Links 7/22/2017

Unlocking the Secrets Behind the Hummingbird’s Frenzy National Geographic

The strange topology that is reshaping physics Nature

Antarctica’s Larsen C ice shelf: new rift detected Deutche Welle

FEATURE-In Miami, battling sea level rise may mean surrendering land Reuters

Swedes name a train ‘Trainy McTrainface’ CNN

Broad Measure of U.S. Manufacturing Efficiency Confirms Downtrend Bloomberg

Bitcoin averts split as miners back new software upgrade Reuters

Private Equity’s Big Bets on Financial Tech DealB%k, NYT

Banks’ greed on full display with check-cashing fee for non-customers LA Times

Orphan Diseases Or Population Health? Policy Choices Drive Venture Capital Investments Health Affairs

Investment funds heat up global real estate market Nikkei Asian Review

Meet Your New Landlord: Wall Street WSJ

Hard Questions for a Company at the Center of the Opioid Crisis Gretchen Morgenson, NYT

Hedge Fund Uses Algae to Reap 21% Return Bloomberg. Computational biology.

To save rural Iowa, we must oppose Monsanto-Bayer merger Des Moines Register (CR).


America Had Already Lost Its Covert War in Syria—Now It’s Official The Century Foundation

Army general says the US didn’t halt CIA program arming Syrian rebels to appease Russia Reuters

Qatar emir ready for Gulf crisis dialogue with conditions France24

The long-running family rivalries behind the Qatar crisis Guardian


Bank of America picks Dublin for EU base following Brexit Charlotte Observer

UK to back temporary free movement after Brexit, says Michael Gove FT

Hammond met Goldman Sachs board for private Brexit talks Sky News

Poland Senate passes contested judiciary bill FT

How Kaczynski Is Driving Poland Away from Europe Der Spiegel


How Class in China Became Politically Incorrect LARB

Let’s be clear: China would call America’s bluff in the South China Sea Lowy Institute

A train that proclaims China’s global ambition FT

Putting together the pieces of the Chinese VPN jigsaw puzzle Privacy News Online

Gen. Paul Selva: New military operation in Philippines should be weighed Washington Examiner

New Cold War

Shhhh! Russia Can Like Something And It Can Be Good. Ian Welsh

How to Talk to Your Teen About Colluding With Russia McSweeney’s Internet Tendency

Trump Jr. and Manafort reach deal with Senate panel to avoid public hearing CNN

Sessions discussed Trump campaign-related matters with Russian ambassador, U.S. intelligence intercepts show WaPo. Source: “current and former U.S. officials.” I’m so old I remember when exposing SIGINT was a big deal…

Exclusive: Mueller asks WH staff to preserve all documents relating to June 2016 meeting CNN

Trump shakes up legal team in face of widening Russia probe USA Today

Does Trump Have a Case Against Mueller? Politico. I get a little tired of the Mueller hagiography. While not a torturer (Brennan, CIA), or a perjurer (Clapper, NSA) he is an expert in entrapment.

McCain and the Trump-Russia Dossier: What Did He Know, and When? Reason

CIA director says Russia loves to ‘stick it to America’ and has interfered in ALL recent presidential elections Daily Mail

Trump Transition

Who is new White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci? Los Angeles Times. Read all the way to the end.

Why Trump’s New Hire Marks a Turning Point for the White House Time. We might remember that the go-to story for the Trump campaign was ZOMG!! Chaos!!!, and Trump kept firing people and firing people… ’til he won.

Justice Department’s Demand for Extreme Secrecy in Reality Winner Trial Contested by Defense The Intercept

The media’s war on Trump is destined to fail. Why can’t it see that? Thomas Frank, Guardian. Certainly odd that Frank has to publish this on the other side of the Pond….

Trump Orders Extensive Study of Defense Industrial Base Defense One

Health Care

Parliamentarian rules against key provisions in Obamacare repeal bill Politico and Senate Parliamentarian Upends GOP Hopes For Health Bill KHN. Not necessarily lethal, since provisions can be rewritten. Topher Spiro of CAP: “Kudos to Sanders staff for punching BIG holes in this bill. Arguing before the Parliamentarian is intense and requires a lot of prep work.”

Collins slams current Senate bill to repeal and replace Affordable Care Act Portland Press-Herald

GOP and Dems start talking about compromise health bill McClatchy

Medicaid Changes in Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) Go Beyond ACA Repeal and Replace KHN. The Medicaid “cap” is key, and win or lose, is now part of the “conversation,” since Democrats aren’t fighting it.

Doctors Will Help Change Our Broken Medical System Elisabeth Rosenthal, Medium. Rosenthal: ” A number of physicians have asked how they can better protect their patients from excessive charges.” Single payer?! Naah…

Al Gore Breaks With Democratic Party Leadership to Support Single-Payer Healthcare Fusion

2016 Post Mortem

If Hillary Clinton Had Won FiveThirtyEight. An alternate universe. “Attorney General Joe Lieberman…”–my coffee!

Postal Service broke law in pushing time off for workers to campaign for Clinton, investigation finds WaPo. Nice work, Hillz.

Cory Booker: Boycott Israel Movement “An Anti-Jewish Movement” Buzzfeed

Democrats in Disarray

Why Blue Dogs would destroy the Democratic Party. Again. The Week

The Triumph of Obama’s Long Game Andrew Sullivan, New York Magazine (Re Silc). Re Silc: “Can someone drive down and kill me?” Not me. I don’t drive, and anyhow I’ll be busy throwing myself off a bridge into the river.

We have the opportunity for a realignment. We don’t have a party to do it. Yet. Corey Robin (MR). Nails it. IMNSHO.

Green Party Growing Pains; Our Own Crisis of Democracy Kevin Zeese, Counterpoint. Stein’s recount effort seemed sketchy at the time. As it turned out to be! I’m surprised, however, that Zeese didn’t link to this post from BAR.

Our Famously Free Press

By dismantling its copy desk, The New York Times is making a mistake that’s been made before Poynter. Re Executive Editor Dean Baquet’s column justifying gutting the copy desk: “‘Over and over in the reader comments below, I’m seeing the same thing: that readers DON’T USE THE New York TIMES FOR VIDEO! We want to read, and we want to read well-written, well-edited journalism. … Please reconsider your direction.'” Do it, Dean. Do it. Moar video. We’ll take those readers.

White House reporter live streams audio-only press briefing The Hill. Ksenija Pavlovic. Good for her.

Class Warfare

When Organizers Are Professionals Jacobin

As California’s labor shortage grows, farmers race to replace workers with robots LA Times

Comparing Capitals New Left Review. A useful though lengthy riposte to Richard Florida.

A Study of the Champagne Industry Shows That Women Have Stronger Networks, and Profit from Them HBR

Jane Austen, on the money TLS

Jane Austen Gives Your Weekend Safety Brief Duffel Blog

how did we spend $28 on hot dogs and diet coke?: an investigation Medium. Summer fun…

What We Finally Got Around to Learning at the Procrastination Research Conference NYT. Putting this last. Obviously.

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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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. WheresOurTeddy

      Cory Booker – the neoliberal’s dream. Ooh, can we have Kamala run “against him” too so we can consecrate a new leader for the Black Misleadership Class thus preserving the illusion of policy choice while also stroking the feathers of the Identity Politics simpletons?

      Obama is gone and John Lewis is so very old…

      1. a different chris

        >Ooh, can we have

        No. You have a much stronger stomach than the rest of us. :)

  1. Carla

    In my view, Thomas Frank usually fails to get to the meat of the issue. While of course he’s right to condemn the media for its self-defeating narcissism, I think the real danger is not that journalism is unable to turn public opinion against Trump, but that NOTHING else has journalistic time or attention devoted to it. And that’s why most of the U.S. media, at least, has become irrelevant noise.

    And it’s also why I rely on Naked Capitalism and The Automatic Earth links to bring me the news of the day. Kudos to Lambert, who has been working double-time! Hope Yves’ eye is all better.

    1. Arizona Slim

      I also like how NC links are not a bunch of video links.

      Don’t know about anyone else, but it takes me a few minutes to read and digest the same material that chews up 15 minutes of video-watching time.

      1. jo6pac

        Agree and I don’t watch them but then I’m 69 years old and watch very little tbeeee

      2. Eclair

        Gosh, yes! I can read a lot faster than people can speak, so I become really impatient with most video.

        That said, I keep a reservoir of interesting videos in my Mac Reading List; they are great to listen to when I am working in the kitchen. Nothing like chopping cabbage for sauerkraut and listening to Noam Chomsky.

        My husband, OTOH, is dyslexic, so he’s like a pig in swill with video.

        1. Arizona Slim

          And I’m practicing conversational Russian (with online videos) while doing housework.

        2. UserFriendly

          My ADD prevents me from reading anything longer than two paragraphs without getting distracted. If it wasn’t for text to speech with speed control I would still be an idiot who watches too much TV. It is great being able to listen to something thought provoking while doing something else that is more mindless yet requires sight.

    2. JohnnyGL

      Thomas Frank is excellent for what he is: A true member of the DC intelligensia that’s got the self-awareness to step out of his class and culture for a minute and notice the rest of America exists.

      I’d agree that he’s got too much good faith in the ruling class and in the overall system and doesn’t see decay and rottenness at every turn as we jaded readers of NC love to point out.

      I believe that shredding media credibility is a very important step. Their ability to manufacture consent is deeply damaged (not destroyed, mind you). The best part is that Trump got them to do it to themselves!

      If you think about it, a Bernie Sanders presidency would have been attacked ferociously by the establishment and since Dems still believe in it, they would have hurt the Sanders presidency more than they have hurt a Trump presidency (though they have hurt Trump, their efforts aren’t a real success on their own terms, because he’s still in office for now).

      In 2020, or 2024, if we get a Sanders presidency or some other anti-establishment (even a little bit) leftist, I think that person gains a lot of support from some Trump supporters, whether disappointed Trumpers or true-believers, solely because they will see the establishment and its media allies rolling out the same playbook against him/her. Now, if that lefty prez delivers Lambert’s ‘concrete material benefits’. Well, then those voters will back the prez to the hilt.

      To use an analogy from “the funky academic” on youtube, I suspect that Trump, inadvertently, is a kind of ‘John the Baptist’ figure who preps the electorate for a lefty populist who’s going to try to make a real difference and frustrated Trumpers are definitely voters that can be won over.

      Look at the UK where Corbyn’s Labor Party did surprisingly well among former UKIP voters!

      1. Carla

        I suggest you pick up a copy of Nancy MacLean’s “Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America” before banking on a “left” victory in 2020 or 24. And remember, although Labor did better in the last election; they haven’t won.

  2. funemployed

    Lambert, I honestly would like to know where you find the doughtiness to read Andrew Sullivan. I made it to “I’m a de-facto, Obama-loving leftist” and buckled under the strain.

    1. Darius

      Trump in White House. Democrats a smoking ruins. Everything going just according to Obama’s long game.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        You simply don’t understand how 853rd dimensional chess works. You will be sorry you didn’t support Obama!

        The decline of Obama supporters on the Internet has been shocking. Don’t they remember how he thought 11 dimensions ahead just like Spock in Axelrod’s butchered metaphor?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Obama’s Voltaire quoting ‘Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good’ lives.

          It was ‘Don’t let (his idea of the perfect) Healthcare-For-All be the enemy of the good (Obamacare).’

          Today, it’s “Don’t let (the perfect) Free-Healthcare-For-All be the obstacle of the good (Healthcare-For-All).”

          Only some are still Barry’s disciples though. Many have come around to the ‘Free’ part, I feel.

          1. David


            That “perfect/enemy of the good” talking point was so omnipresent amongst Obama shills during 2009 that it generates a visceral disgust/hatred reaction in me to this very day whenever/wherever I hear it.

            Andrew Sullivan. FFS. This guy is the M. Night Shyamalan of public pseudo-intellectuals. How in the absolute christ people actually pay him to express his opinion is utterly beyond me.

            Yeah MEEP-MEEP Andrew. Your man Barry had this worked out all along. Obamacare an utter failure. A loon/imbecile in the White House. Republicans controlling 75% of all state branches of government and all three at the Federal level.

    2. WheresOurTeddy

      If you’re a leftist and love Obama, I have bad news:

      You’re not a leftist.

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        To which, the only response is: “The real cure for the ills of democracy is more democracy.” – Fighting Bob La Follette

      1. Heracitus

        I agree with Sullivan’s analysis, and don’t see your analogy with ‘Lost Cause’ historians. I think there has been a tendency for historians in recent years to adopt the view of the Civil War that vindicates the Northern invasion of the South. Earlier historians, who were closer in time to the events interpreted, had a different view.

  3. geoff

    RE Opioid Crisis: If an individual or even a small to medium-sized organization (say a cartel) sold drugs that killed tens of thousands of people, that individual or everyone involved with the business would be pursued relentlessly by law enforcement until the business was shut down and its operators were in jail. A large corporation like McKesson distributes legal opioids in an illegal fashion and with the exception of a few “slap on the wrist” ($150 million in a “civil penalty) fines CONTINUES to kill Americans every day.

    McKesson CEO John Hammergren ALONE has earned approx. $692 million since 2008.

    1. Sam Adams

      When you owe $100,000, you have a problem. When you earn $692 million dollars, everyone else has a problem. It’s a corollary to the Trump Casino rule…

    2. JTMcPhee

      This assumes that such pursuit actually happens in the real world. Sure looks like corruption, empire-building and incompetence on the part of “law enforcement” make such outcomes ( out of business and in jail) supremely rare. And big parts of “the government” are actually active market participants, like the CIA, and maybe parts of the military…

      1. Alfred

        Evidently, ‘cartel’ was the key word in geoff’s original remark, and ‘law enforcement’ lies within the cartel.

    3. JohnnyGL

      “RE Opioid Crisis: If an individual or even a small to medium-sized organization (say a cartel) sold drugs that killed tens of thousands of people, that individual or everyone involved with the business would be pursued relentlessly by law enforcement until the business was shut down and its operators were in jail.”

      — Nope, they’d be co-opted and managed so they could help govern Mexico.

      — Or maybe they’d be co-opted and managed to launder money to ‘moderate’ rebels in Nicaragua in the 1980s.

      They certainly wouldn’t be shut down….USG never shuts down such potentially valuable assets like that!

      1. WheresOurTeddy

        Agreed. We’re in acquisitions, not demolition. Just redirect the cash spigot…

    4. David Creamon

      No, the alcohol and tobacco industries show us that this is not true; neoliberal rule no. 2.

  4. petal

    Kuster, Welch Propose Health Care Plan

    “The Democrats’ five-part plan, dubbed “Solutions Over Politics: Stabilizing & Improving the Individual Market” and supported by Kuster, Welch and eight of their Democratic colleagues in the House, calls for a $15 billion annual reinsurance fund that would be managed by the states to help cover costs when patients need more health services than the average patient.

    Kuster said she would like people in their 50s and 60s to be able to buy into Medicare and to allow people living in areas where there is a lack of competition in the individual health insurance market to purchase plans through the Washington, D.C. exchange that members of Congress use to obtain insurance.”

      1. Marym

        It wouldn’t be the same. No one knows what it would be. The PNHP link below is good discussion of some of the questions.

        The Democrats’ plans floating around are mostly ways of shoveling more money to private for-profit insurers – reinsurance , protecting current subsidy support, tax breaks for insurers in areas with low service coverage, and allowing people to buy in to the FEHB as described in the CAP link. Buy-in to Medicare, insofar as that means Medicare Advantage, Plan D, or Medicare supplements would also be a private for-profit approach.

      2. Katniss Everdeen

        With Medicare “taxes” being automatically withheld from every single paycheck issued anywhere in this country, no matter how small, since the program was established, you’d think that most people had already “bought in.”

        The idea that every worker automatically pays every two weeks for someone else’s healthcare and then has to go out and scrounge up his own, or go without, must surely be one of the things that makes this the BEST “healthcare” system on the planet.

        1. Chromex

          um .. medicare “recipients” have to pay for medical care with 130+ dollars a month premiums for Part B. Hospitalization, which is the only “free” thing is useful if you get hit by a bus. Your 130 a month gets you 80% coverage.. wowee-20% is enough to bankrupt most people if they actually need serious medical care. . Medigap policy costs rise as you get older. What fun. The real question is why the hell is health care so expensive? Hint;take a look at hospital CEO salaries, drug company CEO salaries, medical technology company CEO salaries and compare them to yesteryear. But whatever it is, it’s hardly a Shangri-La for recipients and it would be a massive mislabeling to call it,in its present form at least , Health Care. And none of this covers dental or vision! What every working taxpayer, everywhere IS paying for is some Ceo’s Shangri-La..Not that I do not agree with Katniss that a worker should have single payer access. I don’t suppose anyone would object to cutting the military budget? OH wait- it’s the munitions CEOs rising up angry.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            I’ve always said, ‘Free Health Care For All.”

            Not just, among others, kids going to a top school to study mergers-and-acquisitions.

          2. footnote4

            “Medicaid for all” is preferable. The California version at least is the closest thing we have to single-payer utopia.

            1. Jess

              Are you nuts? Medicaid delivers only for the very poor. In many cases you have to divest yourself of all assets in order to qualify. In other cases, if you have an asset like a house, when you die the state gets to recoup its costs against whatever the house brings in a forced sale. (No leaving it to your kids.)

      3. optimader

        it’s word salad corruption — Babblefish Interpreter: Pol talk for “I’m really out of my depth on this, so I want some deniability for the bullsht that comes out of my piehole”

    1. Jen

      Five part plan???

      I’d say it’s (still) a two part plan: 1) because markets; 2) go die.

      Kuster has generally struck me as a low profile type who understood the reality of being a congresscritter from a swing state: that one democrat more or less isn’t going to matter. I believe this, and not ideological objection, is the reason she was the sole member of our delegation who did not vote for fast track.

      The fact that she is taking a leadership role, and that she held a fundraiser for a woman who is running for mayor of Manchester in a town on the opposite side of the state suggests to me that Shaheen isn’t running in 2020 and Annie is looking to take her place.

      With this move, she demonstrates that she is just as much of an idiot as our present senators. Have some time off coming on monday. I’m looking forward to expressing my views to her staffers.

    2. lambert strether

      > buy into Medicare

      Why don’t they just lower the [family blogging] age of eligibility?

      1. Jen

        And deliver material economic benefit to all Americans?

        Really, Lambert, what are you thinking. Some of them might be deplorables.

  5. Carla

    Meet Your New Landlord: Wall Street WSJ — looks like it could be a pretty important story. However, I can’t access it due to the paywall, and Google no longer gets me there. Has anyone found the content re-counted or summarized elsewhere?

      1. Mo's Bike Shop

        That’s how I’ve been finding WSJ articles recently. So their policy is to drive traffic away from their site for the sake of subscriptions? Genius.

  6. Lupemax

    Under Health Care
    if this was previously posted I apologize.
    The NHS is being defunded (started by Thatcher) so it can be run like the sick care insurance industry runs things over here. Dr. Bob Gill is trying to sponsor a movie The Great NHS Heist. Many NHS properties have been sold off and the system has been increasingly defunded to undermine public confidence in the system. I’m hoping Jeremy Corbyn, should he ever become PM, will begin to turn this around.

    1. Carla

      Let historian Nancy MacLean explain it all to you in her new book “Democracy in Chains”.

  7. David Carl Grimes

    Wasn’t Bill Clinton as hapless as Trump in his first term. Like he had a Mickey Mouse Club White House Staff for the first six months or more. Then things turned around for him. Maybe Trump is learning. I wouldn’t count Trump out so early in his term. During the campaign, he kept on firing people until he found a winning campaign team that propelled him into the Presidency.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Trump Derangement Syndrome blinds many in the D party and the media. What they fail to realize is that Trump is not deterred by negative attention. After all, he has been getting it for decades.

      I also remember a president named Nixon. Who wasn’t loved by the Democrats or the media. But he still accomplished a number of things that were quite progressive. Such as affirmative action, EPA, OSHA, and going to China.

      My prediction: Trump will have similar surprises for us. Like backing single payer, doing a 180 on climate change, and going to North Korea.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Nixon was smart, and their was sustained pressure for some of his actions. Team Blue wasn’t a complete disaster either.

        I disagree about “Trump Derangement Syndrome.” It’s not about Trump but betting on the Clinton who weren’t undone by any revelations or nefarious foreign meddling. They lost because they were weak candidates with poor records betting on converting voters who backed every inane 90’s investigation. The media and Democratic else are desperate to not be held accountable for backing Hillary, a candidate with one electoral win under her belt in 2000 in a safe seat where she under performed Gore and a candidate who represented a political establishment that saw the Democrats be wiped out in the 90’s. If Trump isn’t a Russian stooge, the peeps who have memorized every Jeb Bartlett monologues might just be idiots and have no reason to be smug.

        1. Arizona Slim

          In 2000, Clinton had Rick Lazio as an opponent. If Giuliani had been able to stay in that race, he would have been Bush’s successor.

        2. Anonymous

          JFK Jr. convenietly removed himself from contention in that race too, which was lucky for our girl as she could not have beaten him in the primary.

          1. Geophrian

            Did he remove himself? I thought his plane crash in ’99 was why he didn’t run (having died in that crash). It was a long time ago and I’d only just moved to NYC so my memory of the campaign details is not very good.

      2. oh

        I had three hopes for Trump when he ran:
        1. Defeat Hilly
        2. Destroy or dismantle the Repugs
        3. Destroy the Dims

        So far he’s on target. I don’t expect him to do anything useful other than the above. He’s rotten to the core.

        P.S. I think public pressure and activism resulting in Tricky Dicky relenting on Affirmative Action, OHSA and EPA. Going to China was a 180 done to appease the business community who were longing to use China’s cheap labor.

      3. different clue

        I could see Trump going to North Korea if he felt sure he could get credit for doing a Really Great Deal with Mr. Kim.

        But backing single payer would cost some rich people and institutions some money, and doing a 180 on climate change would cost some other rich people and institutions some money. And Trump didin’t run for President in order to cost some rich people some money.

        So he won’t back single payer, and he won’t do a 180 on climate change.

    2. optimader

      Good memory. He was ridiculed for having a chaotic WH for at least his first year or so. As well, if you recall, there was the meme that HRC was the brains of the operation..

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Clinton ’08 and Clinton ’16 were both known for being rudderless and chaotic campaigns similar to their healthcare effort. Its as if there is a pattern.

        1. WheresOurTeddy

          Blasphemer! The Clintons cannot fail. They can only *be failed* by lesser beings.

    3. dcblogger

      not hardly. Clinton came in with a plan to turn the economy around. He passed a budget, w/ no Republican votes, that provided for a stimulus. Like Trump, the media was against him, but unlike Trump Clinton never lost focus on the public good. You can disagree with his policy decisions, but Clinton was invariably focused on what he considered to the the public good. It is why the public stuck with him thru it all. Also Clinton held regular press conferences. There is just no comparison. Trump is a sexist, racist buffoon, Clinton was a president.

      1. HBE

        Clinton came with a plan to enrich oligarchs at the cost of labor, and he did it by passing NAFTA and continuing Regan’s neoliberal policies at the cost of labor.

        Clinton came with a plan to deregulate Wall Street, and did it by repealing glass-steagall, directly leading to the GFC and immeasurable economic suffering and hardship.

        Clinton came with a plan to turn human suffering into a businesses model, and unleashed the for profit prison industry on the most vulnerable segments of the population, destroying lives and families.

        Clinton came with a plan to dismantle the last remnants of the new deal and passed the PRWORA destroying the welfare system, ensuring the poor suffered even more from his neoliberal policies as they no longer had any safety net.

        Clinton came with a plan to privatize social security and had every intent to do so, luckily for the country the Lewinsky scandal stymied that plan.

        Clinton most assuredly was not “focused on what he considered to the the public good.” He was focused on destroying the public good and labor to enrich himself and the oligarch class he served.

        To say “Clinton never lost focus on the public good.”, either means you have a warped memory of his presidency or are an unabashed neoliberal.

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          But Clinton felt my pain and always talked up how much he cared about the public good.

        2. nippersmom

          Thank you. It is amazing to me how many otherwise intelligent Clinton apologists still refuse to acknowledge the realities of his polices and their long-term effects.

        3. WheresOurTeddy


          Bill Clinton is not your ally. And he could not care less about the public good.

        4. Carla

          @HBE — Yes, yes, yes! + 100.

          Was going to try to refute dcblogger but so glad I just waited to read your rebuttal, because you did it better than I ever could have. Kudos! Gracias!

          1. sierra7

            Can’t resist! And, whenever Clinton spoke and he started to bite his lip you knew somehow you were gonna get screwed!

            On the agricultural link about robot farming and the big changes that have been happening (here in CA) I was dismayed to learn that the asparagus industry continues to move to Mexico. Having nothing against the Mexican people (and having long decades ago operated my own row crop farm business) it is disappointing to me to see that because of the cost of labor herein CA that asparagus will soon become an orphan to the state. Some of the world’s best asparagus came out of the southern part of CA; what we call “all green” asparagus and very tasty and tender. Due to the moving of the crop more and more to more arid regions south of the border the asparagus the past couple seasons tastes of “dirt” and is tough to eat. Sometimes “progress” is not that it is “regressive”. The same thing has happened to artichokes; the new types are developed to grow in more arid regions and do not resemble in the least the good coastal “chokes” of the past. I miss the old days!

            1. different clue

              Inferior artichokes and inferior asparagus is part of the price of Free Trade. The way to restore a market space for the superior asparagus and artichokes you remember is to abrogate NAFTA and restore militant belligerent Protectionism to agriculture . . . and accept Mexico’s perfect right to do the very same.

              If it were made a serious crime ( perhaps with years of hard time in the worst Federal Prisons) to import asparagus and artichokes from non-America into America, then the American asparagus and artichoke grower could pay a fair wage for labor because the American buyer-eater would have to pay a fair price for food.

              Continued Free Trade will mean more shitfood and less shinola food every year. More shit asparagus, more shit artichokes, more shit tomatoes, more shit everything. Hopefully agricultural hobbyists are preserving seed stocks of the superior asparagus and artichokes of which you write. As long as those varieties are preserved from extinction, there is a chance that some gourmet boutique growers might start growing small amounts of them for Silicon Valley entrepreneurs who are prepared to pay a shinola price for shinola asparagus and artichokes.

        5. Edward E

          Bubba was raised by gangsters around Hot Springs, they supported his education and early political campaigns. Then Walton’s quail hunt buddy Jackson and his brother Witt Stephens realized what profitable diamonds the Clinton’s were and I still cannot believe my mother told him straight to his face that he’d ‘never get anywhere in politics’. The sly grin he had on his young face is still unforgettable after all these years.

          Natasha Bertrand, her Twitter account has really been interesting to see latest breaking messes from the wilderness… as well.

        6. clinical wasteman

          Thanks, that’s one of the best ultra-concise summations I’ve seen in all these years.
          I’d only add: Clinton came with a plan to reanimate the US military monster post-Cold War, and with a little help from his “Atlanticist” UK/European friends established “humanitarian intervention” as the norm.
          Items 3 and 4 in particular bear repeating any number of times, especially against the nonsense — often spouted since Trump/Br*xit by Toughlove liberals themselves!) that Clinton/Obama (and Blair, Schroeder et al) “helped minorities but ignored the [implicitly “white”] working class”. What they did was ruin lives systematically across the entire working class, while using a special insult-injury vector to patronize “minority” workers while ruining their lives with renewed vigor. In doing so they helped make the world safe for the single most disastrous idea prevailing today, whereby “minorities” and “the [white, or at a stretch, native-born, depending where you live] working class” are imagined as two separate, competing interests.

      2. GlobalMisanthrope

        Hagiography. True, Bill Clinton wasn’t a buffoon, but he most certainly was a sexist and a racist. Many examples, but two suffice: Lewinsky. They have nowhere else to go (read: f*ck ’em).

    4. Oregoncharles

      Slick Willy (ah, memories) was only hapless on progressive policies. When it came to Republican policies like WTO or NAFTA, he was hell on wheels, totally committed and very effective.

      When he took office, he had a problem: in his campaign, he’d promised to reform health care – but that would offend a lot of the very deep pockets he’d been cultivating. So he gave the job to Hillary, who came up with an unpassable boondoggle; unpassable because it did not give the public what they knew the public wanted.

      Can you tell I’m still bitter? He’s the reason I’m a Green. Maybe I should be more grateful. At least the scales fell off.

    5. sid_finster

      Oklahoma City is what gave Bill Clinton something to run against.

      That, and Team R nominating a low energy middle of the road Bob Dole.

  8. Carolinian

    Thomas Frank:

    I believe that the news media needs to win its war with Trump

    Uh, no. The news media aren’t supposed to be at war with the elected president. They are just supposed to report the facts. Let someone else conduct that war if it needs to be conducted. What’s wrong with our media is not their superficiality or herd mentality but their sense of themselves as an elite that exists to control events. There may not be a deep state but we now have a group of people who think of themselves as the Deep State. Somebody–and Frank’s right that it shouldn’t be Trump–needs to be at war against them. Until a serious culture of media criticism is established much of the public will continue to cheer when Trump calls them “fake news.” If a free press is important then the press themselves are the ones killing it with their own desertion of the “norms.”

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The media should be adversarial, but the problem the “msm” (at some point they won’t be main stream, just corporate backed) is fighting Trump on his personality and Maddow’s Glenn Beck routine.

      I saw a bit of MSDNC two nights ago, and the chryon said “breaking news.” Oh what happened? Sean Spicer is out. Does that news really require the Fox News red graphics which are designed to frighten the audience?

      The a swear is of course no. The White House press secretary is just a public jester for the media. The White House press secretary has never made news except for gaffes which are fodder for late night talk show hosts. It was 814, and MSDNC was obsessing over this particular job which is largely meant to deflect or provide White House talking points.

      1. Carolinian

        The problem with adversarial is that it is a very selective weapon. Were they adversarial with George W. Bush? Not very much.

        Also the founders thought of the free press as consisting of many and varied outlets. You have to question how free our press is when it is owned by a handful of oligarchs. Nobody elected the Grahams or the Sulzbergers or the Murdochs. The advent of television–with it’s barriers to entry–has exacerbated this lack of competition problem.

        1. optimader

          MSM hasn’t been adversarial since Watergate, which was maybe just a last gasp play for the aging counter culture generation as they made their corporate deep dive.
          Not much adversarial MSM since then that I recall right off hand. Iran-Contra? that fizzled to ash and was swept under the carpet… This was when MSM learned to embrace on a focus on ephemera (Fawn Hall)

          1. John Wright

            It took junior reporters, not well paid/well connected senior reporters, to do the deed at the Washington Post in Watergate.

            The adversarial nature of the press may have always been largely a myth.

            The NYTimes and WaPo have been pointing to the Pentagon Papers and Watergate as evidence of their journalistic DNA for more than 40 years..

            But the Times and Post have had more than 40 years to do something else significant, such as early reporting on harmful free trade acts, financial deregulation, mortgage fraud, influence peddling (Clinton Foundation?), foreign government lobbying/ influence in the USA, or questionable USA military actions overseas.

            Adversarial reporting, as little as it was, has been replaced with “preserve access” reporting. I believe those outside the large media companies, such as NPR/PBS reporters, are doing what they can to get noticed so they can move out of the minor leagues, so the entire MSM is in lockstep.

            And papers, like the Times, when they “get it wrong” as in the Iraq War, simply have an apology retrospective years later. They don’t fire the columnists/reporters (other than Judith Miller) who were so very wrong.

      2. optimader

        I liked Spicer, matter of fact presentation of what is on his piece of paper with a Rhode Island accent.
        Your right about the idiocy of the hair on fire presentation of his quitting. For all a PSec does, they could add busing dirty dishes from the WH dining room.

        1. Arizona Slim

          It’s actually the White House Mess. And a friend who was visiting the WH said that the food was excellent.

          1. optimader

            Yes, aptly named, but I doubt it’s stainless steel three compartment trays and sporks..
            I have no doubt it is good chow for the WH breakfast/lunch/dinner crowd.

            As an aside, Jacque Pepin turned down the WH Executive Chef job in the JFK WH as a young immigrant from France to be the executive Chef for Howard Johnsons! How things change..

            Pepin wanted to learn large scale commercial culinary management . He is my favorite celebrity chef, a term he is dismissive of


    2. lambert strether

      It’s an old saw, but in my view correct, that the reporter shouldn’t be part of the story (unless you’re Hunter Thompson, I suppose). But by going to war with Trump, that’s what they did. So the price of victory will be the collapse of the institution.

      In war, you use disinformation, misinformation, and all sorts of deception freely; indeed, that’s your duty. So why should we believe anything, anything at all, of what we read? Especially after WMDs…

    3. Anonymous

      Frank’s lesser evil hedge on Hillary against Trump is annoying.

      He won’t say the emperor has no clothes, but he will note that his apparel is peculiar.

    4. Donald

      I liked the Frank piece, and there is one part at the end which is really clever, where he compares Trump to the character Rodney Dangerfield played in Caddyshack and said Trump was disturbing the smug people in the country club the way Rodney did in that movie. That is exactly right. Rodney is a sleazy character in the movie, but you cheer for him as he gets under the skin of all the other rich people. I despise Trump personally, but it isn’t hard to understand that he has the same appeal. Unfortunately this isn’t a movie.

  9. Livius Drusus

    Re: the mechanization of agricultural work, isn’t this what we want? Higher wages produce productivity growth as businesses replace labor with machines. This is exactly what happened from the period 1947 to 1973 when productivity growth was higher than it is today and yet there was no job apocalypse and wages increased along with productivity because the economy was structured differently with stronger unions, government commitment to full employment and other factors.

    Low-productivity, labor-intensive societies are usually poor, that is why industrialized countries like those in North America, Japan and Western Europe tend to be capital intensive (lots of machines) as opposed to labor intensive (lots of cheap labor) like the developing countries. Bringing in cheap labor from the developing world to work in the industrialized countries is a step backward economically because it encourages businesses to maintain low-productivity practices like using poor immigrant workers to pick crops instead of machinery.

    I could understand hand-wringing if these were good jobs but most of these agricultural jobs weren’t good jobs to begin with so I don’t see much harm in mechanization. The reporting on this issue in the press seems to imply that mechanization is some kind of punishment on Americans for opposing immigration when in reality this is exactly why Americans should oppose immigration. I don’t want this country to end up like a developing country built on cheap labor, that would be a step backwards.

    1. Arizona Slim

      I have read that the availability of cheap labor is the main reason why California agriculture has been so slow to mechanize.

      1. Charger01

        Bingo. A seasonal pipeine of workers would travel the I-5 corridor from California, Oregon, and finally Washington for the various harvests.

      2. optimader

        And a deeper dive is that many crops are not “mechanizable” consequently they are uneconomical to perpetuate with out the human labor to harvest them.

        1. WobblyTelomeres

          Doubtful. In my mind, they are all mechanizable. The only question is at what price? Labor cost determines the break-even cost of robotic/machine switchover. $15/hour for burger flippers means the machines are coming. Simple, inarguable, relentless math/finance (and for me to perform it, it has to be simple).

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            If robot-flipped burgers are not as tasty as human-flipped ones, I hope they (the lords) at least try to make them no less nutritious.

                1. barefoot charley

                  Yes yes, but it’s interesting that the French have hugely mechanized grape harvests with row-bridging tractors etc that you don’t see in California at all. What a difference cheap Mexicans make! And it’s traditional for California farmers to whine that they don’t have enough labor inputs. Luckily, labor laws are for suckers.

                  1. optimader

                    good for wine grapes not good for table grapes. Previous reply vaporized, but suffice it to say try mechanically harvesting Michigan Peaches , raspberries strawberries..etctec.

                    Oregeoncharles can probably comment on the out of this world fruit from the NorthWest that cannot even tolerate transportation out of that region due to their fragile nature, let alone mechanical harvesting

                  2. optimader

                    Yes yes, but it’s interesting that the French have hugely mechanized grape harvests with row-bridging tractors etc that you don’t see in California at all. Wine grapes not table grapes

                    Try mechanically harvesting ripe Michigan Peaches, raspberries, strawberries
                    Oregoncharles can weigh in on the handpicked fruit that could never tolerate transportation out of the region ,let alone mechanical harvesting.

                    1. Oregoncharles

                      Damn. Lost a comment I was working on.

                      Mechanical harvesters pick green strawberries along with the red ones, so not happening. OTOH, they work for blueberries, also a huge crop here, because they shake off the berries, getting only the ripe ones. Doesn’t work for tree fruits, because everything would get smashed. Or raspberries. Works for nuts, though, if you have a big enough shaker.

                      Not sure which fruits Opti means; personally I grow figs because they can’t be transported when truly ripe – they’re just bags of syrup. Also table grapes, which as they say cannot be picked mechanically. I haven’t heard of mechanized pickers for wine grapes around her, either; last I heard, it was still people with buckets. Mostly dark people, these days, but I worked in a vineyard on a crew of hippies. Too old for that now.

                      Horticulture is complicated, and mostly involves personal attention.

                    2. optimader

                      I covet the Willamette valley fruits that never make it very far geographically speaking.

                      Horticulture is complicated, and mostly involves personal attention
                      that pretty well covers it.
                      The most succulent fruits need human attention.
                      My recent past recollection is that there are also certain nut trees as well that don’t suffer mechanical harvesting (shakers).

                      When are the fresh figs due? I have a local produce store that has them seasonally (briefly). Expensive but ohhhhhh so good.
                      Michigan peaches. paperthin skin holding in a ball of wet peachy goodness. When ripe stack them three high and they will rot before your eyes in a couple days. As good as a peach gets..

                    3. Oregoncharles

                      Answering your question below,where there is no reply button: the early crop of figs is due in, I’d guess, a couple of weeks, here in Oregon. Only a few varieties will ripen a second crop here, and they generally suffer from the rainy season, but they’re still a bonus.

                      And they dry beautifully.

                      In the past, I’ve eaten enough figs to umm, loosen things up considerably. I try to be more moderate now.

                      The birds like them, too, and leave them hanging in shreds, so I started cooking and then blending the shreddy ones. Makes excellent sauce or filling.

          2. witters

            Well, if you want to keep pumping out the CO2, and depleting the soil (so requiring huge inputs of industrially produced fertilizers and pesticides and herbicides) then keep mechanising agriculture. I mean it is only 9 units of energy in for 1 unit out as nutrition, so what could go wrong?

            1. mpalomar

              Agree. The fertilizers, tilling methods, monoculture and pesticides and wasteful irrigation techniques agri industry employs are destroying the land. There are alternatives, starting with building the soil and paying decent wages for field hands.

    2. Ted

      Thanks for this comment. I think too often we forget about the labor-capital tradeoff and the macroeconomic effects of this ratio with regard to productivity and the overall standard of living. I am reminded of it rather starkly when I travel for research to one of the US’s former (not really) colonies that it was gifted from the UN after WW II. There the only economic policy for economic development was focused on labor (manual labor) and human capital development. I am always shocked after 25 years of going how little capital is allowed to be developed there as an explicit US policy objective (aside from a port facility to allow overconsumption of sugery foods). Indeed, many “left” leaning intellectuals actively discourage capital-intensive development as it would “spoil” the “authenticity” of the place (aka poverty). Of course, if we allowed capital-intensive development in these places, then my goodness where would our reserve army of potential waitresses, cooks, dish cleaners, and landscape workers come from?

      1. Livius Drusus

        Great points. I think at least some of the support for cheap immigrant labor among liberals comes out of a desire to have a steady supply of nannies, maids and landscapers. If we restricted immigration and went after those who employed illegal labor the price of these services would likely increase and fewer people would use them which in my view is not a bad thing.

        Because labor is so cheap we are seeing something of a renaissance of the 19th-century style servant economy with more people using cleaning services for example. This is not progress. Compare these recent developments to the post-World War II era when domestic machines (washers and driers, for example) replaced domestic workers. What if liberals in the 1950s wrote scare stories about washing machines and how they were going to put domestic servants out of work? People would have (rightly) thought that they were nuts but now you see a lot of these stories with regard to the automation of crappy jobs that we should want to see automated away.

    3. Rebecca

      Livius, your argument is correct. I came west in the US to seek a more natural, close to the earth, lifestyle. But instead found a 3rd world country called the Rocky Mtns. Montana, in particular, demonstrates every day the scenario you explain. Business owners with govt complicity perpetuate the system you describe. This is a labor intensive economy and it is an extraction-based economy. Whether it is mining, timber, food production, tourism (and the govt contractors hire as many foreigners as possible for those menial/service tasks), or beef cattle/hog ranching the workman/women make subsistence wages. There are in general not even sick days, or benefits in these jobs. The workers have no or little education. It has been very eye-opening and should be studied. There are plenty of organic farms, but the workers (not owners) get paid minimum wages, or less (because they are given a place to live) . So I have seen modern day slavery, or at least indentured servititude in America and know that labor intensive economies do not result in greater good, nor bring about an equitable society.

    4. optimader

      Bringing in cheap labor from the developing world to work in the industrialized countries is a step backward economically because it encourages businesses to maintain low-productivity practices like using poor immigrant workers to pick crops instead of machinery.

      You make the assumption the “immigrant labor” all wanted (s) to stay in this country?

      Before the government got involved and fkd things up there was , at least in the wine grape vineyards and certain types of fruit a long history of skilled Mexican labor that in a mutually symbiotic relationship, would annually come and harvest crops, get paid, and return home with their earned income that covered them for the year back home –where they wanted to live. They had no intention of being “immigrants” because like most people, they preferred to live where they had roots.

      I was educated on this historical relationship by a fourth generation west coast organic farmer/viticulture professional.

      His great grand parents were Armenian immigrants that punched out during the Russian Revolution and started farming fruit and wine grapesin Cali

    5. Carla

      @Livius, who says, “I don’t want this country to end up like a developing country built on cheap labor, that would be a step backwards.”

      Excusez moi, just what the hell do you think this country was built on?

      I know, it’s very easy for some people to forget about the free labor contributed by SLAVES, indentured servants, and the 50% of the population that were female (chattel). And easy, too, to forget the Chinese immigrants who built the railroads for close to slave wages, and the European immigrants who created and stitched the textiles and some of whom perished in the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire.

      But we built the country.

      Please don’t thank us. Because at this point in time, it would be very difficult for many of us to say “You’re welcome.”

      1. clinical wasteman

        + an unlimited number, thank you Carla!
        I wish someone would hack all media all media in such a way that this precise reminder of who built the world* as we know it would appear at brief random intervals everywhere, interrupting normal dis-service.

        [*Yes, the whole world and not just the US, because: capital accumulation from “triangular” slavery economy–industrial revolution–more colonization, slavery & indenture–unofficial indenture of ‘free labor’–economic looting of the ‘postcolonial” world–Triangle Shirtwaist massacre repeated several times in South Asia just within the last few years. Etc.]

  10. Montanamaven

    I have a different view of the 1970s and the 1980 election than Corey Robin. Best book on the 1970s is “Stayin’ Alive: The 1970s and The Last Days of the Working Class by Jefferson Cowie. It is the decade when the New Deal came to an end. It was the beginning of the Shock Doctrine in the U.S. and it was when the working class lost the class war. I don’t think Reagan ran against special interests first and foremost. He promised the dying working class a chance to be part of something; he conned them into believing in “the ownership society”. And it was made easier for him by the Democrats turning their back on economic freedoms of the New Deal and the Great Society and with Carter embracing Miltie Friedman and neo-liberalism. Carter deregulated trucking and rail and airlines. The Democrats lifted the cap on usury which started the further descent of the working class into debt. I became an adult in the 1970s and was too caught up in trying to pay the rent to pay attention and bought into “saving the world thru art” idea. I hope my millennial friends read this book and see what happened and is still happening. We need all hands on deck and we need to work with people who we don’t necessarily agree with on all issues. We need to alert “the resisters” to the dangers of the intelligence community and the ruthlessness of the 1% in both parties. At least that’s why I come to Naked Capitalism. To gather my bullets and restock my arsenal.

      1. Charger01

        No joke. NC has become my go-to place for challenging the MSM and various economic tropes.

        1. Arizona Slim

          NC provided me with the first laughing spell after my dad died. And I mean I could not stop laughing.

          What was so funny? Yves’s reference to wheeling the blame cannons into position.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I’m not sure any of the great realignment elections as Corey Robin characterized them fit what little I’ve read about those times — or remember in the case of Reagan. I’ll stay with Reagan since I remember the guy [… but I haven’t read the book you refer to].

      “Reagan ran against a complex of ‘special interests’ (civil rights organizations, unions, feminist groups, poverty programs) that had captured the Democratic Party.”

      Hardly matches what I remember. Reagan ran against the stagflation Carter seemed unable to handle. He ran against Carter’s evident lack of control over events like the oil crisis and the Iran hostage crisis and failed Operation Eagle Claw. The “October Surprise” whether an actual conspiracy or not did play a part in the election. Reagan ran against a Carter who appeared unable to handle things. How do civil rights organizations, unions, feminist groups, and poverty programs rate as special interests? Their power had ebbed long before Reagan showed up. Reagan used those groups as a punching bag and convenient scape goat — and this is “repudiating the special interests” in Corey Robin’s words.

      I think the real special interests had already engineered their “realignment” long before Reagan. Reagan served as a reassuring talking head to roll out the wholesale implementation of the special interest new policies and call it “Morning in America.” By Reagan’s time I think the special interests had “realigned” both political parties.

      “…the 2007 Financial Crisis didn’t generate a realignment; the Democratic Party, despite Obama’s rhetoric, wasn’t interested or ready for that. Things certainly were pushed to the left—relative to both Bush and Clinton—but it wasn’t a realignment.”

      Outside of his rhetoric what did Obama do that pushed to the left?

      So yes! We need a “realignment” and we need to find a better analyst and political theorist than Corey Robin.

      1. JTFaraday

        I was fairly young then, but my impression jibes with you re: Reagon ran vs Carter’s perceived ineptitude.

        As an adult, I am also under the impression that the New Left coalition declined in importance in the D-Party with the defeat of McGovern– ie., really quick. I think you also see this “on the other side” of Reagan and Bush, where it is crystal clear that the ascendant faction in the D-Party is the New Democrats who are looking to capture white collar Republicans. And that was the nineties.

        When it became clear that THAT didn’t work, and this most desirable demographic was not running back to them no matter how many times Clinton triangulated, THEN they played the Obama and Hillary cards, appealing to the old New Left coalition in the most superficial way possible. History repeating itself as farce.

        “How do civil rights organizations, unions, feminist groups, and poverty programs rate as special interests? Their power had ebbed long before Reagan showed up. Reagan used those groups as a punching bag and convenient scape goat — and this is “repudiating the special interests” in Corey Robin’s words…

        So yes! We need a “realignment” and we need to find a better analyst and political theorist than Corey Robin.”

        I agree. Good comment.

      2. jrs

        Yes those special interests that had “captured” the Dem party were already losing power in it, at least unions.

        Oddly although unions that are only narrowly representing their trade are a special interest, having someone represent working people is far more in the interest of everyone who works for a living than most of the “special interests” controlling the Fed gov these days. What they call special interests (unions) we call solidarity.

    2. Oregoncharles

      Carter deserved to lose (he appears to agree, and has been trying to make up for it ever since), but Reagan did not deserve to win.

      That’s just how the 2-Party works.

  11. timbers

    Antarctica’s Larsen C ice shelf: new rift detected Deutche Welle

    Q: “Is this due to climate change?”

    A: “Yes. The climate change that we are experiencing and contributing to the lose of ice on Antartica could wipe out huge sections of life on Earth including man.”

    I guess the folks at the UK funded Midas Project would be fired for talking like that. Instead we get this:

    Scientists not unduly worried – yet

    (So, are they DULY worried then?)

    It has the usual back-and-forth about everything that is happening on Antartica is “natural” and can not be attributed precisely to climate change but climate change could be a factor but not a factor in any PARTICULAR event, and it has this gem:

    Take the highest wave in an ocean storm, Hubbard points out; “People ask if the highest wave is caused by climate change. You can’t really say that the highest wave is caused by sea level rise. But the sea level is rising, which means in general the highest wave is always going to be a little bit bigger.”

    Maybe these guys should work for Democrats trying to come up with a catchy slogan for the 2018 elections. BTW I for one have never asked if the “highest wave is caused by climate change” and I don’t know anyone who has asked a question like that on this subject.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I thought I had a handle on the Global Warming until I read an article describing levels of CO2 related to past shifts in climate. I never realized CO2 levels tracked the warming and cooling events … but lagged the changes. The change in CO2 was not the initiating event. I think this is sometimes used as ammunition by the denialists.

      Finding this little detail upsets me. What happens if a few hundred Gigatons of carbon are dug up from the Earth, burned and converted to CO2 in our atmosphere. Given the direct relationship between CO2 and heat accumulation by the Earth the few hundred Gigatons of CO2 dumped into the atmosphere is the initiating event for our present Global Warming event. I don’t know about any “Clathrate Gun” but I think we can expect to see more CO2 added to the mix with past warming events providing a fair initial estimate for how much additional CO2 might be coming from whatever sources added CO2 in past warming events. I also fear the CO2 humans added to this mix might trend things toward the hotter end of warming events and thereby tap a larger amount of CO2 from these sources than in the more recent epochs.

      Like you I am starting to worry about “Don’t worry! Everything is fine — just a little iceberg” talk reported in the news as coming from scientists. I’m not a big StarTrek Second Generation fan but one episode “The Inner Light” affected me deeply.

      “Years pass and Kamin grows old, outliving his wife. Kamin and his daughter Meribor continue their study of the drought. They find that it is not temporary; extinction of all life on the planet is inevitable. Ultimately, Kamin confronts a government official who privately admits to him that the government already knows this but wishes to keep it a secret to avoid a panic.” [Wikipedia]

      I don’t think we’re all Doomed! — but I think things are worse than we’re being told.

        1. blennylips

          I believe the craters are what is left after the gun goes off. The gun being the sudden disassociation of the methane clathrates.

        2. Jeremy Grimm

          I was making a reference of sorts to doomers like Guy McPherson at nature bats last.

          I didn’t chase down your references but Wikipedia:
          “The clathrate gun hypothesis is the popular name given to the hypothesis that increases in sea temperatures (and/or drops in sea levels) can trigger the sudden release of methane from methane clathrate compounds buried in seabeds and that are contained within seabed permafrost which, because methane itself is a powerful greenhouse gas, leads to further temperature rise and further methane clathrate destabilization – in effect initiating a runaway process as irreversible, once started, as the firing of a gun.”

          Not only did we dig up a bunch of long buried Carbon and convert much of it to CO2 we did it at a remarkable rate. Past climate change events tended to be slow moving affairs — although there were a few past events which seem to have occurred in a matter of decades. I don’t believe our rate of adding CO2 to the atmosphere has been matched in the previous 100 million years.

          Positive feedbacks and their impacts can depend on the rate change as well as the amount of change.

  12. justanotherprogressive

    Well, I tried reading to the end of that NYT article on Scaramucci, but the lyrics to Bohemian Rhapsody just kept running around in my head…..

    “Is this real life? Is this just fantasy….”

    1. justanotherprogressive

      Err….LA Times…..who can tell the difference between these media outlets any more….

      1. optimader

        Scaramanga: This is the part I really like.

        [Scaramanga destroys Bond’s sea plane with a solar-powered weapon]

        Scaramanga: Now that’s what I call solar power.

        James Bond: That’s what I call trouble.

      2. Jeremy Grimm

        “Scaramouche is the name of a suite by the French composer Darius Milhaud for saxophone and cabaret orchestra (also in an arrangement for two pianos). Milhaud first composed the piece for theatre.” [I especially like the two piano version — often played on an NPR station I listened to in the 80s.]

        “…stock clown character of the Italian commedia dell’arte”

        — Wikipedia

      3. Annotherone

        Yes – I remembered that film too, “Scaramouche” – and its star, Stewart Granger. The 3-part novel by Rafael Sabatini, from which I see the film was adapted, opens with ” the memorable line: “He was born with a gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad.” ”
        Got to love that opening line!

    2. Katniss Everdeen

      For all the fun with his name, it seems Scaramucci’s reputation (a la 3 fired at cnn) may have preceded him.

      The “press pool” seemed to treat him with a deference they never accorded Spicer. The post mortem on the
      press conference from the talking heads involved much “too cool for school” and “slick” commentary. They seemed to console themselves, tentatively, with discussions about how cool he could be when the “hard” questions start. To my ear, they appeared nonplussed that he would be appearing on “the Sunday shows,” pushing back on their sloppily….er….carefully constructed narratives.

      We’ll have to see, but Trump may finally have found the talker he’s been looking for.

      1. Annotherone

        Yes, I agree! I’ve been reading around this afternoon to try to get some idea of what kind of guy Scaramucci is (for a blog post of my own). I’m tentatively optimistic about him. He has indicated in some past Tweets that he’s pro-gay marriage, gun control, and is not a climate change denier. No wonder Bannon and Priebus don’t want him on their team! He’s an attractive guy, with what’s said to be a charismatic, charming personality. No doubt he’s as slick as the next 2nd hand car salesman but – hey, that goes with the territory. I look forward to watching what happens.

        1. optimader

          I don’t know much about him and am not prepared to spend much time on it, My high level perhaps inaccurate take away is that he has been a successful bullshitter from the financial sector. Not to my taste, but I guess that doesn’t matter.
          We will see how successfully he morphs into Chief Propagandist.

    3. ewmayer

      Note that had Queen used the original Italian version of the name instead of the Frenchified one, you would in fact have an exact match for the new WHPS:

      scaramouch |ˈskarəˌmoō sh; -ˌmoō ch |
      noun archaic
      a boastful but cowardly person.
      ORIGIN mid 17th cent.: from Italian Scaramuccia, the name of a stock character in Italian farce, from scaramuccia ‘skirmish,’ ultimately from the same Germanic base as skirmish .

  13. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    American Living Efficiency.

    Broad Measure of U.S. Manufacturing Efficiency Confirms Downtrend Bloomberg

    I can only speak for myself, but one pair of shoes in 5 years is more efficient living than 3 pairs in a year (fashionably voluntary, or involuntary).

    Or 1 trans-Atlantic pleasure trip every 10 years is more efficient joy of living than 2 in 5 years, for example.

    So, that’s one stat I would like to see the government track.

    1. Arizona Slim

      I am reading your comment while wearing a pair of Saucony shoes that sprang a toe leak in only six months. Crapification.

    2. cnchal

      Well Beef, what exactly are they explaining here?

      From the Bloomberg article:

      Total factor productivity – a measure of efficiency that compares firms’ output to the combined inputs of labor, capital, and the intermediate purchases used to produce those goods and services – rose in just 21 of 86 manufacturing industries tracked by the Labor Department in 2015 from the previous year. That was the fewest since 2009 and compared with twice as many a year earlier, according to an agency report released Thursday.

      That agency report “Multifactor Productivity trends for Detailed Industries – 2015” by the BLS has this on page 8

      Multifactor Productivity:

      Multifactor productivity measures are derived by dividing an index of real industry output by an index of the combined inputs of labor, capital, and intermediate purchases. The multifactor productivity indexes do not measure the specific contributions of capital, labor, and intermediate inputs. Rather, they reflect the joint influences on economic growth of a number of factors that are not specifically accounted for on the input side, including technological change, returns to scale, improved skills of the workforce, better management techniques, or other efficiency improvements.

      From Bloomberg:

      Unlike the government’s quarterly figures on output per unit of labor, the data account for changes in less easily measurable factors that could impact performance such as technological or organizational improvement, and are more “indicative of innovation,” according to Brian Chansky, an economist in the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ productivity division.
      . . .
      Among the 12 largest manufacturing industries surveyed – those with employment over 300,000 – productivity increased in just three in 2015. In the semiconductors and electronic components industry, output rose 3.3 percent, outpacing a 2.6 percent increase in costs. Machine shops and threaded-product makers saw the largest drop in efficiency, as flat input costs failed to offset a 4.9 percent slump in output.

      Confused? Are we measuring productivity or efficiency or are they the same thing?

      Who to lay the blame on for the machine shop debacle? Did labor get creative and apply fine feedrates to the machines to stretch time, or was management lazy and didn’t look for work? Were a bunch of CNC machines repossessed and they had go back to cranking handles? We will never know because the BLS does not measure the specific contributions of capital, labor and intermediate inputs to come up with total factor productivity.

      The BLS is innovative even though the machine shops are losing their touch. On page 1 is this warning:

      A methodology change has been implemented with the release of these data. BLS has updated the way intrasectoral transactions are estimated. More information about these changes can be found at

      What’s this?

      Improved method for estimating production of manufacturing industries consumed by non-manufacturing industries.

      To develop estimates of intra-industry production for years between the Economic Censuses, BLS must make assumptions about the relationship between production in manufacturing and non-manufacturing industries and the consumption of intermediate goods. Previous estimates were based on the assumption that the output of manufacturing industries consumed within the sector was proportional to the total consumption of manufacturing industries. New research indicates that it is more appropriate to assume that the output of manufacturing industries consumed within the sector is proportional to the total output produced by manufacturing industries. This new method more accurately reflects changes in intra-industry transfers for the purpose of estimating sectoral output.

      Perhaps the real problem with the machine shops is they were inspired by the BLS flexible measurement system and started measuring with rubber mikes and calipers.

  14. rjs

    re: “The Medicaid “cap” is key, and win or lose, is now part of the “conversation,” since Democrats aren’t fighting it.”

    this is, in effect, a cap on the number of us who will be allowed to grow old…as boomers age, they will exhaust their savings and eventually have to turn to programs such as Medicaid….hence, the Obamacare Medicaid expansion would increasingly mean an even larger transfer of wealth to the poor and middle class…and that’s why the elites want it capped, to limit that transfer of resources to the rest of us…that means some of us will die before our time…

    1. Katniss Everdeen

      While this may not be a popular position, I think one has to resist going all hyperbolic in defense of Medicaid or denunciation of “caps” as a death sentence.

      Despite scattered stories of the miracles of Medicaid, it’s a shitty program that provides generally shitty “care,” when a provider who takes it can even be found. One of its biggest benefits, if not the biggest one, is that it allows those who want to preserve the current status quo to count Medicaid recipients as “insured,” a designation that legitimizes the current unsustainable medical “insurance” system. There’s no one with a private insurance policy that would willingly trade what they have for Medicaid.

      obamacare was essentially about expanding Medicaid, in a cynically patronizing elitist acknowledgement that you can’t continue to exclude growing numbers of regular “folks” from an increasingly exclusive system without risking the very existence of that system.

      Fighting to keep Medicaid intact or expand it is scrapping for crumbs. It’s the very existence of a separate, third-rate “healthcare” system that’s the death sentence, not budgetary caps. In the long run, no one benefits from accepting the premise that separate but unequal, “merit”-based “healthcare” systems are the goal, and tenaciously attempting to maintain such a system is a tremendously misguided waste of energy and time.

      1. ambrit

        Our recent experiences with Medicaid here in Mississippi, which State has not elected, (hah, what a misuse of a word,) to expand the program are decidedly depressive.
        All the bloviation about Medicaid is a smoke screen to obscure the really worthy “reform” needed; Single Payer National Health.
        Our experience is that, yes, one can exclude greater numbers of “folks” from the ‘decent’ health care system with little risk. Why? Well, those directly facing the “Conform or Die” medigap are generally too ill, frightened, and poorly informed to make reasoned decisions. We find no advocacy groups of any stature available for the dys-financed. Most, such as AARP, have become selling organs for established rent extraction organizations. Once one becomes “without funds,” one falls off of said groups’ radars. Nothing left to extract equals “go die” time to these paragons of Neo-Liberal economics.
        Someone once wrote that the test of the fitness of a social system was how well it treated its’ weakest members. America is failing that test.

        1. Carla

          A lot of the bloviation about Medicaid is to keep the professionals (nurses, social workers, doctors, etc.) and administrators who staff nursing homes EMPLOYED. They’re fighting like mad to keep their well-paying jobs, and they’re organizing “demonstrations” dragging their geriatric patients in wheelchairs out into the streets to win the sympathy of the public.

          1. rjs

            are you suggesting that those who care for the geriatric patients in wheelchairs should be fired, and leave the geriatric patients to fend for themselves?

            full disclosure: my 95 year old father and 93 year old mother are in such a facility. my mother is the one in the wheelchair. my father still manages to get around with a walker.

  15. Louis Fyne

    elements on the left and right should be coming together to fight the ECB-QE-subsidized Monsanto buyout. there are lots of good left-wing and right-wing reasons to stop it

    not holding my breath though.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Can you still legally boycott if their manufacturing is moved to ,say, Bethlehem?

        1. ambrit

          A boycott, by definition and usage, is always illegal.
          Now, say, if we were to boycott the religion that claims Bethlehem as its’ founders birthplace…

  16. Bite the dust?

    Would recommend paying more attention to what is happening in Venezuela right now. Consider the below and you get the vehement anti-Maduro stance in Western MSM.
    1) Venezeula has the world’s largest proven oil reserve
    2) Venezuela has consistently tried to transfer power and wealth from foreign run agents and local oligarchs to the people.
    3) Also includes indigenous people in the democracy and society.

    The article is worth checking out as a resume of the dynamics

    Could well be a new Syria, Libya, Ukraine with government change.

    1. mysterio

      Agree 100%. I’d be very interested in discovering how, in particular, our government is involved in regime change in Venezuela.

    2. different clue

      That so-called “oil” reserve is really a tar sands reserve . . . along the Orinoco River. It is Tar Sand just like the Alberta Tar Sand. And bringing the Venezuela Tar Sand to market would be Game Over for the climate just as much as bringing all the Alberta Tar Sand to market would be Game Over for the climate . . . as James Hansen put it.

      So who would gain from installing a Tar Sand regime into power in Venezuela? Only the Merchants of Tar Sand.

  17. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Let’s be clear: China would call America’s bluff in the South China Sea Lowy Institute

    They could easily frame this as the new (the third) Opium War…or the Klingons going beyond the Neutral Zone.

  18. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Postal Service broke law in pushing time off for workers to campaign for Clinton, investigation finds WaPo. Nice work, Hillz.

    1. Just for Hillary, or for other Democrats?

    2. They also happened to handle Voting-by-Mail?

  19. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Meet Your New Landlord: Wall Street WSJ

    I thought they were simply our overlords…sea lords, air lords, land lords, food lords, space lords, etc.

    What is new here? What’s the news? That we get to ‘meet’ them? Where? And when?

  20. flora

    re: Trump Orders Extensive Study of Defense Industrial Base – Defense One

    Good. This is something I’ve called my various reps about for a few years now. Take, for example, the refinement of rare earths into lithium (not that rare but dirty to refine). For several years China had become the near sole supplier and used its monopoly to bully Japan when Japan and China got into a manufacturing/trade dispute. Lithium is used in all advanced communication/guidance systems, including military systems. Lithium is just one of the material/device/components.

    Glad to see Trump taking this long overdue action.

    1. flora

      adding: If TiSA was passed would multi-nationals be able to block a govt demand that a factory be re-located for national defense purposes? Would they be able to sue and win damages against the govt for the demand? (How many divisions do multi-nationals command?)

      1. Christopher Fay

        Yes, and the multi-national will be paid to build the new factory for national security purposes.

    2. flora

      I also think this ties in with
      Let’s be clear: China would call America’s bluff in the South China Sea – Lowy Institute

      Thanks for that link.

    3. Jeremy Grimm

      Roughly the same time as China’s attempted corner on rare earth metals and pressures on Japanese computer display manufacturers the U.S. Senate Arms Services Committee reviewed the DoD supply chains. Around that same time counterfeit parts also became an issue for DoD as well.

      I recall reading about a problem with Cisco Routers. Cisco routers are the backbone of DoD networking but the costs and impacts of trying to keep up with Cisco changes to its product line and software created a premium on old Cisco routers no longer in production. A purchase of older model Cisco routers — tracked back to a vendor in China — turned out to be counterfeits. Some of these counterfeit routers were found in Navy networks and FBI networks. Nothing nefarious beyond an effort to make a profit on Cisco Intellectual Property was discovered — or at least was reported. But the finding created some discomfort.

      While Trump is looking into the DoD supply chain he might want to take a look at the supply chains for our domestic industries — those such as remain.

      And whatever happened to the big push to make DoD “auditable” by 2017 or face funding cuts? A lot of $$$$$ went into hopping on-board the SAP bandwagon.

    4. optimader

      Lithium is not a rare earth, it’s an alkaline metal

      For several years China had become the near sole supplier
      No, china is actually the high cost producer. IIRC Albemarle presently has something north of 80% of the lithium market.—markets/lithium-and-advanced-materials-2330.html

      Some may remember Albemarle by it’s original name, Ethyl Corp :oO

        1. optimader

          To be clear flora,
          Li has nothing to do with rare earth elements REE, and there has never been a strategic issue related to the supply of Li, no less vis a vie China. There is future peak Li production speculation, but again this has nothing to do with China or REE.

          On the subject of REE, I greatly appreciate and prefer that China continues to produce REE because it has a large toxic foot print that I prefer be someplace else. Some years back there was a kerfuffle between China and Japan as a consequence of a Chinese fishing boat being detained but it abated quickly as China wants the commerce and wants to be considered a reliable supplier.

          Strategic stockpile of REE do exist ex-China, and in the event it becomes a necessity (and/or prices justify the exercise), other mining/refining locations worldwide will reopen, Mountain Pass CA being one of them.

          Other than the refining of already existing mine tailings in this country, be careful for what you wish for when it comes to REE mining and refining.

          1. flora

            Then if I re-write my statement this way:
            “Take, for example, the refinement of rare earths into lithium (not that rare but dirty to refine). ”
            It would be correct.
            And my point still stands.

            1. Optimader

              And of course the sidebar irony that seems often to be lost is where the well intentioned “clean energy” missionaries decide to draw the control volume circle around what constitutes environmental pollution.

              Short of photosynthesis, energy production is not a clean exercise

        2. Odysseus

          Lithium in particular has hard caps on how high the price will go. At less than 10x current market price, it would become cost effective to simply extract it from seawater. At that point, monopoly supplier concerns vanish.

          There would be economic damage, sure, but it’s not insurmountable. The market as it exists today is not the market we would have if we really needed large amounts of Li.

  21. Andrew Watts

    RE: America Had Already Lost Its Covert War in Syria—Now It’s Official

    When an empire is repeatedly forced to concede to reality it is a sign of it’s inevitable collapse.

    There are some longshot solutions that can be tried in the meantime, including a Hail Mary play by Ahrar al-Sham to expel the Nusra Front from northern Idlib and establish a Turkish-sponsored, internationally tolerable safe zone. These probably won’t work, and opposition backers should not plan on the basis that they’ll work.

    This was attempted by Ahrar al-Sham already and the effort failed over the last two days. They were decisively defeated and were forced to concede several towns. Including a border crossing which it derived a significant amount of revenue from. Several of their fighters simply decided to defect or they fled during the short-lived fighting. Al Qaeda will probably consolidate control over Idlib province as a result.

    1. Craig H.

      When I do a google image search on Syria war map there are not two maps that look alike and very few that closely resemble one another. Does anyone know of anything resembling an authentic independent version?

      1. timbers

        MoonOfAlabama posts maps of Syria showing who controls what, periodically. Of course they change. He recently did 2 maps showing the dramatic progress Syria & Russia have made in a years time against US/Saudi/Israeli funded terrorists.

      2. HBE

        I would say Moon of Alabama, and Pat Lang are probably your best bet at getting something containing passable on the ground accuracy.

        Syria is however a mess of disparate, proxy islamists funded by the US and the GCC states so concrete delineated front lines (a la WW2) don’t really exist.

      3. Andrew Watts

        I prefer the folks at Syrian Civil War map (@CivilWarMap) for a few reasons. They usually update daily based upon reliable reports and are quick to fess up when they’ve screwed something up.


        There are other reliable mapmakers on Twitter. Peto Lucem (@PetoLucem) comes to mind and Agathocle deSyracuse (@deSyracuse). All names with @ are Twitter handles.

  22. Montanamaven

    Last night on Tucker Carlson Tonight, Reihan Salam, a conservative, discusses why some sort of single payer system should be tried. Instead of ideological talking points from either Salam or Carlson, we had a curious Carlson asking probing questions. Head explodes.
    Conservatives discuss single payer

  23. Jess

    Regarding surrendering land to sea level rise in Miami:

    How about we accept the fact that we will surrender Florida to sea level rise? Puerto Rico will become the 50th state as what’s left of Florida becomes the Georgia Keys.

    And get ready for Texas to lose about 1/4 of its land, with Houston becoming a tourist destination for people in glass bottom boats. And the new New Orleans will be Pine Bluff, Ark.

    (See Nat Geo website for maps showing all of the above.)

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      Farewell to all those hazy college memories of taking the streetcar up St. Charles to the Camellia Grill at 2am.

  24. oh

    A train that proclaims China’s global ambition – FT

    The author writes:
    “And India will not be easily pushed aside as China cuts a swath through Eurasia.”

    Really? Let’s face it, India’s no match for China’s economic and military power. India would be foolish to tangle with China.

    1. Louis Fyne

      India has more in common with China…both long established civilizations who were until relatively recently on the receiving end of western imperialism that need to rapidly develop…than India has with the west

    2. Mark P.

      Let’s face it, India’s no match for China’s economic and military power. India would be foolish to tangle with China.

      India is no match for China economically. But its military is massive and over the decades the country has invested disproportionately in rocketry — India is, after Russia, an increasing player in the global civil launch industry — and weapons development in general.

      Now, arguably, it’s insane for a country that’s so large and poor to invest as heavily in military spending as India has. But the result is that the largest, poorest country in the world has the most advanced military kit in certain respects.

      India has had for the last decade, forex, a couple of really nasty items in the nuclear cruise missile/scramjet line that are more advanced than either the U.S. or Russia possesses. It has a more advanced aircraft carrier than the Chinese have and some more advanced nuclear sub technology — it bought the 1990s-era Russian Akula-class hunter-killer design and refurbished it as the Chakra.

      As I say, it’s arguably insane. But there it is.

      1. Oregoncharles

        India has lost at least one border war with China, and always has to worry about Pakistan. Plus, of course, high-tech military development overflows into civilian goods.

        War is always insane, but India’s policies make more sense than you think.

        1. Mark P.

          War is always insane, but India’s policies make more sense than you think.

          Oh, I understand the reasons well enough and Pakistan — and its nuclear stance — is particularly crazy-making to contemplate from half a world away, let alone if you’re next door in India. It’s regrettable, nevertheless.

  25. BDBlue

    Not a DSA member, but stumbled across this in R.L.Stephens twitter feed and, IMO, it’s kind of impressive in terms of its focus on organizing. I’m sure it’s not the only one that is (I have also heard good things about DSA momentum, but I’m hardly an expert on internal DSA politics). I think it’s a good sign that some of the potential leadership of one of the faster growing left organizations is thinking about how to build its organizing capacity. It’s such a relief after reading so much focus on one-off elections and marches.

    Are any NC readers going to the DSA convention? IIRC, it starts August 3.

    1. HBE

      I went to two DSA meetings locally as it amounted to the closest existing local org matching my views.

      I was disgusted (not being dramatic) on both occasions, largely retirees which is great they have the time, the problem is they had absolutely zero desire to reach the young (you know actual labor), and meetings were largely focused on how they could help elect preferred local democrats. This is also the goal of the national DSA org as well (supporting slightly left dems, which Our Revolution already does).

      DSA locally and nationally might as well be called democrats lite, and are less organized than the greens. They will not be the source of an effective third party.

  26. ambrit

    Be still my racing heart. The commodious cast and crew of the Duffel Blog are to be feted royally for their salutary exegesis of Jane Austen explicating the divers moods and fancies of our meritorious military.
    Sententiousness is not sensible nor sustainable. A Manual of Style is implicit in a Manual of Arms.

  27. LT

    Re: Blue Dogs

    Win or lose, the investment in the return of the Blue Dogs serves the DCCC and donors purpose of sucking all the air out of the room (so to speak). Think of it as more of a ploy to take up media space and control the terms of the debate. Win or lose, the backers of these candidates still come out ahead economically.

  28. craazyboy

    Elon Musk is secretly working on a Spatial Time Travel Ship!

    I had to just blurt out this news because of it’s importance to Humanity – and signal the Singularity we have all been expecting for years now. (Wingnuts will claim Elon is really Jesus Christ returning, again, Elvis being the last one, but they are full o’ crap Wingnuts, after all.)

    There are no women. They are all with Hillary, over there.

    21st Century Schizoid Men Ex Pats from Budget Cut State Funded Medicare Asylums are feverishly on the case. They state that they can see these events, leading up to the inevitable Event Horizon, and the Multiverse is Windowing, Cascading, occasionally tiling, timelines are crashing, then, finally windows zoom in and out, spiraling out of control into Kaos. Chief, the head Schizoid, claims he sees Dune Navigators taking charge, advised by Mentats, all lead by the Resistance Fighter, Paul Atreides.

    The Imperial Galactic Resource has taken notice, mobilized, and invoked wartime treaty privileges with the Dalic Universal Controllers. Already, Dalics have swarmed and cut anti-grav units, diving into our atmosphere and deep below the Great Barrier Reef, They have beheaded the entire Australian government, quietly, without screaming. Sympathetic Crustaceans have agreed to Jihad and are building large island structures, with calcium based radio antennas which can jam our communications and keep contact with the Dalic CEO, aggressively leading the Peace Keeping Force from behind.

    The Stage One Extermination Plan is to capture our Industrial MMT Infrastructure, and preventing Humans from obtaining a Job Planning Job, and especially a BIG.

    To this end, they have vaporized Steve Keen’s Australian Double. The real Steve Keen is in hiding in the Ecuador Embassy in London. Next, they are taking over all Ivy League Economics and Woodworking Schools and re-writing MMT (slightly) in their Image.

    As you can imagine, this is the beginning of the Greatest SyFy Media Event Of All Time! It certainly is of Epic proportions, drawing all others, even made up stuff, like Trump is a Russian Sleeper Agent, and other greats like Dune, Star Wars, and Star Trek.

    I hope to continue coverage of this, but it’s dangerous, and if found out, I may find myself, and city block, vaporized from Outer Space.

    Keep your fingers crossed and wish me luck!

    1. HotFlash

      Craazyboy, please stay safe as you venture where no man um, human er person unh creature um, thing has ventured before.

  29. JCC

    Thanks for Jane Austin’s version of the obligatory Safety Brief. As someone who spent a few years in various Army Companies whose members were occasionally accused of blemishing themselves and sullying their names, the reminder of the mandatory and (it always seemed) overly long and mostly worthless Brief was appreciated.

    Occasionally the Duffle Blog puts out a real winner.

      1. barefoot charley

        And lest we forget, thanks for Jane Austen! Her fans will really enjoy the TLS piece, and her detractors (I didn’t know there were any) will too. A fine read on great reads.

  30. Michael

    “”The subpoena was served by email Friday afternoon.”” (trump Jr story)

    No place to run, no place to hide.

    So is texting also OK? How about FB messenger, Snapchat,or screaming loudly from atop a high building?

      1. Tom_Doak

        “I thought it might be a Russian hacker trying to access my information, so I deleted it”

    1. petal

      That’s great, but District 9(Bridgewater/Bristol) is very far away from the part that tends to make Grafton County blue(the Hanover area w/very active D voters). We’ll see how he does up against the R and L-meaning I’ll believe it when I see it.

    2. Jen

      Voters want candidates who will represent them. Josh Adjutant (the winner in NH district 9) lost the 2016 race by a handful of votes to a republican who never showed up for a single vote in Concord and then resigned. Josh worked his tail off in that election and this one. He won this primary by going door to door, and meeting the people in his district, be they democrat, republican or independent.

      The “democrat” in this primary was actually a free stater.

  31. a different chris

    OMG this will be a perfect epitaph for America

    >“It’s hard to explain simply why and how it works,” said Lun, who grew up in Melbourne and named his firm after the rare gemstone taaffeite found in Australia. “But we are on target with our fundraising.

  32. optimader

    A train that proclaims China’s global ambition FT
    FT just catching up on this?? And they want ppl to pay for their flash telegraph breaking news! bwahhhHA

    Sidebar: I’ll be interested if the annualized rail maintenance budget divided into the tons of cargo is ever published

  33. Mike

    Re: How Kaczynski Is Driving Poland Away from Europe(Der Spiegel)

    Very interesting passage in this article:

    Judicial reform is only one aspect of Kaczynski’s plans to overhaul Poland. He has long entertained ideas of a “Fourth Republic,” a strict but caring state replacing the “Third Republic,” as post-communist Poland is often called. Parliamentarians with the liberal opposition fear that the government will continue eroding Polish democracy and that a compliant judiciary could start to challenge unwelcome election results. There are indications that the PiS party is planning to revamp electoral regulations so that it is guaranteed victory for years to come. Urban constituencies, where the party tends to perform poorly, could be redrawn to include more rural areas, thereby redistributing its majorities.

    Sound familiar to anyone on this side of the neo-liberal pond?

  34. Burritonomics

    Re: 538 and “If Hillary Clinton Had Won”

    Nate Silver pens DNC fan fiction. Seriously, is the cognitive dissonance in 10% land still so severe this sells the summer after?

    1. Arizona Slim

      If my Facebook feed is any indication, the answer to your question is yes.

      Yet another reason why I am weaning myself from FB.

      1. Wombat

        Cold turkey quitting the way to go. Three years for me and not a single drink of unwanted tracking and contribution to meaningless digital interaction. Thank goodness for the multiple beers and a news feed barrage of dinner plate photos, baby photos, and MSM articles that pushed me over the edge to press delete that joyful night. Never looked back. Do it!

  35. Oregoncharles

    “Let’s be clear: China would call America’s bluff in the South China Sea Lowy Institute”
    This seems like a pointless discussion. The issue the US is (theoretically) concerned about is freedom of navigation; all it has to do is keep sailing its warships close enough to the islands to make China complain. It’s a standoff, because that’s all the Chinese will do, because nukes, but it maintains the principle.

    The situation is thoroughly uncomfortable, but that’s partly because China is being imperialist. Maybe it takes another imperial power to constrain them. They already lost an international court case over their claims, and denounced it. But that means the US, or whoever dares, has grounds to keep challenging their claims.

    1. flora

      +1. Will China adhere to the norms established by the international maritime court, or will China show itself to be merely a rogue entity if it suits its purpose?

      1. Oregoncharles

        China goes its own way, always.

        It’s possible India will get involved, on the same basis. They’re at least neighbors. A post above says their military is more formidable than you’d expect – or than it should be.

  36. ewmayer

    o Headline typo correction: “Orphan Diseases Or Population Health? Policy Choices Greed for Patient-Gouge-Based Windfall Profits Drive Venture Capital Investments” — You’re welcome, Health Affairs.

    o “Hard Questions for a Company at the Center of the Opioid Crisis | Gretchen Morgenson, NYT” — If said questions are not being asked under oath in the context of a massive class-action lawsuit or a federal prosecution, they’re not “hard enough”.

    o “How Class in China Became Politically Incorrect | LARB” — Hewing to the elite-looter playbook: The more crucial and direly out-of-whack economic-inequality trend X becomes, the more taboo it becomes to discuss it, and according to, the propaganda media.

  37. Oregoncharles

    “We have the opportunity for a realignment. We don’t have a party to do it. Yet. Corey Robin”

    Neither the article nor the comments inspire optimism. This is getting scary.

    1. Oregoncharles

      “Along with many Democrats who want a third party vote ….”
      And 76% of unaffiliateds, the plurality. I wish we’d seen that last year…
      I’m dubious, but thanks for posting it.

  38. Grebo

    I saw a hummingbird dancing with a butterfly in the middle of the road today. There was something lying in the road underneath them too, but I was going too fast to see what it was and there was a car behind me so I couldn’t stop to look.

  39. mysterio

    The Al Gore piece mentioned that about 1/3 of americans and 1/3 of registered dems support single payer, according to a Pew poll. These numbers seem very low to me, compared with other polls I’ve seen. Anybody have some insight as to how much support single payer has?

  40. Procopius

    I’m so old I remember when exposing SIGINT was a big deal…

    Me too. In fact, given that this source, if real, would be as valuable as breaking the Japanese diplomatic code or the ENIGMA machine. The knowledge that we had broken the Japanese diplomatic code was considered so valuable that the people who knew about it refused to warn the commander of Pearl Harbor rather than let out even a hint that they had done so. Yet we don’t hear anything from either party. Makes me think that either (a) the story is phony (my preferred explanation) or (b) the asset was already blown and the Russians have already taken effective countermeasures. I doubt (b), because the spooks never acknowledge past successful exploits, preferring to leave their adversaries with lingering doubts.

Comments are closed.