hysterical hysteria:

2016 Post Mortem

“These Obama voters snubbed Hillary Clinton — and ‘they don’t regret what they did’” [WaPo]. Oh noes! “‘What we clearly see in the focus groups is they don’t regret what they did.’ ‘They’ are millennials of color who either didn’t vote or voted third party.” (These are, those WaPo naturally omits to mention this, Democrat voters who were more likely to have voted for Sanders). More:

And there is pointed ire at the Democratic Party. One participant was particularly blunt. ‘You’re damn right, I don’t have any loyalty to Democrats,’ a person of color said in a focus group in Fort Lauderdale. ‘If Republicans want to get real about s— that’s happening in my community I would vote for every one of them. Then maybe Democrats would take us serious too.'”

I doubt that will happen with Trump (“Dance with the one that brung ya”). It might happen with another Republican candidate. Be afraid, Democrats, be very afraid. #ImWithHer 2.0, in the shape of Kamala Harris, is highly unlike to make it.


PPP is a Democrat shop:


“Democrats May Have Trouble Taking Back Congress in 2018, Poll Finds” [Vice]. Well, polls. But: “Just over half of registered voters said that Trump would not be a factor in how they planned to vote in the 2018 congressional elections, with 20 percent saying they’d vote to support him and 24 percent saying they’d vote against. That leaves a four-point margin between those who are voting to support Trump and those who are voting to oppose, which is less than it was leading up to the 2010 and 2014 midterms. Leading up to both of those elections, 27 percent of voters said they would pick congressional candidates to oppose president Barack Obama. In 2006, 35 percent of voters said they’d vote to oppose president George W. Bush.” So, it looks like “Have you seen the other guys?” might not be the killer stroke of genius slogan the Democrat Establishment thinks it will be. Idea: Push the Russia thing harder?

Realignment and Legitimacy

Clever remark from random tweeter:


I’m not hearing full-throated support from Warren for #MedicareForAll here. Did I not get the memo?

Reductio ad absurdum, except not:

That’s not how a genuinely intersectional left thinks. It is, however, how liberal Democrat strategists and consultants think.

Stats Watch

Leading Indicators, for June 2017: “Housing permits gave the index of leading economic indicators a major lift in June which posted a 0.6 percent gain that tops Econoday’s high estimate for 0.5 percent. Permits had been soft through most of the Spring before gaining sharply in last week’s housing starts report” [Econoday]. “Renewed strength in the LEI hints at general economic momentum through the second half of the year.” But: “The leading indicators are for the most part monetary based. Econintersect’s primary worry in using monetary based methodologies to forecast the economy is the current extraordinary monetary policy which may (or may not) be affecting historical relationships. Econintersect does not use data from any of the leading indicators in its economic index. Leading indices in this post look ahead six months – and are all subject to backward revision” [Econintersect]. Followed by a useful survey of other leading indicators, like the Chemical Activity Barometer.

Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, week of July 16, 2016: “The consumer comfort index, which fell to a post-election low in the prior week, rebounded 6 tenths in the July 16 week to a 47.6 level that is still, however, the lowest since February” [Econoday]. “Confidence readings appear to be leveling out after their post-election surge.”

Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey, July 2017: “There finally may be cracks appearing in Philly Fed which has, since the election, been signaling break-out strength for the Mid-Atlantic manufacturing sector. The general conditions index looks solid at 19.5, still very strong though down from 27.6 in June and the least robust result since November. But details — which in this report are not reflected in the headline index — are the flattest since late last year” [Econoday]. So finally a survey comes to earth? And: “This month new orders significantly declined and is barely in expansion. Consider this a weak report. The New York Fed’s manufacturing survey (released earlier this week) also significantly declined but remained in expansion” [Econintersect].

UPDATE Retail: “Why the grim reaper of retail hasn’t come to claim Best Buy” [Bloomberg]. “The company plowed a chunk of the savings into better training its employees so that they can explain products to shoppers, which Joly believed was critical because new technology often is confusing to many consumers. Best Buy, with 125,000 employees overall, ‘has done an excellent job improving customer service,” Keith said in a recent note to clients.'” That’s why I go there for computer equipment, and not online. First, I want to touch the machine (since I’ll be using it a minimum of eight hours a day for several years). Second, I want a human to answer questions (even if I’m such a maven on computers I don’t have any, I still have questions about our demented cell phone system). Third, I want a human to yell at if things go wrong. And forth, about a decade ago — good will lasts! — Best Buy unhesitatingly honored my warranty when I broke the screen on a H-P laptop I was running linux on.

UPDATE The Bezzle: “NYC’s Biggest Foreclosure Halted After New Creditor Emerges” [Bloomberg]. I’m really not sure where to file this, but the details are certainly intriguing: “New York’s biggest-ever foreclosure auction, for a penthouse at the One57 luxury tower near Central Park, has been halted after a new creditor emerged saying it’s owed money — for about $83 million worth of gasoline and jet fuel — by the owner of the apartment.” And: “Unit 79 at the Billionaires’ Row tower — bought in 2014 for $50.9 million — was scheduled to be sold at auction tomorrow, in a seizure forced by a Luxembourg lender seeking to recoup an unpaid $35.3 million mortgage. The U.S. Justice Department intends to collect any remaining proceeds, claiming the owner bought the condo with illicit gains from Nigerian crude-oil sales.” New York real estate is pretty clean, but of course there are bad apples….

UPDATE The Bezzle: “Hampton Creek majors in Silicon Valley hype: ‘A technology platform that translates raw material in the form of plants into data that fuels discovery of food technologies that can really change the way we eat.’ In case that’s not clear, the San Francisco-based private company makes eggless mayonnaise and cookie dough” [Reuters]. Hoo boy: “On June 5, the company published an unusual blog post saying that it had fired three managers after what sounds like a failed corporate coup. The company, which has raised more than $200 million in funding according to Bloomberg, spun the departures as a way to ensure ‘our employees’ maintain ‘the autonomy to direct our long-term mission.’ More startling is that nearly everyone on the board is now reported to have made for the exit, including luminaries such as former U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius… Hampton Creek has a history of controversy. The vegan food maker encouraged workers to buy its products off the shelves of stores like Costco and Whole Foods using company funds, Bloomberg reported last year.” Hoo boy.

The Bezzle: “Ad-buying software company Rocket Fuel – “a predictive marketing platform,” it calls itself – announced on Tuesday that it was acquired for $2.60 a share. Including the assumption of debt, it makes for a deal value of $145 million. Down from $2 billion at its peak one month after the IPO” [Wolf Street]. “I just send them up, don’t care where they come down, that’s not my department, says Werner von Braun.” –Tom Lehrer.

UPDATE The Bezzle: “This Startup Wants to Replace Your Office With 3D Holograms” [Bloomberg]. “In his vision, office workers will huddle around holograms to collaborate on pretty much any kind of task. That means no computers, cubicles, regular desks, or chairs. Gribetz’s own office provides a glimpse of how a future workplace might look. He has a thin slab of wood at standing height as a desk. It’s just wide enough for the headset to rest on it. He plans to redesign the rest of Meta’s office in a similar way.” Sounds horrible, and a recipe for weird carpal and opthomology problems. And how do you do office politics in VR? (And don’t tell me nobody will try.) Granted, the technology will be more useful after the jackpot, when people will be thinner on the ground.

UPDATE The Bezzle: “Thirteen bitcoin exchange operators in Japan said they will suspend deposits and withdrawals of the virtual currency from midnight July 31 in order to prevent confusion caused by an expected split of the trading system.The move is aimed at protecting customer assets.” [Japan Times]. “The number of bitcoin users is rapidly increasing partly on the back of low commissions for overseas remittances. But the growing transaction volume has led to an increase in speculative trading, and the exchange operators are taking longer to execute transactions as a result. Some in the bitcoin industry are planning to set up a new system enabling faster transactions, while others are calling for the continued use of the current system. A virtual currency association to which the 13 operators belong said it is difficult to estimate the degree of confusion but that a serious problem cannot be ruled out. The operators are planning to indicate by Aug. 4 when trading will resume.”

The Bezzle: “Convictions of 2 Former Traders in Libor Scandal Are Dismissed” [New York Times]. “The decision to void those convictions is the latest setback for prosecutors on each side of the Atlantic as they try to pursue criminal charges against individuals related to Libor. Eight former traders have been acquitted of criminal charges in Britain in the last two years.” “Try.” This is third-world, elite impunity stuff.

Five Horsemen: “Amazon rages on as Apple brings up the rear” [Hat tip, Jim Haygood].

Five Horsemen July 20

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 75 Extreme Greed (previous close: 74, Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 48 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed. Last updated Jul 20 at 1:30pm. We haven’t seen Extreme Greed in some time. Go home, Mr. Market. You’re drunk.

News of the Wired

“Why People From Manchester Are Mancunians, Not Manchesterians” [Atlas Obscura].

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Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allegic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant:

This is another attempt at showing “masses of color,” as deployed in my “grandmother’s garden.” (I have other vistas to come, but this is the one that came to hand today). I’m posting it because I was walking down the sidewalk this morning when I was accosted by a church lady, who called my garden an “oasis” (!). I said, “It’s a mess!” She said, “No, it’s a habitat!” Which was nice to hear. At least I know that the (stacked) function of using my garden as the face I present to the town is working out fine!

NOTE Readers, if you want your handle to appear as a credit, please put it in the subject line. Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. Thank you!

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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. Thomas Williams

    Re: lateness of posts

    Of course it tics me off. Your casual acquaintance with clocks keeps me on a slow burn – almost every day. With that said, you write well on important subjects so I’ll keep checking in, getting irritated but enjoying the posts.

      1. Clive

        I firmly believe Americans are congenitally unable to truly master sarcasm. That’s the same as British people not being able to really carry off that straight-from-the-heart unabashed sometimes verging on the childlike uncynical enthusiasm for something or other in quite the same way Americans can do. We try, we really do. But it ends up like the white guy dancing down the line on Soul Train.

        So I’ll take the liberty of rephrasing Thomas’ laudable attempt at snarking.

        “Lambert was often seen to be flirting with timeliness, but almost invariably she gave him the cold shoulder.”

        1. optimader

          I firmly believe Americans are congenitally unable to truly master sarcasm
          An angel sheds a tear when sarcasm goes unrecognized

          1. Jeremy Grimm

            I unabashedly rang a small bell several times in my Yank childlike uncynical enthusiasm to make things right. Angels please don’t cry!

        2. Synoia

          Yes, we from the Isle, we know the British are very trying.

          Somewhat self-depreciating too.

          My best line:

          It is unlucky to be superstitious.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      My acquaintance with clocks was once a real romance, not a casual affair. Indeed, I was practically married to them (and for Links, I’m totally wedded). I’ll see what I can do to revise my schedule. (Part of my motivation is to avoid the eight-hour post by forcing myself up against another must-meet deadline. That works, but only kinda. For example, today’s trade post was almost a four-hour post, instead of a two-hour post. I thought it would be simple…)

      1. grayslady

        Clocks or no clocks, I think that while you’re holding down the fort during Yves’ absence none of us expects original posts in addition to Links and Water Cooler. In my experience, just adding links to a blog post is much more time consuming than originally anticipated. Then there’s the proof-reading, re-ordering paragraphs for better flow, adding ideas that occur as you re-read, etc., etc. Just because there is more daylight right now doesn’t mean there are more hours in the day!

    2. Ancient 1

      Late…….. I don’t mind the lateness at all. I appreciate all that you do for this site. Just, “keep on truckin”.

    3. Cujo359

      Most days, if it’s late I don’t even notice. I do check in almost daily, though. You run a good link list, Lambert, and both your comments and the readers’ are worth waiting for.

      Besides, is anything on time on the Internet?

    1. ambrit

      Agree. When are those sunflowers on the right going to bloom?
      How about a drones eye view? Some of us are interested in the flow patterns of your rusticial “work station.”

  2. katiebird

    I love the updates… They’re like getting extra presents Christmas afternoon! I mean it.

  3. Arizona Slim

    Please, for the love of all that is good and holy, can we put the word “intersectional” to rest? The dang thing is way too long and pretentious. Is there a simpler, shorter word that gets the point across?

    1. Quentin

      Maybe there just isn’t any point to the word—meaningless blah, blah, I suppose. Pretentious and affected, like the idea of a Thucydides trap.

    2. DJG

      Arizona Slim: I don’t know. To me, intersectionality has the meaning of two political ideas that ought to overlap completely but are somehow mysterious barely even in the discourse of the U S of A:

      Everyone in, no one out.
      Meet people where they are.

      You can see that intersectionality may have to work as a term for a while.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Intersectionality is used for persons*, not ideas (though degrees of overlap are important). See here for a discussion.

        * Intersectionality is indeed a method to “Meet people where they are” as opposed to calling them “deplorables” (or for that matter “model minorities” etc.)

        1. DJG

          Lambert: Good link. Where I am at these days is intersectionality as action rather than as a characteristic. I like the quote that you included:
          But, Gloria, the movement you made, as amazing as it was, had some serious flaws when it comes to intersectionality (as you know, that’s the idea that fighting for gender equality alone, without also standing shoulder to shoulder on issues of race, class, and other kinds of oppression, isn’t enough—in fact, it’s not necessarily even progressive). I know you know that, because you’ve talked about how #BlackLivesMatter has affected your thinking.

          Your “joke” [young women are with Sanders because “that’s where the boys are”] came as young women are constantly being told we have to support Clinton because she’s a woman, as though having women in leadership equals an automatic feminist paradise. (You know, like Thatcher’s Britain!) “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other,” Madeleine Albright said—yes, the same Madeleine Albright who, as Secretary of State, famously claimed that the deaths of half a million Iraqi children were “worth it.” When critics suggested someone should tell Albright there are women in Iraq, Clinton all but rolled her eyes: “Good grief, we’re getting offended by everything these days!” she said. “People can’t say anything without offending somebody.”

    3. Hana M

      Thank you, Arizona Slim! I must be showing my age but the term is so amorphous that I find myself googling for definitions each time I encounter it. (Cue one of those little face thingys with the tears running down its cheeks.)

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        It isn’t amorphous. It has been made amorphous both by its political enemie and some well-meaning friends, who have abused it for their own purposes. Crenshaw is very, very good.

      1. Jane

        ‘Human being’ works for me. Each of us has a sexual orientation, nationality, class, family, set of skills, flaws, etc. etc. etc.

      2. Darius

        The problem is I never heard of intersectionality until the Clintonites came at me wielding it like a 2×4.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          More precisely, the Clinton’s were wielding a Stradivarius* as if it were a 2×4. Because that’s what they do.

          * OK, I exaggerate, but you see what I mean

          1. montanamaven

            The Clintons took a Stradivarius and took a 2×4 to it and now it’s broken. Not sure whether to repair it or get a Gibson.

      3. Left in Wisconsin

        I think many are missing a critical point. Any term that shows promise for bringing together “most of us” against “few of them” is guaranteed to be appropriated by them and redefined in a way they find less threatening. (Think of what economists have done to the word “rational.”) That isn’t the fault of the word; it’s how power works.

        1. tempestteacup

          You’re absolutely right about terms being appropriated and redefined, and I don’t have an issue with Crenshaw’s original definition of intersectionality as a means to understand how different aspects of a social subject can be simultaneously oppressed in different ways according to how that society is structured – and yet….

          There is a missing element here, and it is that absence which enables the appropriation to take place so smoothly. Often, in discussion about intersectionality, there is a critique about the place it assigns to class as merely only element among many. That is a slightly obscurantist way of saying that if you don’t root your understanding of all oppressions in the economic status of people, you run the risk of those oppressions you correctly cite floating free of a determinant reality.

          This is often traduced as a simplistic Marxist anachronism – it’s anything but. In some ways, the dialectical method anticipates and accommodates intersectionality – Engels in his writings on the family, or in The Condition of the Working Class in England, would be good examples of how such analyses are present from the beginning of dialectical materialism. None of these analyses deny the different, intersecting forms of oppression or deny their potency – they locate them within the necessary conditions for the reproduction of capitalism itself.

          I say nothing here about what you rightly cite as the predictable recuperation of an idea to the point where it actually mimics the ideology of capitalism itself – different oppressed groups competing with one another for validation or for a greater share of the finite “pie”. But I do think that without grounding an awareness of how oppression expresses itself differently in a recognition of economic reality, intersectionality contained within itself the seeds of its own recuperation.

      1. Synoia

        Intersectional: The the sum of probable parts.

        Probable parts: Subject to selection by the Intersectionalist.

      2. WobblyTelomeres

        I think I’m as confused as you. As near as I can tell, and I tend towards things I understand, it is akin to a Venn diagram where the intersection identifies the commonalities. I remember a panel conversation I saw on TV years ago where a congressman was describing the thing (a ceiling) everyone saw when they woke up in the morning and opened their eyes. It was how he came to accept LGBT persons, realizing that we all see the ceiling in the morning. That we are all humans.

        I think of intersectionality as that part of the Venn diagram of humanity we all share. I also think it is a **lot** bigger than many think it is.

        1. katiebird

          I have struggled and struggled with that term. Honestly thinking I would never get it.

          But Venn Diagrams. Duh. Now It get it. … THANKS!!

      3. Oregoncharles

        In my experience, it could usually be left out without changing the meaning – sort of like “dialectical” in a lot of Marxist writing, dropped in every so often as an identifier.

        I don’t doubt that it originally had a real meaning – I’ll take Lambert’s word for it – but it’s almost always superfluous as presently used.

        That’s why Carl’s “eyes glaze over,” and why you can’t deduce a meaning from usage.

  4. Mark Gisleson

    Dead quiet for the most part in MN about the shooting of an Australian national by a Somali-American cop.

    The Right is calling it Affirmative Action hiring, but I do not know how hiring East African political/economic refugees helps remediate the effects of 400 years of slavery on descendents of (mostly West African) slaves.

    What is clear is that the DFL (MN’s Democrats) rushed 6 Somalis through POST training. Officer Noor was a political hire, shoved to the front of the line because Mpls Democrats want the Somali vote. They already shoved aside the senior socialist legislator to make room for a Somali politician (who has come out and ripped the police for having mistrained Noor).

    This is what intersectionalism looks like. Intersectionalists believe you can take someone from a war zone, send them to college, and make them an American cop. Officer Yanez (who shot Philando Castile), btw, was almost certainly rejected by the MPD and SPPD. Even GOOD applicants are. That someone born in Somalia who came here at the age of 8 or 9 was given a plum police job ahead of native born applicants with better test scores is a scandal, and one that will linger long after Damon’s family gets paid off.

    I get liberal blow back for opinions like this, but MN Dems are really, really quiet right now because in retrospect no one understands how the hell this guy became a gun-carrying police officer.

    1. j84ustin

      Your definition is not intersectionalism. From Wikipedia (because it is more eloquent than I can come up with): “Intersectionality is a term coined by American civil rights advocate Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw to describe overlapping or intersecting social identities and related systems of oppression, domination, or discrimination. Intersectionality is the idea that multiple identities intersect to create a whole that is different from the component identities.” Intersectionality does not “require” what you allege happened in this situation.

        1. WobblyTelomeres

          Not quite synergy, though, just different. Sorta like my childhood chemistry set experiments always looked … different … than the constituent ingredients I’d mixed.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I try always to avoid wasting previously-used, old words….it’s tempting to just throw them in the vocabulary-wastebasket.

      1. witters

        “Intersectionality is a term coined by American civil rights advocate Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw to describe overlapping or intersecting social identities and related systems of oppression, domination, or discrimination. Intersectionality is the idea that multiple identities intersect to create a whole that is different from the component identities.”

        Isn’t this an agencyless definition of the kind Lambert quite rightly objects to in other cases?

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > This is what intersectionalism looks like. Intersectionalists believe

      I disagree. Taking for granted the accuracy of your account, that’s how vulgar identity politics work (like Obama is liberal because of his skin color), and the credentialism is straight-up liberal. See comments elsewhere for how intersectionality works (intersectional, based on both/and as opposed to either/or, really is “e pluribus unum,” which, IIRC, came from making a salad out of disparate ingredients, as opposed to melting everything down to an indistinguishable mass in a pot.)

      NOTE I’m proud of our Somalis in Maine. They do well in speech tournaments.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Frankly, as an Aussie, I don’t give a damn where Noor came from as it is irrelevant to what happened. It troubles me that he had been in the force only two years and already had three complaints stacked up against him, two of which were ongoing (http://www.startribune.com/what-we-know-about-mohamed-noor-minneapolis-police-officer-who-fatally-shot-justine-damond/435018163/). Maybe he should not have been on street duty at the time? Maybe he was not cut out to be a cop?
        The old-fashioned term trigger-happy comes to mind here. So he heard a noise, saw a person, and opened fire across his partner’s face? Or was hearing the noise added in afterwards? The poor woman thought she heard another woman being attacked and when the cop car turned up, went out to tell them what and where she heard the incident. Blam! In Australia forty years ago, if an Aussie cop pulled his service pistol out of its holster, he automatically had to fill out a report about why he felt it necessary to do so, even if he did not use it. Somebody yelling that that is too much paperwork? Don’t worry as I am sure that they can make an app for that!
        As for not having the cop’s bodycam on at the time, the solution is simple. As you arrive at an incident, you flip the cams on before you arrive. If you don’t, it is a sackable offense. Anybody hear about that Baltimore cop accidentally getting caught planting drugs in a suspect’s yard by his own bodycam? That is why some cops don’t like them.

        1. Carl

          Thanks for your Aussie perspective. So interesting to read how others regard the US and its’ deformed way of doing things.

        2. blennylips

          Why does the officer get any say?

          Keep the (familyBlog) things on all the time. Buffer the last 1/2 hour. Get Eric (Familyblog) Schmidt’s hands off of .news and to training a flock bernay’sBots(© ®™) to watch and decide when start saving forensically to the judicial cloud.

      2. optimader

        NOTE I’m proud of our Somalis in Maine. They do well in speech tournaments.
        Somalis I have met are gentle people, good natured and pleased to be in this country.

    3. Louis Fyne

      aside from the racial issues, a person who thinks it’s reasonable to literally shoot a gun across his partner’s lap while inside a squad car has incredibly bad decision-making skills and training.

      from the evidence so car, I’d argue that noor had no business having a badge. the trial, if any, should be interesting

      1. Louis Fyne

        ps, the Minneapolis police chief should be fired or resign as noor and castile happened on her watch. but that would likely make the LBGTQ/fem vote unhappy. the chief is the city’s first lesbian chief

          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            It is most definitely NOT dead quiet about the Australian shot in Minneapolis here in the news in Australia.
            Days later and the outrage seems to be building, not subsiding

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              Emmitt Till’s murder didn’t cause outrage because of the brutality or that it happened at all. Emmitt Till was not a Southerner. He was visiting relatives. He was from the Chicagoish area. What once was the prup theoblem of a foreign land (the South) became a pressing problem as a person off limits became the target. If it could happen to a black kid from Chicago, it could happen to anyone who isn’t from the South’s protected classes.


              The subtle racism in the opening line is appalling. “offending a white woman”???

      2. WobblyTelomeres

        “a person who thinks it’s reasonable to literally shoot a gun across his partner’s lap while inside a squad car”

        I think you have found the truth here. Is it possible Noor had his gun drawn and finger on the trigger (violating his training, there) when she walked up? The alleged loud noise may have prompted a squeeze, across his partner’s lap, through the door, into her abdomen.

    4. clinical wasteman

      It seems doubtful that even the unedifying combination of war zone+college could be relied on to produce a gargoyle as exquisitely vicious as an American, Australian, English or “Other European” (actual UK census category!) cop. It’s a Calling, like Holy Orders or vivisection.

      [Apologies if this appears twice: my computer really is acting like it’s just back from war & college now.]

    5. reslez

      > in retrospect no one understands how the hell this guy became a gun-carrying police officer.

      Huh? I find it incredibly easy to understand how this guy became a police officer. He presumably qualified just like all the other applicants, and there’s a push to get Somali officers on the force so they can help police the Somali community. Not having any Somali officers isn’t going to increase trust of the police. So yeah, affirmative action (oh noes!) for a reason that actually, you know, makes some sense. How well that was implemented remains to be seen. If the guy was rushed through his training, well that didn’t do him or the deceased any favors. If the guy didn’t have the right psychological profile to be a cop and was pushed through anyway, that would also be ungood.

      Whether somebody came from a war zone at the age of 8 doesn’t seem all that relevant to me. You’ll have to explain that one. I also don’t see why it’s a bad thing if he was given preference compared to “native born” people (oh noes!), if the goal was to help establish good relations with Somalis. There’s a huge pool of people capable of being cops and the scoring is mostly arbitrary anyway.

    6. Synoia

      True soft of:

      I do not know how hiring East African political/economic refugees helps re-mediate the effects of 400 years of slavery by Europeans on descendants of (mostly West African) slaves

      The East Africans were enslaved by peoples from the Middle East.

      1. JTMcPhee

        …And Africans of all locations participated in the slave-taking and transport to places like Whydah for sale to us white folks, and other Others… Human rottenness is not particularized to any branch of the species… http://www.ghanaweb.com/GhanaHomePage/NewsArchive/artikel.php?ID=181302 — Note the role of conflict/warfare betwixt and between all the various groups of melanized humans populating the African continent, N, E, S and W, and Central too. Taking slaves, from survivors of losing groups, and selling them for profit… proto-neoliberalism?

  5. Dave

    For what it’s worth, Lambert, I only realized yesterday that Water Cooler was posted at 2:00. I had just been waiting until 3:00 every day to check it

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Maybe I should change the posting time? Another scheduling issue is that I can’t simply shift over to working nights, so I need to put some sleep in between doing the research for posts, and posting (and I find that letting the research simmer for a bit is a good idea, too).

      1. Darius

        Don’t change a thing. It ain’t broke. Like religion, my life hasn’t been the same since I discovered Water Cooler. I schedule my day according to it and Links. If you’re running behind sometimes, I’m just grateful you’re doing it at all.

      2. Cujo359

        .. or you could call it the Afternoon Water Cooler, and give yourself some flexibility.

        1. ambrit

          I had the same idea. Sometimes ambiguity is your friend. Think of diplomacy, when done right.

    2. DJG

      I’m reminded of some advice from the Olympian Julia Child: Don’t point out any small flaw in preparation. Don’t say, I’m thinking I put too much cocoa in the frosting. Say, I made this fantastic cake for you.

  6. NotTimothyGeithner

    About the focus group, I think Dems don’t recognize the chain of events goes like this. 9/11 and arguably the 2000 recount do represent an major divide of before and after. The Democrats were largely an after thought through the 2004 election.

    -Dean and the 50 state strategy after being nominally ridded of Clintonistas makes new if limited promises and win elections all over the country including both Denny Hastert’s and Tom Delay’s seats. (Scandal helped, but still this is a big deal.)
    -Reid and by extension all Democrats promised the powder must be kept dry because we don’t want to screw up implementation under Shrub when we can get a Democratic President. Okay, I can kind of agree…
    -Obama wins with huge majorities after making vague promises. People did project their own hopes and values onto Obama.
    -Obama makes a new promise that (I do believe this was internalized) as a black man he needs to move deeper into the “emerging Democratic majority” age to be progressive. Okay, I can kind of agree…or more accurately see how other people agree.
    -Obama moves against Social Security, continues reckless foreign policy, and pursues hideous trade deals along with pushing sequester breaking his 2012 campaign promise.
    -Promises have been broken, leaving the Democrats will only perceived bad actors. Democrats pat themselves on the back instead of addressing griefs and rely on fear and TINA as their only message.
    -Bernie could make promises similar enough to the Dems 2006 and 2008 promises only because he is not a Democrat. The Boy who Cried Wolf has survived all these years because it deals with the basics of trust and how society functions. The Democrats have cried wolf for too long to simply find a message or promise to “see” the voters because the promises made became promises broken.
    -In the absence of contrition and purges, the Democrats will never be able to put together winning coalitions as young people are increasingly separated from the nostalgia of the New Deal and the Great Society (interestingly LBJ preferred to think of himself as a continuation of the New Deal and didn’t like having to come up with his own name.)

    There are no new Democrats who can make empty promises, partially due to the collapse of the party at the state and local level. Any “new” person embraced by the Democratic leadership in any capacity will more or less be embraced by turd polishers such as Ossoff.

    Democrats also have not actually addressed the Obama era and the failure to act on the economy and the long term consequences of not prosecuting white collar criminals. The reason to do this was to not damage the economy, but for the 99%, the economy is weaker. Bailing out Jaimie Dimon didn’t improve the lives of not just a majority but an overwhelming majority of the country. The implied promise of “not attacking the financial system would result in prosperity” was also broken because there was no prosperity.

    1. Norm

      Your analysis and sequencing are spot on, BUT, I can’t help feeling that Democrats all across the board would have had a better 2016 if only they did not insist on tying their fortunes to hideously unattractive Hillary.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I think HIllary’s celebrity and expectation she was an unstoppable juggernaut protected her from being questioned in the media. For too many people the idea Hillary was unequally qualified instead of a disaster of candidate was a certainty. The media around the country would not protect Cuomo the way they covered for Hillary.

    2. Darius

      Mostly agree but Obama stopped at bailing out Wall Street because to him they’re the only people who mattered. Working class people either don’t exist for him or he bought the neoliberal line that government shouldn’t interfere in the free market to help them. He overrode this reasoning for the elite because he really cares about them.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Obama’s intent is irrelevant. Only the perceived broken promise matters.

        Krugthullu wrote several columns about healthcare and the stimulus with the warning that they need to be big because failures will raise questions about the competence/intent of the electeds who voted for it, leading to electoral consequences which would end the ability to fix it, leaving the party responsible on the hook for bad consequences even if they wanted to fix them.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      There aren’t a lot of specific domestic programs mentioned in the post, which is what I expected (since a “police state” is by definition directed at the citizens of that state). One tendency liberal Democrats have is to point to some bad (undeniably bad) thing Trump is doing, while ignoring how Obama (and the now rehabilitated George W. Bush) either did the same thing or created the conditions for what Trump is doing. It’s like they built the car, assumed they’d always have the keys, and then scream because they don’t like the direction Trump is driving it). Uncharacteristic lack of focus by Johnston.

      1. Tom Moody

        Yes, many blogs I read complain about [ongoing political evil] and stick “in the age of Trump” into the headline. Juan Cole is especially bad at this.

        1. Swamp Yankee

          Agreed on Cole, Tom. He has not been at his best lately; Trump seems very difficult for him to get his head around. In general I’d say he is far more perceptive about the Middle East than America (I think this is related to his having been raised in large part as an American abroad). In general, I think figures from the 2000s like Cole’s time, in the sense of when they were most influential and insightful and central to world-historical events, has passed (see also Colbert, Stephen, Stewart, Jon, etc). The focus is back on the US, and off the Middle East.

          I say all this with great admiration for Cole, I actually know him in real life and found him to be a very decent sort.

          1. Tom Moody

            I still read him for the Middle East coverage. Unfortunately every other headline is something like today’s “How our Intel Agencies Screwed us by Letting Sessions, Trumpies get away with Russia Scheme.” Immediately after the election Cole was skeptical of any “scheme.” Now he’s fully on board with the Clinton talking points.

            1. Tom Moody

              OK, I deleted his feed from my RSS reader — will scan his front page for occasionally for Mideast analysis. I also had to delete Corrente a while back (sorry Lambert). They had a *daily* series going called “Trump therapy” which was like agony to read if you believe Clinton is no better. I made a skeptical comment which never left moderation, then deleted the RSS. Joe Conason’s blog remains in the queue for its reading of the current Clintonite thinking and because he posts infrequently. Swamp Yankee, you are right about those “figures from the 2000s.” Many of them seem out of touch with the reasons for popular anger.

      2. Left in Wisconsin

        Johnston has gone wobbly since Trump was elected. It’s been awhile since he has said anything insightful.

    2. Byron the Light Bulb

      Mick Mulvaney has gone from a stunt-casted ideologue to a jaw-dropping example of gross incompetence. No matter the legislation, Mick Mulvaney’s Budget Office of Perpetual Dyscalculia can be depended on to woefully fail at keeping anybody briefed on anything. The man’s ability to uni-task the slow assimilation of simple information then regurgitate that knowledge into the gaping maw of the Void is…well…in DJT’s words, he’s a good guy. Let’s see what happens. Especially what happens during a national emergency when there are no funds left to even batten down strategically vital hair pieces.

  7. DonCoyote

    The more “courses” on Water Cooler, the better. Bring on the “soup” :-)

    On Donna Brazile: The tone-deaf DNC has no credibility

    When you’ve lost Salon…

    1. Jim Haygood

      PBGC is limited to payments of slightly more than $1,000 a month in cases of multiemployer funds. And PBGC itself is on the verge of bankruptcy.

      We can put a finer point on this statement by consulting PBGC’s annual report:

      :”PBGC estimates that PBGC’s multiemployer insurance program is likely to run out of money by the end of 2025.” — page i

      PBGC’s combined net position decreased by $3,064 million, increasing the Corporation’s combined deficit to $79,413 million as of September 30, 2016, a record loss, from $76,349 million as of September 30, 2015. — page 25


      So the fiscally responsible Republican-led Congress is going to appropriate $80 billion to top up PBGC’s black hole and make America’s pensions sound … right?

      HA HA HA HA! Why no, they’re going to add a hundred billion to the bloated defense budget, so that a military that hasn’t won a war in decades can have shiny new toys and lose even more grandly.

      Sovietization will be complete when destitute pensioners beg for food on shabby streets with empty storefronts and smashed windows, as the former middle class burns its brokerage statements in outdoor barrels to warm their chapped hands.

      So much for the great populist elected last fall. He’s pauperizing his base right in front of their eyes. Amazingly, most still believe our foreign legions are “protecting” them.

      1. Left in Wisconsin

        I worked through a couple of PBGC settlements back in the day when some blue collar workers actually had defined-benefit plans. Even then, you could see the math going forward was grim. As with many things from the post-WW2 era, there were assumptions built in to the construction of social programs (in this case, that defined benefit pensions plans would continue to be widespread in the private sector) that have turned out not to be valid, and so the envisioned solution becomes problematic.

        But there is no way Repubs will throw $$ at PBGC. They will let it whither and die. (As will the Dems.)

  8. allan

    Forget Win the Future. Never mind about I’m With Her. And Forward is so last decade.

    The Dems have finally found the secret sauce that will ensure victory in 2018 and beyond:

    Jeff Stein‏Verified account @JStein_Vox

    A member of Congress told me Democrats big 2018 slogan, which is set to be released Monday. It’s: “Better Skills, Better Jobs, Better Wages”

    Because the central problem today is obviously a skills gap.

    File under Kill Me Now With Fire.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Better Skills, Better Jobs, Better Wages

      It’s important to remember that “better” does not imply “good.”

      (Although I’m sure it’s all good for the consultant who created the slogan, ka-ching!)

      1. Left in Wisconsin

        It’s important to remember that “better” does not imply “good.”

        Or, in this case, even “better.”

    2. curlydan

      wow, that’s one amorphous, BS slogan. Wouldn’t want to offer something concrete like, “$15 minimum wage, Medicare for All, Free College Tuition”, right?

      1. allan

        More honest would be a slight variation on Walmart’s slogan,
        reflecting the effects of two generations of both GOP and Dem policies:
        Slave money, Live bitter.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          Does “Our Walmart” sell the bumper magnet? I could put it next to my “Feel the Bern”.

          1. Doug in Oregon

            Or “Love Trumps Hate”. This from one of the most hateful Presidential candidates in the past several decades.

    3. glmmph

      The Liberals in Australia went to the last federal election with “Jobs and Growth”, a slogan that proved to be particularly vacuous as no actual policy was proposed that addressed either term. They came within one seat of losing the election, and the slogan was widely blamed for the result. As in, vote for us, because “Jobs and Growth”, repeated ad nauseam, which developed its own meme during the campaign of “Jobs and Groaf”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      No wonder all those overseas Chinese students are claiming, ‘everyone does it!’

    2. jo6pac

      The commies in Russia are a really small minority. I guess donna brazile isn’t up with the new Russia.

    3. Carl

      The fact that anyone is still listening to this evil hack is all you need to know about the Democrat party. And the MSM.

  9. allan

    Senate confirms Trump federal judge nominee who has history of controversial blog posts [NYDN]

    He compared abortion to slavery. He spread Obama conspiracy theories. He ranted about liberal politics on a blog under a pseudonym.

    And now he has a lifetime appointment as a federal judge.

    The Senate on Thursday voted to confirm John Bush, a controversial Kentucky lawyer nominated by President Trump, as a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. …

    he Senate voted 51-47 along party lines.

    Bush, 52, is a Harvard Law School graduate who has been practicing as an attorney in Louisville, Ky. He served as an attorney for President Ronald Reagan during the Iran-Contra investigation, one of Reagan’s largest scandals.

    Bush will now join an already right-leaning bench that covers cases in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee. …

    … where he will doubtless be a tireless defender of the rights of the back row kids corporations.

  10. Altandmain

    Rep. Barbara Lee Slams Paul Ryan for Killing Endless-War Repeal ‘in the Dead of Night’

    Paid vs unpaid internships:

    It says a lot about the two Senators.

    Dear Liberals, It’s Time to Drop “The Resistance”

    Why Fashion Follows Economic Power

    School problems in Australia too

    White County Inmates Given Reduced Jail Time If They Get A Vasectomy


    76 percent of AMericans worried about a big war

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      Studies from the Army’s War College — the source NOT LINKED TO — for some of the analysis in your link “Poll shows 76 percent of Americans fear a major war” often provides insight into the thinking of the Army Brass. I’d add to that an occasional review of TRADOC Mission Statements and Threat Assessments. But the closing on this link seems more than a little retro: “The Socialist Equality Party and the International Committee of the Fourth International are fighting to give this sentiment [“The broad and deep-rooted popular hostility to war …”] a conscious and organized form through the building of a mass antiwar movement based on the working class and guided by an internationalist and socialist perspective.” And keeping in spirit and milieu I’d add “And death to Trotsky!”

  11. Darius

    The left need not throw transgender people or anyone else under the bus in pursuit of broader prosperity. Trans issues are life and death for them, both in terms of safety and suicide prevention.

    However, no one seems to recognize that economic justice is a prerequisite for social justice. Equality for all is a much more remote goal in a chronically stagnant economy characterized by rampant deprivation, except for a fortunate few. Seeking broad based prosperity isn’t inconsistent with protecting people’s basic civil rights, which should be a bedrock principle.

  12. Jim Haygood

    David Stockman (Reagan’s former budget director) on the coming debt ceiling showdown:

    Freedom Caucus conservatives would never agree to a clean debt ceiling bill. [So] the end game is quite clear. After several false starts, the Trump White House will be forced to turn to Democrats for votes to raise the debt ceiling but it will come at a price.

    Not only would Trump be forced to bail out Obamacare with subsidies to insurance companies, but it would also mean setting aside his vaguely outlined domestic agenda. That would include dropping the sweeping domestic spending cuts contained in the Administration’s budget and settling for a modest tax plan constrained by revenue neutrality.

    A White House deal with the Dems on the debt ceiling would amount to giving the GOP rank and file release from party discipline — ragged as it already is — on fiscal matters going forward. White House complicity in Obamacare’s rescue would be considered an unforgivable betrayal.

    [Treasury has] 50-60 days of cash left, at most. Then comes the first great fiscal temblor of the new era. It will come when Senator Schumer stands with a hapless Donald Trump in the Rose Garden announcing that the debt ceiling will be increased enough to get through the November 2018 election.


    Stockman foresees doom for stocks. But a gov shutdown could just as well be a 1995 analog. Stocks remained serenely untroubled while Newt Gingrich turned off the lights in DC.

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      Thank you for the link. Do you think the hypothetical debt ceiling deal will lead to a night of long knives, where a Koch puppet eventually get the presidency? That is, will any hesitancy in the Republican congress to investigate every corner of Trump’s empire disappear on that day?

    2. Carolinian

      Dean Baker does a number on serenely untroubled Amazon, complete with charts.

      He says Amazon’s current P/E ratio is 184 to 1. For that to return to more normal levels 10 years from now it will have to greatly expand its business or raise profit margins from the current 2 percent of sales to 29 percent. Meanwhile it’s cash cow Amazon Web Services is under threat from deep pocket tech competitors. More


    3. John

      Stockman’s been seeing doom for stocks for 10+ years now.

      I’m going out on a limb here, but I suspect this guy is a pessimist.

  13. clarky90

    Re, “the killer stroke of genius”.

    I am fascinated by the period, August 23, 1939 to June 22, 1941, the time of the Nazi–Soviet Pact. (today, The NeoCon-NeoLib Pact?). Conveniently forgotten, but an inspiration (in a bad way, imo), for current World politics; Secret deals, threats, fake news, greed, misuse of the law, betrayal, contempt for human life…… AND, the prelude to WW2. The Soviet Union described their acquisition of the Baltic States as “friendship”.



    “On June 14, 1940, the USSR made their expected move. Shortly before midnight, Urbšys (Lithuanian Foreign Minister), …was summoned to the Kremlin and handed an ultimatum. Its first part accused Lithuania of the following mutual assistance treaty violations: (1) mistreatment of the Red Army soldiers; (2) preparation of a military attack on the Soviet bases; and (3) secret military alliance with Estonia and Latvia. The “proof” of the first violation was based on old charges which the Kremlin did not want to see investigated by the Lithuanian government. The “proof” of the second violation was deduced from the first one. And, finally, the “proof” of third violation of the treaty listed in the ultimatum rested solely on Merkys’ article in the Revue Baltique.

    The second part of the ultimatum demanded (1) the immediate prosecution of General Skucas and Director of Security Department, Povilaitis, as two Lithuanian officials directly responsible for anti-Soviet provocations; (2) a new cabinet which would abide by the terms of the mutual assistance treaty; and (3) the admission of unlimited numbers of Soviet troops to Lithuania. The ultimatum gave Kaunas ten hours to comply with its demands.”

  14. ProNewerDeal

    6 months in to the ConManD0n era. D0n keeps more campaign promises than 0bama, although during the campaign & now D0n FlipFlops so frequently it is hard to ascertain what his past campaign promises or current policy actually were.

    D0n good policies promised delivered & working on include killing TPP, & improved Russia relations (recent G20 meeting has cease fire in SW Syria, Ukraine, & Cybersecurity agreements). D0n has kept many bad policies, such as “killing the terr0rist families” e.g. killing more civilins in Syria/Iraq.

    2008 Campaign 0bama promised & delivered on the good policy of relegalizing stem cell research. What else? His health care policy was a “Medicare-like public option” with “no requirement for adults”. Instead there is an Individual Mandate, which in many counties is a mandate to purchase from a crap-quality, price-gouged private monopoly or duopoly since 0bama killed the Public Option. There are many other 0bama FlipFlops, re “protecting Whistleblowers”, “ending Iraq War”, etc

    1. ProNewerDeal

      by chance do any of you recommend a book or article that thoroughly contrasts 2008 0bama campaign promises vs 0bama actual policies as President?

  15. Kim Kaufman

    I’m OK with “late” since I usually check in later than when it’s theoretically “supposed” to be posted. You, Yves and Jerry Lynn work very hard on this and I appreciate it all.

    Your garden looks lovely – lush – unplanned – like a grandmother’s garden is supposed to look. Either that or you’re a good photographer. I tried to have that kind of garden originally but too hard in southern CA between the gophers and my decreased watering for periods of lack of interest. What’s not dead is a good plant. But when I look at my own garden I only see the stuff that needs to be done, not what’s doing well and blooming. Gophers made a mess of a few areas a while ago and still haven’t cleaned it up. Shrug.

  16. ewmayer

    Another Reason Men Don’t Work: Imaginary World More Enjoyable than the Real World | MishTalk

    As with many Mish-ticles, the real value is in the comments.


    I will take a bat this subject.

    I was an avid online gamer (with my ex-spouse) and regularly logged 40+ hours a week playing games. For years. I also worked my way through school before that (didn’t play games until years after I was working professionally). I am certainly not a slacker – but for 15/mo, it is damn cheap, fun entertainment so I got into it at some point when I was older.

    FIRST: these games are highly stimulating – life usually isn’t – and humans easily gravitate towards “exciting” activities. Some of these games are incredibly complicated and take real mental horsepower to succeed at. They are crafted and driven by extensive marketing research – there is something for everyone. A person who needs to be needed by someone has a special role in these games – someone who wants to be in control of others has a special role – it is all built in by design. Someone who wants to solve complicated problems has a role. Unless y’all actually rode the rides for a year – you might not realize the extent to which this is true – and in some cases – sort of creepy.

    SECOND: Gaming is social – they are doing this with other PEOPLE online – people they chat with, become friends with, they talk about problems, share life stories/experiences. For people are socially awkward or who don’t fit well – it is an escape. I think in the long run it will be viewed as a potential dependency issue – not exactly like drugs/etc – but detrimental and addictive none the less as it displaces more healthy behaviors – but it will depend on the person, situation, etc.

    THIRD: Work opportunities for younger people are crap – but at the same time (I observe) that they usually don’t want to work at it either. I know many people who employ labor/etc and they constantly complain about the younger folks just not giving a s**t, being late constantly, etc.

    FOURTH: Imagine if you were 22 – here is what you might have personally observed if your older brother was, say, 30, went to college, had kids, and got divorced. He is horribly in debt, working at a job that isn’t going to pay for the bills, the wife took off with the kid, he is shoveling money every month at her – she has four boyfriends (they pool housing assistance) and a habit and the kid – and there is nothing he can do despite fighting with the court system – write that check or go to jail. I have seen this EXACT situation and it is much more common than y’all realize.

    Straight up – this family is destroyed and there is collateral damage.

    Think that 22 year old wants to go school and get married? LOL, uh nope. The system is stacked against men in this regard and it is very much becoming a common perception. So, once that light goes off – why TRY? Just limp along with a common job, keep the overhead low, and seek life EXPERIENCES that young people seem so much more focused on – because they don’t see a successful future to work towards. Might as well enjoy the ride!

    CONCLUSION: It might not make sense to y’all – but it isn’t your life they are living. Right or wrong, they are making their own decisions – and perhaps if our society wasn’t so completely screwed up (and getting worse) as it is – they might act a little different too.

    I am just sharing personal observations from my life/experience.


    It’s a generation of young men reared inside the message that “the world doesn’t want or need you”.

    Message received.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I wonder if any of them regrets spending 12 years of their lives going to school.

      Anticipating the ‘why bother looking for work, with a ‘why bother getting a credential.”

    2. Kfish

      “Reality is Broken”, by Jane McGonigal, is a fantastic book describing the psychological tricks used to hook people into playing games for hours. The ‘tricks’ are such techniques as regular and escalating goals, a gradually increasing difficulty level and positive feedback (sound effects, funny animations) for both success and failure. She openly acknowledges that society as it currently is does not provide this kind of feedback.

      Following this philosophy, programmers have invented games like HabitRPG, which attach this kind of structured in-game feedback to desirable real world behaviours. It’s profoundly depressing that the solution to our problems is to incorporate games into our current society, rather than fixing the problems that took away our natural incentives in the first place.

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      I read further down in the comments and was struck by how many older persons were bragging on and on about how wonderfully their sons had done all with a range of responses I might summarize as “Let them rise up by their bootstraps. They need to stiffen their upper lips, bite the bullet, hang tough and things aren’t really that bad … just the attitudes of our youth.

      This called to mind one speculation for why what the Japanese term “hikikomori” are far less common in the West — those who would be hikikomori in Japan are merely homeless in the West where young men are kicked out of the house. I guess the rest of them join the military or end up in jail.

  17. WeakenedSquire

    I could care less about timeliness, but these posts and comments are turning into a Koslike echo chamber for a certain segment of the disaffected left. I appreciate Schadenfreude-infused ranting as much as anyone, but I do wonder what might be possible if the Left spend half as much time organizing itself as it spent sitting around on the Internet complaining about liberals. The hapless Democrats may be whistling past the graveyard, but who’s the greater fool here? What chance does the Left have next year of taking any more seats than the one or two (or is that zero?) that it already has? Remove the aging Bernie from the equation, and what’s left? Look what happened to Canada’s NDP when Jack Layton died–and they started from a far stronger position than the homeless American Left.

    1. Carolinian

      Doubt that the entire Left is sitting here reading NC (which some of us see as a forum for ideas and information). The proprietors do generously allow us to grouse.

      However I do agree with you that if Bernie 2020 is the plan then we need a new plan.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        Agree! Bernie for 2020 is no plan at all. I’m afraid WeakenedSquire is also right about the hollowness on the Left.

        I am troubled by the backward thinking toward the ways of past social movements. My impression is that the “playing field” has changed … and so have the “rules”. I don’t have any great ideas but I fear the old ways will result in a lot of bloodshed without much gain.

        And complaining about liberals … it does seem a popular topic for a lot of threads. I think the Neoliberals are the far more deadly threat and much more difficult to contest in their goals. Mere humans can too easily be worn down by Corporate Persons.

      2. dontknowitall

        I don’t see the goal of this site as a tool to save the Dems or even the Left from whatever is ailing it but as a place to discuss ideas, learn something new, and become informed enough to hopefully be able to act positively in whatever arena in real life we play. NC is also a place where we can separate ourselves from the din of manipulative propaganda and become humans again and not product. After all Yves’ articles on CALPERS can’t possibly be construed as a partisan move in Cali politics but are a non-partisan call for more honesty in public finances, if I understand it right.

    2. Fiery Hunt

      It seems to me that the most important thing we, as citizens of these United States, can do is once and for all shake off the blinders and destroy the current rulers of the Democratic party. There is no activism, no petition, no protest, no participation in our political system that will lead to a faster, better result for EVERYONE than the remaking of the Democratic party. And that means focusing on their corruption and bankruptcy of ideas.

      There is no time or want for “the lesser of two evils” or “incrementalism “.

      1. Eureka Springs

        Shake off the rulers and the owners and structure remain. New boss, same as old boss.

        As laughably pathetic as their new messaging has been, a new message, new suits, no matter how nice could never garner trust nor is it designed to represent. Half their existing constituents or the 90 million sitting on the sidelines will likely never trust that party, rightfully so.

  18. Lee

    I’m not hearing full-throated support from Warren for #MedicareForAll here. Did I not get the memo?

    Elizabeth Warren: It’s time for Democrats to run on single-payer health care

    As the GOP attempts to slash Medicaid and repeal Obamacare in Congress, Sen. Elizabeth Warren is barnstorming her state of Massachusetts, advocating for a single payer system that should, in her mind, be wholly adopted by the Democratic Party.

    “President Obama tried to move us forward with health-care coverage by using a conservative model that came from one of the conservative think tanks that had been advanced by a Republican governor in Massachusetts,” she told The Wall Street Journal in an interview last week. “Now it’s time for the next step. And the next step is single payer.”


    1. Procopius

      I think it’s a mistake to get too invested in Medicare-for-All. That seems like a convenient mechanism, but the point is for every single man, woman, child, and baby, to be able to go to a doctor’s office, a street clinic, or a hospital, be treated for whatever they need, whether it’s sewing up a wound, getting a shot of insulin, ointment for a rash, or radiation treatment for cancer, and when they are well, leave without thinking about payment. The point is the medical treatment for everybody without having to think about payment, not the particular mechanism. People are going to have to pay more somewhere in the process, and most people really don’t feel like health insurance is a part of their paycheck being withheld from them. This is going to be hard to get past.

  19. Carey

    I’m still thinking, a lot, about Kamala Harris’s “we see you” comment. There is certainly some signaling going on with those words, though I wish I understood the Code better.

    1. Richard

      I don’t think it’s coded, exactly. It’s just hard to think of what to say to people devastated by class warfare, when you’re forbidden (or have forbidden yourself) from mentioning class. “We see you” might really be the best she could come up with.
      On the bright side, it will make her very easy to beat, for someone who doesn’t suffer from that disability.

    2. Kfish

      It’s out of James Cameron’s movie “Avatar” – the greeting the empathic blue aliens used for each other was “I see you”, and it meant that you were acknowledging the presence and importance of another. Hardly surprising that the Dem’s most recent rebranding is pulling a slogan from a sci-fi movie.

      1. Kfish

        Thinking on this more, the emotional climax of that movie was when the female blue alien lead said “I see you” to the human male lead, completing his integration into Na’avi society and his journey to be the Great White Saviour of the film. Possibly that spirit of unity is what the Dems are trying to evoke?

        Still, a $15/hr wage campaign would be simpler and more effective.

      2. Jeremy Grimm

        I’m glad to hear the Dem’s slogan was movie crafted. I was afraid they were acknowledging and bragging on the mass surveillance society they worked so hard to create.

  20. Terry Humphrey

    Speaking of corporate crapification we must include network news. Tonight, ABC did an 8 minute lead segment on OJ Simpson’s parole board hearing and even where he plans to live when he gets out. All the world’s problems paled in light of OJ’s parole.

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      Pulitzer, Hearst, Murdoch. Same story. Yellow journalism. Leads to war, it does, all those lurid morality plays.

      1. Jim Haygood

        During OJ’s trial in 1995, WCBS News 88 in New York went to 24-hour coverage of the event, with a couple of minutes per hour of weather and actual world events.

        I never took it seriously as a news station again. Now the entire MSM pack is baying for Putin’s blood. But they can spare 8 minutes for OJ as a nostalgic legacy story.

        For what it’s worth, JonBenet Ramsey was on the cover of a tabloid in the supermarket today.

        Those were the days, yes they were, those were the days
        Those were their ways, miracles everywhere are they now?
        They’re gone

        — Cream, Those Were the Days

  21. alex morfesis

    the earthquake in turkey and greece seems pretty bad…the ferry boat to KOS has been canceled due to damage to the main port pier…no news yet on if the airport is operational…

  22. Oregoncharles

    As far as I’m concerned, you’re posting Water Cooler at least two hours AHEAD of 2:00.

    It’s very rarely that i catch it before there are comments.

  23. Procopius

    I’ve recently noticed Lambert refer to “the jackpot.” For some reason I never read Heinlein’s The Year of the Jackpot until a couple of months ago. Watching the way the Clintonistas are ramping up the anti-Russia hysteria I guess it’s really appropriate now. What’s wrong with those people, anyway. Were they all born after 1989?

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