2:00PM Water Cooler 8/2/2017

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Trade

“President Donald Trump will soon call on U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer to open an investigation against China under Section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974 for violations of U.S. intellectual property rights and forced technology transfers, two administration officials told Politico” [Politico]. “The action would give Lighthizer a leading role in a lengthy investigation that could peer into all aspects of Chinese industrial policies and potentially result in unilateral U.S. trade sanctions…. Frustration that China is not doing more to persuade North Korea to rein in its nuclear program seems to be motivating the administration to fire a shot across the bow on the trade front.”

Politics

2020

“Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton and Ohio Rep. Tim Ryan will join Illinois Rep. Cheri Bustos as the headliners of the annual Polk County Steak Fry of the Iowa Democratic Party in September, multiple Democrats familiar with the arrangement confirmed” [Politico]. “While roughly three dozen Democrats have been included in conversations about who might challenge Trump in three years, Bustos, 55, is not one of them. The third-term lawmaker — the Heartland Engagement chair for House Democrats’ campaign wing and co-chair of House Democrats’ Policy and Communications Committee — represents a district bordering Iowa.” “Heartland Engagement.” Please kill me now.

2018

“In a party desperate for victories, Democratic candidates are finding the most success in little-noticed state legislative races. They’ve already won four seats previously under Republican control, some of them in battleground districts that split evenly between President Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton” [McClatchy]. “Democrats have vowed to pay more attention to state legislative races after losing hundreds of those seats during President Obama’s tenure. There are signs the party is doing just that six months into Trump’s presidency: The National Democratic Redistricting Committee, a high-profile group with the support of former President Barack Obama and former Attorney General Eric Holder, raised more than $10 million in the second fundraising quarter.” The article, of course, has nothing to say about policy.

“A new working paper by the Emory University political scientists B. Pablo Montagnes, Zachary Peskowitz and Joshua McCrain argues that people who identify as Republican may stop doing so if they disapprove of Trump, creating a false stability in his partisan approval numbers even as the absolute number of people approving him shrinks. Gallup data supports this idea, showing a four-percentage-point decline in G.O.P. identification since the 2016 election that is mirrored in other polling, though to a lesser extent” [New York Times].

Health Care

“Watch The Shocking Moment John McCain Killed The Republican Health Care Bill” [Buzzfeed]. A timeline of the Senate vote in short video clips, showing group dynamics in the World’s Greatest Deliberative Body. Fascinating, and in a more than “count the medals on the guys in furry hats watching the parade in Red Square”-way, since group dynamics are at play most everywhere (even at DSA conventions…).

“Senator announces bipartisan health care hearing on Obamacare” [CNN]. That’s nice. Will they censor single payer advocates, as usual?

UPDATE “[SANDERS:] The American people are familiar with Medicare. By and large, it’s quite a popular program. But it starts, now, if you are 65 years of age. God didn’t create 65 years of age for being the eligibility rate. It should be available to every single person in this country” [NPR]. NPR: “[INSKEEP:] When you talk about single payer, are you conscious of the risk to such a huge part of the economy, that any change like this carries with it significant risks?” Inskeep’s gatekeeping aside, the details really do need to be sweated. Will they be? And we have two bills: HR676 and whatever bill Sanders introduces. Why?

UPDATE “Money Pours In for Sanders’s New Medicare for All Digital Campaign” [Common Dreams]. “Sanders’s Medicare for All digital campaign will include ads on Facebook and Google and is planned to last through the Senate’s August recess. When lawmakers reconvene after Labor Day, the senator plans to bring his proposal to the Senate floor for debate.”

UPDATE “On Monday night, Sanders sent a message to his supporters asking for ideas on how to shape his Medicare-for-all plan. Within 24 hours, the email had generated 19,000 responses and raised $65,000, [Sanders spokesperson] Miller-Lewis said” [Guardian]. Hmm. 65000/19000 = 3.42. That’s a bit short of $27 (and when we can get policy donations into double digits, that will be a great thing). To be fair (really), I don’t know the structure of the fundraiser: $3.00 is (IIRC) the usual ask from those who have never contributed. If the response was from first-timers, not so bad.

UPDATE “Sanders: I’m ‘absolutely’ introducing single-payer healthcare bill” [The Hill]. I don’t mind delay if its strategic: “‘Of course we are, we’re tweaking the final points of the bill and we’re figuring out how we can mount a national campaign to bring people together,’ Sanders told Jake Tapper on CNN’s State of the Union.”

Trump Transition

Lambert here: Do notice how the “ZOMG!!!! Chaos!!!!!!!!!!” narrative does two things very successfully: (1) Deflect attention from — I’m looking for a word like “victory” or “accomplishment” that doesn’t connote success — plays actually executed by the administration (see below), and (2) Deflect attention from Democrat complicity in these plays. Now, I know the Chaos Narrative is fun, and above all easy — hence the focus on it by our depleted “news” rooms — but it’s essentially a variant of Eric Bern’s party game, “Ain’t It Awful.”

“With fifth judge confirmed, Trump outpaces Obama and Bush” [Washington Times]. “‘The Trump administration has moved faster on filling judicial vacancies compared to the past administrations, thanks to its commitment to working with and extensively consulting all senators, regardless of political affiliation, to select high-caliber nominees,’ said Kelly Love, a White House spokesperson.” Another way of saying this is that both party establishments are fine with a conservative judiciary, despite virtue signaling in Supreme Court fights.

“Shortly after confirming Wray, the Senate approved Kevin Newsom to a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit by a 66-31 vote… Newsom cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee 18-2 earlier this month, despite questions from Democrats about his comments calling Roe v. Wade the ‘most infamous’ of the Supreme Court’s privacy decisions and connecting it to Dred Scott” [Courthouse News]. 18-2. So when you hear liberal Democrats yammering about Roe v. Wade, remember that 18-2; the 31 nays were obviously revolving hero(es)(ines). (Let me toss a bomb here and say that my own personal view is the entire Roe v Wade fracas needs to be rethought, and if Planned Parenthood, as a institution, is in the way of #MedicareForAll, it’s time to heave PP over the side as a political player, based on performance. (Contrast the success of gay marriage, a social change just as seismic as abortion rights.) Universal concrete material benefits like a Jobs Guarantee and a checking account at a Post Office bank would do more for women than a PP clinic on every street corner. Oh, and a reliance on the courts to make social policy fits very neatly with 10%-er worship of the authority that comes from credentials. Eh?

“Here’s a contrarian thought: President Trump had the right instinct to insist that China help resolve the nightmare problem of North Korea. A peaceful solution is impossible without help from the other great power in East Asia” [David Ignatius, RealClearPolitics]. So, the intelligence community, whose water Ignatius carries, gives Trump the thumbs-up. That was fast.

Realignment and Legitimacy

A fine rant with a real sting in the tail: “When Trump goes, his strain will go with him. All his Periscope hucksters and brain pill salesmen — the Mike Cernoviches, the Scott Adamses — will atrophy, shilling for YouTube followers among the few Proud Boys whose sperm backlog hasn’t yet caused them to explode. The smart ones will cash out as lifestyle gurus, Gorilla-Mindset men who might not MAGA anymore but who know the real America to Make Great Again was inside you all along. The rest will find their peace in middle management. They were always Subaru dealers in their hearts” [The Outline]. This is fun stuff, but here’s the kicker: “When they’re gone, the ghouls will come back. You know them. The Bill Kristols and the David Frums, the John McCains and Lindsey Grahams. The respectable men and principled heroes…. When the ghouls return, when they retake their position at helm of American reaction and declare the last decade to have been an embarrassing mistake we should all just forget about, I am worried that the American left — already in a position more precarious than it cares to admit — will find itself in a fight far more difficult than the one it faces right now. The fracture that exists right now between the whole of the right and the center-left will collapse: Nobody will welcome the ghouls back faster than our liberals.” Gridlock is our friend.

“Sen. Elizabeth Warren pressed Fed Chair Janet Yellen on July 13 to remove all of the Wells Fargo’s directors who were on board during its fake accounts scandal revealed last year” [CNBC]. Surely some criminal charges would be a propos? Clearly, Wells Fargo is a criminogenic environment, from top to bottom.

Stats Watch

ADP Employment Report, July 2017: “ADP sees the private payroll reading in Friday’s employment report coming in at 178,000” [Econoday]. “ADP is on a losing streak and isn’t likely to move markets no matter what its July estimate is.” Dear me. Econoday has become a little sour-tempered lately! And: “Correlations between the ADP data and BLS labour-market data have been relatively weak over the past 2 months with a weaker than expected ADP jobs increase for June followed by a stronger than expected non-farm payrolls release. In this context, there is likely to be some skepticism whether the latest data has wider implications for Friday’s pivotal payrolls release” [Economic Calendar]. And: “ADP employment has not been a good predictor of BLS non-farm private job growth” [Econintersect]. One scandal of surveys and data divergence finally seems to have caused a little agita (except at Calculated Risk). Then again: “Whether ADP should be used as a pinpointed economic reading debatable, but what the markets usually use it for is a directional bias. If that is true then the BLS report this Friday should not have many official estimate changes but it would be more than surprising if the number blew out estimates to the upside” [247 Wall Street].

Gallup U.S. Job Creation Index, July 2017: “July’s job creation index returned to its all-time high of plus 37, a sign that the job market remains strong relative to the past decade” (that is, the new normal) [Econoday]. “This is the last report of the JCI. Gallop will no longer be producing it going forward.” The labor markets are so great there’s no point in tracking them!

MBA Mortgage Applications, week of July 2, 2017: “Purchase applications for home mortgages fell a seasonally adjusted 2 percent in the July 28 week, while applications for refinancing fell 4 percent. Despite the weekly decline, the purchase index is up 9 percent from the level a year ago” [Econoday].

Leading Indicators: “June 2017 Leading Index Review: Growth Trends Remain Mixed” [Econintersect]. “Most of the leading indicators are based on factors which are known to have significant backward revisions – and one cannot take any of their trends to the bank. The only indicators with minimal backward revision are ECRI, RecessionALERT, and the Chemical Activity Barometer. Unfortunately, the Chemical Activity Barometer is targeted to the industrial sector of the economy – and at best seems to be a coincident indicator, not a leading indicator.” Sigh. So: “At this point, Econintersect sees NO particular dynamic at this time which will deliver noticeably better growth in the foreseeable future.”

Debt: “July 2017 Senior Loan Officer Opinion Survey Indicates Demand For Commercial And Industrial Loans Weakened” [Federal Reserve]. And: “Confirmation of weakening loan demand by domestic US banks, though some of the deceleration was due to foreign bank competition” [Mosler Economics].

Auto: “July was not kind to U.S. automakers, who saw sales fall year over year in the month by some serious numbers. Ford Motor Co. (NYSE: F) posted a drop of 7.5%, and it was the best performer among the Detroit Three carmakers” [MarketWatch]. And: “Based on an estimate from WardsAuto, light vehicle sales were at a 16.76 million SAAR in July. That is down 6% from July 2016, and up 1% from last month” [Calculated Risk]. I blame millennials, although this paragraph on “the mass exclusion of Americans from new car ownership” from Luttwak’s TLS piece caught my eye:

[N]one of the countless campaign reporters and commentators is on record as having noticed the car “affordability” statistics distributed in June 2016 via www.thecarconnection.com. Derived from very reliable Federal Reserve data, they depicted the awful predicament of almost half of all American households. Had journalists studied the numbers and pondered even briefly their implications, they could have determined a priori that only two candidates could win the Presidential election – Sanders and Trump – because none of the others even recognized that there was problem if median American households had been impoverished to the point that they could no longer afford a new car.

Maybe I should have filed this under Political Risk….

Auto: “The mid-summer decline [in sales] is especially troubling… because July usually is a strong auto sales month” [Wall Street Journal]. “Although demand for pickup trucks and SUVs is strong, analysts now expect the seven-year streak of growing U.S. car sales to end this year, and auto makers already are ratcheting back production. That’s being felt across supply chains, with rail shipments of automobiles and vehicle parts falling at a double-digit pace in recent weeks. The inventory problem is hitting car makers from two directions: while new cars are stacking up at dealerships, the supply of cheaper used vehicles is swelling, and that has cut into the automobile leasing business that has taken a bigger role in moving cars.” I still blame millennials. I should file this under Political Risk, too, speculating that Trump voting districts will be hit hard by this.

Retail: “The researchers cite a recent survey that 43% of millennial respondents shop at least occasionally for groceries online, a rate that is 80% higher than it was just two years ago” [247 Wall Street]. “GenX respondents shop at online-only grocers at about half that rate, and older Americans are the least likely to buy groceries at online-only stores.” So online shopping correlates directly with inability to afford a car?

Retail: “Amazon’s new refunds policy will ‘crush’ small businesses, outraged sellers say” [CNBC]. “Marketplace sellers who ship products from their home, garage or warehouse — rather than using Amazon’s facilities — were told this week by email that starting Oct. 2, items they sell will be ‘automatically authorized’ for return. That means a buyer will no longer need to contact the seller before sending an item back, and the merchant won’t have the opportunity to communicate with the customer. If a consumer is returning an electronic device because it’s difficult to use, for example, the seller won’t be able to offer help before being forced to pay a refund. ‘Customers will be able to print a prepaid return shipping label via the Online Return Center instantly,’ the email said.”

Concentration: “Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple. Our four Pharaohs effectively rule over almost all gates to the Nile River of your time: The Internet. For access, you have no choice but to pay the toll with your attention and your data” [Medium]. Fun read. It’s certainly odd that the antitrust focused “Better Dealers” don’t mention Silicon Valley; at least they did not at product launch in Virginia, or in Schumer’s Op-Ed.

The Bezzle: “Etsy Inc. has carved out a big role for its online marketplace but there’s a growing push for the business to craft more sales revenue. The handmade-goods specialist is coming under pressure to stop spending like a tech startup and focus instead on acting like a retailer… including playing a bigger role in shipping” [Wall Street Journal]. “Etsy’s conflict highlights the questions before technology-built companies as they expand and face demands for profitability and growth. Etsy’s revenue growth has slowed for four straight years, and it gets much of its revenue from add-on services that include sending shipping labels.” So Etsy’s core business is shipping labels? Why isn’t it valued like Dymo? Big data?

The Bezzle: “Tesla doesn’t need cash to fly, it needs only belief” [DealBreaker].

Suppy Chain: “The flow of goods between states” [Axios]. Super-interesting chart about stuff, though I could wish for colony/metropolis color coding. Contrast petroleum:

To machinery:

Even Maine shows up in the machinery map! (I wrote “Bangor,” originally, not “Maine,” but then realized that all the state dots were in the middle of the states, where Bangor is. This map would be much, much more interesting if the flows were city-to-city.)

Five Horsemen: “The Goog now known as Alphabet is looking sickly, while Apple catches a wave” [Hat tip, Jim Haygood]. Lambert here (sorry, Jim). Idea: Google should use more of our precious screen real estate for ads and so-called “cards“*, whose vacuity in concept is matched only by wasted white pixels. * The “cards” on 2020 should be a hoot when if Zuckerberg runs.

Five Horsemen Aug 2

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 66 Greed (previous close: 70, Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 81 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed. Last updated Aug 1 at 11:55am.

Health Care

“AFL-CIO Executive Council backs Medicare for All” [Peoples World].

Helpful video:

The Canadians among us… Which makes sense of this terrific thread about health care in the comments section of a sports site (!) found by alert reader JohnnyGL: It’s a hockey site, so naturally the commenters are familiar with Canada, and its single payer system.

Handy list of HR676 co-sponsors [Congress.gov]. Call your rep if they’re not on it? Or, better yet, visit them — perhaps in a group delegation — at their (your) office in the district?

Gaia

“Residents of Miami are cleaning up their homes and offices Wednesday as the remnants of Tropical Depression Emily exited the Florida city after dumping between 4 and 7 inches of rain…. Cars stalled out on city streets because of flood waters and residents took to kayaks and paddleboards for alternate forms of travel. The downpour was so intense that people were left stranded at work or at home. Heavy rain also caused delays at local airports” [247 Wall Street]. Welcome to the First World! Oh, wait…

Class Warfare

“Many economists are starting to suspect that the forces that once drove both wages and prices higher in a virtuous cycle may no longer apply, or at least could be muted for a prolonged period” [USA Today]. A good round-up.

“Planet of Cops” [Freddie DeBoer, Medium]. Discourse policing online, among other things.

Bernie Sanders: “There is a tragic cycle in America today — one of poverty, unemployment, inadequate education and lack of job skills for future generations. It is long past time that we ended it” [Mic]. “Under our bill, the U.S. Department of Labor would provide $4 billion in grants to states and local governments to provide summer jobs and year-round employment opportunities for economically disadvantaged youth, with direct links to academic and occupational learning.” Not a Jobs Guarantee, but an improvement.

“Desperate Nissan goes on an all-out dirty anti-union blitz in Mississippi” [Boing Boing].

News of the Wired

Sums it up (and I enjoyed programming):

“It is easy to expose users’ secret web habits, say researchers” [BBC]. “The pair obtained huge amounts of information about the browsing habits of three million German citizens from companies that gather ‘clickstreams’.” Via browser extensions.

* * *

Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allegic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please put it in the subject line. Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (SS):

SS writes:

You’ve seen this specific plant before, but this year it bloomed! Sarracenia Minor, the hooded pitcher plant. I planted it two years ago, no special care in the winter (Lovell, Maine), it seems very happy.

This is unlike the S. Pupurea next to it, which died over the winter. I was expecting the opposite–we found a lake near Baxter where the verges were pretty much choked with S. Purpurea. I’ll have to try again.

* * *

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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.

103 comments

  1. NotTimothyGeithner

    About the Republican voters not identifying as Republicans, doesn’t it seem like there was a stretch when the kinds of people who bemoan the “RINOs” declared themselves as “independent conservatives.” Bill O’Reilly’s “independent” status springs to mind.

    I believe pollsters and much of the political establishment has a goldilocks understanding of politics, and so naturally, “independents” will be assigned unicorn status as people who decide “who the best person is for the job” after “carefully reviewing positions and qualifications.”

    1. John k

      Both dems and reps are leaving their parties, becoming indies. Really ripe for third party.

    2. Kim Kaufman

      Ari Berman tweeted yesterday that 5,000+ Colorado Democrats have unregistered because they don’t want Kobach’s committee getting their personal info. So, there’s that.

  2. NotTimothyGeithner

    “Frustration that China is not doing more to persuade North Korea to rein in its nuclear program seems to be motivating the administration to fire a shot across the bow on the trade front.”

    I’m ever more convinced the imperialists without a reflexive hatred of the Russians are still worried about a Moscow-Beijing axis and are convinced they can con the Chinese into bleeding themselves on Korea and bring the Russians back into the fold at a later date. Its too late for that without a major change in U.S. leadership (A complete rejection of the legacy parties is necessary._.

    1. jsn

      I wonder if the dollar slide Jim Haygood mentions below isn’t chickens coming home to roost on this: as more trading partners come to terms w US Banana Republicanism, China POed about NK and IP challenges, Germany and anyone awake in EU re nat gas and fancy new Russia sanctions, all looking for “commitment capable” trading partners to supplant the US. This would account as well for Greenspan’s stagflation concern.

      I think the only thing that keeps the US going is that no one else is falling for “the exorbitant privilege” of reserve currency status (Albions “reserve” own goal w Brexit points the same way).

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Thanks, fixed.

      The soccer link is still super-interesting, though. I wonder if the same thing is happening on any other sports boards with Canadian teams? Readers? (I don’t follow sports, not in the slightest, so I would not know….)

      1. dcblogger

        Handy list of HR676 co-sponsors [Congress.gov]. Call your rep if they’re not on it? Or, better yet, visit them — perhaps in a group delegation — at their (your) office in the district?

        such a good idea it had to be repeated

        also, lambert is the best health care blogger on the net.

      2. HotFlash

        Hi Lambert, being Cdn and a great lover of Socialized Medicine, I have checked this link all three times it was posted. Alas, I don’t see any comments, just some tweets from a coach. What am I doing wrong? I even looked at all the other tabs, so I now know way more about this match than I ever wanted to know.

        BTW, this was a * soccer* game, not hockey.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            Er…

            https://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/19/sports/worldcup/with-world-cup-in-headlines-a-debate-continues-on-what-to-call-the-game.html

            In China and seemingly much of Asia, they use a local word but not “football” or “soccer” because they don’t speak English all the time or even in subtitles.

            http://sportslens.com/why-do-americans-call-it-soccer/3360/#Clo8VWPSkJKGqjQR.97

            In a way, fussing over calling a game “soccer” over “football”, would be like demanding the English drop the “u”s from their words which are clearly pronounced with “u”s.

        1. Vatch

          It took a long time to load on my computer. Also, be sure you are at the “recap” subfolder. If you still can’t get the comments, perhaps you need to try a different browser. Some people load Chrome, Firefox, and other browsers on their computers, just in case their default browser can’t handle a particular web site.

  3. Altandmain

    All is not well at Tesla apparently:
    https://www.cnbc.com/2017/08/01/tesla-workers-complain-about-factory-safety.html

    The New Democrats are Dead. Thank Bernie Sanders.
    http://millennial-review.com/2017/07/31/new-democrats-dead-thank-bernie-sanders/

    Fast quote from Glenn Greenwald:
    https://twitter.com/ggreenwald/status/892397174897750017

    When a party is fully wiped out & loses to history’s weakest candidate, declaring it off-limits to critique its policies is dumb & wrong.

    Yep, but that’s what the neoliberals desperately want at this point.

    Apparently flying has become unbearable that here in Canada, a passenger bill of rights is being considered:
    http://www.cbc.ca/beta/news/politics/transat-bill-rights-ottawa-tarmac-1.4231286

    South Korea, long life expectancy, but high poverty
    https://www.theguardian.com/inequality/2017/aug/02/south-koreas-inequality-paradox-long-life-good-health-and-poverty

    Also, on a personal note, yet another interview. This one disclosed to me that they are interviewing people with 15 years more experience than me in this field, which is alarming, considering the state of the job market.

    1. Huey Long

      RE: Tesla Safety

      Tesla’s “total recordable incidence rate” was 8.8 percent (8.8 injuries per 100 workers) in 2015, the last full-year that data is available for. That’s 31 percent more than the 6.7 percent total recordable incidence rate for the automobile industry as a whole, the report found, citing Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

      That 8.8 percent injury rate is higher than the similar injury rates of both sawmills and slaughterhouses, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Sawmills have an injury rate of 7.3 percent and slaughterhouses have an injury rate of 5.1 to 7.3 percent, depending on the type of processing.

      CNBC lifted these numbers from the below report:
      (http://worksafe.typepad.com/files/worksafe_tesla5_24.pdf)

      I must sound like a broken record because I call for this at least once a week, but OSHA penalties need to be raised sky-high.

      https://www.osha.gov/penalties/

      The current maximum OSHA penalty is $126,749 per violation, and that is for willful/repeated violation. For a company like Tesla with an excess of $3 billion in cash on hand this is chump change.

      Maiming and killing workers is simply a cost of doing business to an outfit of this size!

      Penalties need to be ratcheted upward and perhaps need to be re-framed in terms of market cap or some other metric so that when big companies hurt workers they take a hit as well.

      1. David Carl Grimes

        And Tesla is just making 1500 Model 3 cars in Q3 and 5,000 in 2nd Half of 2017. I wonder what the injury rate will be when they ramp up production to meet their 500,000 backlog. Since the Model 3 was launched last Friday, they are getting 1800 new signups for the Model 3 a day.

        1. sierra7

          We really need more detailed reports on the individual injuries and their medium to long term effects on those workers. Are these all serious injuries? I have a problem with gross percentage numbers quoted. Not an advocate of Tesla. Maybe somebody out there can get Lambert some better evidence? Links??

  4. Toske

    “When you talk about single payer, are you conscious of the risk to such a huge part of the economy, that any change like this carries with it significant risks?”

    Like, the significant risk that it might save tons of lives and money?

    1. Pat

      Oh sure, there is the significant risk that the investment class might lose money. And that much of the upper management will be treated the same as most of the middle class in this country. So my advice would be the same they get when they voice concerns: Retraining programs for imaginary jobs, make do, get used to a lower standard of living.

      Meanwhile the rest of the country can begin to get well, in more ways than one.

      1. Romancing The Loan

        Inskeep is a disingenuous shit and god knows I have no sympathy for upper management or investors, but it’s true that an awful lot of people with $35-60k medical billing type jobs are going to lose them when (not if, imo) we switch over to single payer because that’s part of the waste in the system it gets rid of. They may be bullshit jobs but those people aren’t rich and their sudden mass unemployment will have an effect on local economies. I think we can and should do better for them than the screw job manufacturing workers got with NAFTA. Can’t we find something useful to hire them to do for a few years?

        1. marym

          HR 676 provides for 2 years of salary continuation and priority job placement in state and regional jobs created to administer the new system. This may not be sufficient, but it’s a starting point to consider how to address this concern.

          In the meantime, it would be helpful in assessing this issue if we had more information about this workforce: What is the current rate of attrition? How many workers are continuing to work primarily in order to have health insurance? How many workers have lost or are likely to lose their current jobs due to mergers or outsourcing/off-shoring?

          1. HotFlash

            How many of them could be gainfully employed actually delivering healthcare as opposed to billing for it?

            1. MtnLife

              That, right there. Not like there won’t be a massive rush as all who haven’t seen a doctor in a decade or more line up for services. We might have to actually reopen a number of hospitals that have closed because of neoliberal economics.

            2. ChiGal in Carolina

              Those credentials take a lot more time and $ to obtain, out of reach for many.

              1. sierra7

                Ahhh…..Can’t make a revolution (in healthcare) without breaking some eggs………and some of those eggs getting scrambled in a major way……..

          2. marym

            Healthcare providers who would only have to deal with a single payer would also have reduced need for office workers. Maybe some of these insurance and healthcare office workers can be reintegrated as office workers in healthcare organizations to support increased utilization – for non-billing related office work. However people who’ve long earned their living as office workers may or may not have an interest or talent for healthcare work – not everyone does.

            It’s important that proponents of universal healthcare address the job loss issue. However, IMO, it’s irksome when opponents raise the issue, unless they were also on the front lines protesting job losses due to company mergers, out-sourcing, off-shoring, downsizing to cut costs, replacing customer care with phone menus, defunding public services, and other neoliberal initiatives.

            Of course, there’s tons of work that needs to be done in our declining country – from infrastructure of all kinds, to healthcare services, to revitalizing schools, restoring services decimated by budget cuts, etc. etc. If there were a great national infrastructure project, or a decision to house the homeless, that work would require people with all kinds of skills – including office work like payroll, planning, purchasing, accounting.

  5. Altandmain

    A few more links:

    The U.S. Is the Sick Man of the Developed World
    https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2017-07-31/the-u-s-is-the-sick-man-of-the-developed-world

    Do you have resting-poor-face? | A new study claims we can tell rich from poor in split seconds
    http://www.macleans.ca/society/do-you-have-resting-poor-face/

    Video from Mark Blyth on privilege:
    https://youtu.be/hwma1NPPpz0

    Jacobin has a review on Naomi Klein’s latest book:
    https://www.jacobinmag.com/2017/08/naomi-klein-climate-change-donald-trump-bernie-sanders-neoliberalism

    1. visitor

      Do you have resting-poor-face? | A new study claims we can tell rich from poor in split seconds

      I took the quizz and blitzed through the images before even reading the article. I was truly shocked to see that I scored 81% correct (13 out of 16).

      1. Judith

        I got 81% as well. But I had this idea from the beginning that I needed to distinguish between two types of faces. And it seems to me that I saw two types of people: People who were self-confident, well-rested, and content. People who were unhappy, discontent, exhausted. So if I were asked to distinguish happy people from unhappy people, I would have received the same score. And so I conclude, nothing.

            1. Mel

              I think it is Greek, or maybe Russian, for television. Perhaps Dmitry is forcing him to spell it that way .. ТВ . (Try to use your browser to find that in a search.)
              Seriously, though, cutesy spelling does bring a cost with it.

    2. HotFlash

      I got a lecture from Rogers (sorta the Cdn Comcast) about their cookie and privacy policy, so I bailed. What’d I miss?

    3. The Rev Kev

      Re: Video from Mark Blyth on privilege.
      A devastating critique but more than that. I am currently listening to the History of Rome podcast series (http://thehistoryofrome.typepad.com/the_history_of_rome/archives.html) and recognize this same trend. It does not end well.
      What happens is that elites try to grab everything that they can while being unwilling to comprise by giving up some things to ensure their position or even their survival. Then they lose everything – or their kids do. Then it gets really messy.
      It is strange times that we live in when the elites try to shape our culture. I happen to notice on our TV American programs featuring college-age kids buying islands or mansions so that their dogs can have more room to exercise. These are the same strata of kids that Mark Blyth talks about in his video. I think that I might go long in pitchforks and torches by what I am seeing.

      1. sierra7

        Historically established wealthy elites will tear at flesh with their teeth to perpetuate their privileges……that’s why revolts are so bloody!! Make no mistake. Any “revolt” against the privileged here in the US will be bloody……no “color revolutions” will need apply….the sooner the better……RIP

        1. The Rev Kev

          “People of privilege will always risk their complete destruction rather than surrender any material part of their advantage. Intellectual myopia, often called stupidity, is no doubt a reason. But the privileged also feel that their privileges, however egregious they may seem to others, are a solemn, basic, God-given right. The sensitivity of the poor to injustice is a trivial thing compared with that of the rich.”
          John Kenneth Galbraith in “The Age of Uncertainty”

        1. The Rev Kev

          Agreed. The one for the American Revolution was great! A bit disturbing the similarities between the past 70 odd years and the events of the late Republic in Rome. Some of it sounds vaguely familiar. Still making my way through the 1st century AD at the moment.

  6. Carolinian

    Shorter Inskeep: give up on single payer or we’ll shoot this dog (old Lampoon cover). Isn’t “think of the jobs” the oldest dodge in the books? The establishment defenders deploy the fear cannons except when they don’t. Then it’s “creative destruction.”

    1. kurtismayfield

      Let’s be honest.. Inskeep has to keep his sponsors happy. I am guessing none of the Pharmaceutical companies that underwrite NPR wants Medicare for all.

  7. Huey Long

    RE: MS Nissan Union Vote

    It requires workers to regularly attend anti-union roundtable group meetings as well as one-on-one meetings with their direct supervisors, some of whom have worn “vote no” T-shirts to work.

    Looks like they’re taking a page out of the Walmart playbook here. I wonder if Nissan will shutter the plant if the union vote is successful like Walmart did up in Quebec when they lost a union vote at a store.

    Gotta keep those proles beaten down and scared, right? The yacht building industry depends on it!

    1. Uahsenaa

      Friend of my dad’s, in the same UAW local, once said, “you can judge the likelihood of success by how many laws management breaks.”

      This is just corporate greed. The old wage scale has already been broken, the company has already received its raft of tax breaks and other incentives, so marginally increasing wages and safety conditions simply eats into gains they’ve already made. This would still be a net positive for them, in the class war, but they just can’t ever give an inch, lest labor somehow take a nanometer more.

    2. hemeantwell

      re: House Democrats’ Policy and Communications Committee — represents a district bordering Iowa.” “Heartland Engagement.” Please kill me now.

      Litmus test: any Dem serious about “heartland engagement” — cringe — should get their butts down to this factory. Sanders already has. If they can’t even be moved to serious symbolics they’re frauds.

  8. Tim

    Sen. Elizabeth Warren pressed Fed Chair Janet Yellen on July 13 to remove all of the Wells Fargo’s directors who were on board during its fake accounts scandal revealed last year

    Not good enough.

    She should be pressing Janet to develop a concrete plan to revoke Wells Fargo’s banking charter with minimal impact to financial markets. I don’t think such a plan exists, and therefore it isn’t an option. The banks must go on. Still TBTF.

    1. uncle tungsten

      Warren still practicing her paper tiger growl, what’s new. The company should be suspended from trading while the directors are prosecuted. As if Yellen would do anything, ever, to offend her worshipful overlords.

      Warren is phony and pathetic and transparently lame.

  9. nippersmom

    I was one of the recipients of Bernie Sanders’ message to his supporters Monday. The message did ask for suggestions, but it did not ask for donations. $65,000 sounds like a pretty good amount to raise in 24 hours for a non-fundraising email.

    1. JeffC

      And of course $65000/1900 = $34.21, if you don’t misplace the decimal. Not bad compared to $27.

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        That was 19,000 actually.

        I got it too and nippersmom is right, it asked for ideas, NOT donations. But those emails that ask you to sign a petition, send an email, etc., always show a page where you can click a button to donate after you do whatever they are asking.

  10. Jim Haygood

    Many economists are starting to suspect that the forces that once drove both wages and prices higher in a virtuous cycle may no longer apply, or at least could be muted for a prolonged period.

    Yesterday this view received an incontrovertible contrarian endorsement, when the American idiot “Easy Al” Greenspan mumbled to Bloomberg:

    But stagflation is about to emerge. We are moving into a different phase of the economy — to a stagflation not seen since the 1970s — that is not good for asset prices.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-07-31/greenspan-sees-return-of-stagflation-unseen-since-1970s

    Long term [say, the 2020s for the sake of discussion], unpayable pension debts are going to have to be inflated away. However, the ten-year ZIRP/QE experiment has shown that rampant asset inflation is quite uncorrelated with old-school cost-of-living inflation.

    Eventually the Amazon and China effects will run their course, as a new generation of central banksters rips down the portraits of Bernanke and Yellen and embarks on true helicopter money — that is, a mass mailing of Federal Reserve debit cards emblazoned with the seeing-eye pyramid, allowing consumers to spend down the mountain of excess reserves when banksters won’t lend it.

    Inflation: yes we can!

    1. Ranger Rick

      “That is not good for asset prices.”

      Thanks for that, I needed a hearty laugh today.

      1. sierra7

        I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: “Greenspan should have stuck to playing the clarinet for a living”! Oh, forgot he might have led an orchestra………..eh?
        This guy is such a fraud! Anyone that has read his “life” and how he conducted himself in his early businesses and his relationship with Ayn Rand who eventually I understand kicked him out of her “inner sanctum circle” when he accepted to be head of the FED……..”Gee, I think I made a (horrible, monumental, terrible, destructive to hundreds of millions of people) mistake” (In assuming that banks and other financial institutions would act in their self interest and that self interest would align with those of investors!!!!!!) Maybe he should just stick to his tennis!

  11. jsn

    I’m confused by Axios maps link, maybe just very ignorant: what is Georgia getting from California? I’m guessing it’s defense related just from the chubby arrow, what don’t I know about Georgia?

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I’m not sure if it was lost to mod hell or not, but the amount of machinery seems high to be explained away by the military given how the Senate likes to split up procurement.

        My thinking is Georgia is off the beaten path. Its large and fairly diverse which means it will require all kinds of machinery, but its not on the Gulf Coast shipping channels or part of the North East corridor. Atlanta isn’t a coastal city. The Nissan Leaf is made in Georgia.

        1. jsn

          See Byron below; Georgia is apparently the Amazon of MIC distribution. It’s easy to imagine if the chart included foreign trade that chubby arrow GA gets from CA would split to Iraq, Afghanistan, an assortment of NATO depots, Japan, Guam and Diego Garcia.

    1. xformbykr

      there was a big lockheed aircraft assembly plant in marietta; ( they’re now lockheed-martin;)

    2. Byron the Light Bulb

      Warner Robins Air Logistics Complex, Robins AFB, 78th Air Base Wing. Air Material Command. Literally, the largest complex in Georgia. C-17’s flying anything everywhere.

    3. hemeantwell

      And check out Misc Manufactured Products. Maine rocks. Why?
      And then there’s chemical products. It’s like they set they output to “equalize across all states,” except for Missouri. It seems that Texas and La not surprisingly lead in primary chemical processing but further refinement occurs all over.

    4. HotFlash

      Looking at MI, doesn’t seem like all those goods are being send from/to the middle of the state. The site of the capitol, Lansing, was determined by some geometrical/survey-ish method to be the middle of the state, but maybe before the UP was annexed? BTW, it was (and still is) a swamp.

  12. MikeW_CA

    Is the ADP Employment Report really intended to predict the BLS number? Or is it simply an actual employment measure by an organization that ought to have access to more than enough direct, first-hand data to make such a measure accurately, and little incentive to fudge it?

  13. jsn

    Re: Lamber’s Post Office Savings Bank as Real Material Benefit

    The industrial supply chain has taken me to Munich where a Postbank ATM just disgorged E300 from my US account with nary a fee!

    It’s nice to visit a first world country from time to time. In my touring of the industrial ghettos of the world, only Montenegro has thus far beat the US for slum quality (that’s a negative measure) and Germany somehow does industrial without slums, at least industrial ones. (They get other things wrong in a karmic balancing act, things like money and race)

    But this the first time in 30 years I’ve used a foreign ATM free of charge: I’ll report back when I figure out what JPMChase charged me for this free foreign service!

    1. Richard

      I am curious about the PO bank idea! I assume this is another form of public banking, like in N. Dakota(?). Can you jsn, or anyone give me a good thumbnail, and/or direct me to some helpful reading?

  14. Geoph

    The National Democratic Redistricting Committee, a high-profile group with the support of former President Barack Obama and former Attorney General Eric Holder, raised more than $10 million in the second fundraising quarter.” The article, of course, has nothing to say about policy.

    My assumption is they’re running “business friendly” types to rebuild their neoliberal power structure below the public’s radar.

  15. DJG

    “Heartland Engagement chair for House Democrats’ campaign wing”

    Ahhh, Lambert, as a pesky zebra mussel of the Great Lakes States, let me translate for you: She is in charge of the Hoosier vote. She is looking to get all of those Pence voters in Indianapolis to swing, just as Ossoff did in Georgia.

    No one in Illinois, Wisconsin, Michigan, or Minnesota uses the word Heartland seriously. It is a sign of terminal flyoverism on the part of the user: “You folkses are the sclerotic heart of America, now aren’t ye?” It is a DavidBrooksism.

    So, no, we are Cheeseheads, Michiganders, and [avert your eyes] Flatlanders. And now I am off to the farmers market for some Michigander or Flatlander tomatoes, please.

  16. Livius Drusus

    Re: Concentration: Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple, the Democrats don’t mentioned Silicon Valley because the Valley is seen as the progressive wing of corporate America and a source of party funding to compete with the Republicans and their allies in the dirty, evil extraction industries.

    Silicon Valley supposedly doesn’t pollute and their executives are committed to socially liberal causes like anti-racism, gay rights and more women in STEM. That absolves the Silicon Valley giants of any sins like opposition to unions, spying on customers and selling their data without their knowledge and consent, attempting to dodge taxes and regulations and other monopolistic business practices.

  17. Jim Haygood

    Perhaps more interesting than today’s Dow 22K milestone is the sinking US dollar index (DXY). As this 3-year chart shows, it’s close to breaking down to a 2-1/2 year low:

    http://bigcharts.marketwatch.com/quickchart/quickchart.asp?symb=dxy&insttype=&freq=2&show=&time=10

    This is quite strange, with European and Japanese central banks still struggling desperately to expand their balance sheets and devalue their currencies, while the US Fed has already shifted into tightening mode. But as a noted astrophysicist quipped, “The universe is under no obligation to make sense to you.

    The night they drove old DXY down
    And the bells were ringing
    The night they drove old DXY down
    And the people were singin’

    — The Band

  18. Indrid Cold

    re: Realignment

    The ghouls sure are planning their triumphant return. But this cynical view assumes people will begrudgingly go back to Coke and Pepsi after their little Trump/Sanders tantrum. Holding our heads under the water till we submit and go back to being quiet and surrendering the fruits of our labors is their usual playbook. The Archons are nothing if not unimaginative. They work the same playbooks for every situation. Usually the ‘wait them out’ one works. But the US is turning into a third world nation with astonishing rapidity that I’d not thought possible.
    These assumptions about the return of the ghouls (and, really, are the Clintons not ghouls as well?) leaves out the possibility that one of the many loose end/fat tails laying around won’t give an opening for some real change.
    A hell of a lot of Republicans who voted for Trump did so because they really wanted to see David Brooks and Max Boot have to eat dog dirt just as much as they want to see Debbie Wasserman Schultz in prison where she belongs.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > A hell of a lot of Republicans who voted for Trump did so because they really wanted to see David Brooks and Max Boot have to eat dog dirt just as much as they want to see Debbie Wasserman Schultz in prison where she belongs.

      Yep.

  19. Democrita

    >> I’m looking for a word like “victory” or “accomplishment” that doesn’t connote success — plays actually executed by the administration

    How about “executions”? ;-}

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Thank you for the correction, but as the text shows, this is a typo, not a math error. The 19000 figure is mentioned in the preceding text, and so: 65000/19000 = 3.42. The logic stands.

      * * *

      Because… For arithmetic I use the OS X command line to get to the python command line, then copy the calculation and the result and paste it. I mis-swiped the final “0” when I copied, alas.

  20. douglass truth

    I use Etsy to sell my artwork – like many online sales venues it worked well for awhile – then they allowed sales of things you did not make yourself, and then they went public. in some way you could tell at the moment that it was a different company. I use them for yes, shipping labels and completing sales, and getting customer and sales data, which I usually lose if I try to keep track myself. outlasted its usefulness otherwise.

    1. Huey Long

      My mother and sister sell vintage clothing and upcycled garments made from vintage clothing on a number of platforms including Etsy. They noticed the same difference you did the minute Etsy went public.

      On a related note, my mother swears that Etsy, Ebay, and a number of other platforms actively juke the search results in order to drive the sales of listing enhancements and to keep the small sellers small.

      I never used to take her theories seriously until she showed me on several consecutive days that her products would randomly drift from page one of the search and then back to page 4 or 5 or further and then back to the first page.

      Where she landed in the search directly correlated with her revenues for that particular day. According to her the apparent arbitrary nature of the search results is a hot topic of discussion amongst sellers on Ebay, Etsy, and other platforms.

      Her solution for the time being is to list under a bunch of different accounts with a shallow inventory instead of one account with a deep inventory and it has increased revenues. The listings themselves are the same, right down to the format and keywords, so there may indeed be some credence to her theory.

      1. JustAnObserver

        Question: Is there a DuckDuckGo equivalent for Etsy/Ebay ? By that I mean an (as yet) uncrappified platform that performs an equivalent function – maybe at the 90% level.

  21. RenoDino

    Medvedev’s Full Statement on Facebook Following Trump signing Russian Sanctions:

    The US President’s signing of the package of new sanctions against Russia will have a few consequences. First, it ends hopes for improving our relations with the new US administration. Second, it is a declaration of a full-fledged economic war on Russia. Third, the Trump administration has shown its total weakness by handing over executive power to Congress in the most humiliating way. This changes the power balance in US political circles.
    What does it mean for them? The US establishment fully outwitted Trump; the President is not happy about the new sanctions, yet he could not but sign the bill. The issue of new sanctions came about, primarily, as another way to knock Trump down a peg. New steps are to come, and they will ultimately aim to remove him from power. A non-systemic player has to be removed. Meanwhile, the interests of the US business community are all but ignored, with politics chosen over a pragmatic approach. Anti-Russian hysteria has become a key part of both US foreign policy (which has occurred many times) and domestic policy (which is a novelty).
    The sanctions regime has been codified and will remain in effect for decades unless a miracle happens. This legislation is going to be harsher than the Jackson-Vanik amendment as it is overarching and cannot be lifted by a special presidential order without Congress’ approval. Thus, relations between Russia and the United States are going to be extremely tense regardless of Congress’ makeup and regardless of who is president. Lengthy arguments in international bodies and courts are ahead, as well as rising international tensions and refusal to settle major international issues.
    What does it mean for us? We will steadily continue our work on developing the economy and social sector, take efforts to substitute imports, and solve major national tasks, relying mostly on ourselves. We have learned to do so in the past few years, in conditions of almost closed financial markets as well as foreign investors’ and creditors’ fear of investing in Russia upon penalty of sanctions against third parties and countries. To some extent, this has even been to our advantage, although sanctions are meaningless overall. We will cope.

    ___________________________________________________________________________________________

    We must rely on the enemy to tell us what just happened.

    1. jo6pac

      Sadly Amerika did this today and yes Russia is getting stronger by going on and producing what the bought on the so-called open market. It’s a good thing to me as I look back on Amerika were we produce very little except other world wide corp. set shop here do to the facts wages and unions have been driven down endlessly. I think it was obomber who said he would put on some comfortable shoes and walk the picket line. I guess the so-called picket line is at golden-sacks. Go lie-berry. Go Russia.

    2. Jim Haygood

      Not more than a couple of US KongressKlowns would even be capable of drafting a statement as coherent as Medvedev’s.

      “Lobby said vote yes, me vote yes. Me get re-elected! Me get big pension, get on teebee! Russians bad, Americans good.”

      1. jo6pac

        Agree that’s is that simple. apic, dod merchants of death, wall strret, and not last but just as dangerous 1% telling them what to do. War every were 24/7.

        Those sanctions should work really well as they have in the past. It’s nothing like doubling down when you have nothing to offer Amerikas citizens other than fear.

        I’m ordering my duct tape and plastic;-) Oh and a bigger desk to hide under.

    3. VietnamVet

      This is a straight forward explanation of the consequences of Congress imposing sanctions on Russia. Contrast it to the muddled, confused disinformation of western media and governments. The Links video in the comments of the homeless next to the bike path by the big A in Anaheim is shocking. Hitting home the collapse of America since I last saw it 50 years ago. Basically, the rich are looting everyone else from Greece to California. Our exceptionalism and government by and for the people is destroyed. Russia is being used as a scapegoat for the fall. The risk of the military takeover of the White House is that the nail will be hit with a nuclear hammer. Ending human civilization

    4. Quentin

      What a gloriously not so subtle put-down of vainglorious Donald Trump. He would’t dare tweet one of his snide remarks about this, he hasn’t got the guts.

  22. RenoDino

    Realignment and Legitimacy

    Apres Trump, and limited nuclear war, it will be generals not ghouls. Can’t get the toothpaste back in the tube.

  23. polecat

    Nice Plantidote Pic !!

    I have a patch of Sarraccenia sp. in a ‘barrel bog’ next to the pond, keeping the stream orchids & lobilia company. They’re doing great this year, as I believe last winter’s clod spells kick the pitchers into a needed dormancy … anyway they’re looking splended !

  24. Anon

    Looking at the links today, my eyes stopped at the Auto section and then I remembered the wonderful piece yesterday about the correlation between new car ownership and cities that went for Trump, as seen here:

    Why the Trump dynasty will last sixteen years

    If so much of the country can’t afford new cars, who exactly are buying these things?

  25. NotTimothyGeithner

    Err…are there like five people at this Yankees game? It looks like a Rays crowd. The Yankees are a half game out and just strengthened their bull pen, and they haven’t won a play off series since 2012.

    The economy must be bad.

  26. ChrisPacific

    This is from last year, but I’m not sure it’s been linked at NC yet. I came across it while I was researching a mysterious site called Washington Journal that had been popping up a lot in Facebook for some reason:

    https://www.nytimes.com/2016/08/28/magazine/inside-facebooks-totally-insane-unintentionally-gigantic-hyperpartisan-political-media-machine.html

    It’s a good description of the real phenomenon underlying the (largely) coopted term of fake news:

    But there’s also a new and distinctive sort of operation that has become hard to miss: political news and advocacy pages made specifically for Facebook, uniquely positioned and cleverly engineered to reach audiences exclusively in the context of the news feed. These are news sources that essentially do not exist outside of Facebook, and you’ve probably never heard of them. They have names like Occupy Democrats; The Angry Patriot; US Chronicle; Addicting Info; RightAlerts; Being Liberal; Opposing Views; Fed-Up Americans; American News; and hundreds more. Some of these pages have millions of followers; many have hundreds of thousands…

    …such news exists primarily within the feeds of the already converted, its authorship obscured, its provenance unclear, its veracity questionable. It’s an environment that’s at best indifferent and at worst hostile to traditional media brands; but for this new breed of page operator, it’s mostly upside. In front of largely hidden and utterly sympathetic audiences, incredible narratives can take shape, before emerging, mostly formed, into the national discourse.

    Washington Journal is a good example. It’s basically a re-skin of Occupy Democrats to make it look more like a serious news site to the casual observer (but you have to do a bit of digging to figure that out). Occupy Democrats, in turn, publishes multiple clickbait articles per day that have an anti-Trump focus and are formulaic enough that they could have been generated by an AI ([Right wing actor such as Trump] just [did or said something bad/stupid]. [Teaser of appropriate/amusing response from left wing actor]). Some of the reporters appear to be real people with LinkedIn profiles, while others have no public profile and could quite easily be imaginary.

    1. UserFriendly

      From a year ago but I can say for sure when those sites started to go negative on Trump they lost a shit ton of people so it didn’t really last, there was still just as much Clinton hate through November. It’s not like it’s just the guy who starts it is the only one who posts stuff. It pretty much switched to green party stuff, but a lot of people had already heard that Johnson was touting that the closest person he was like on isidewith.com was Sanders and that is why a ton of the naive vote went with him.

  27. NotTimothyGeithner

    With the new round of sanctions, it occurred to me the two best actions of our previous two Presidents (Libya disarming its chemicals weapons and the Iran deal) have both tossed aside by grand bipartisan coalitions.

  28. Procopius

    … President Trump had the right instinct to insist that China help resolve the nightmare problem of North Korea.

    Yeah, but Trump is being beyond idiotic complaining that China is not doing enough. Imagine the situation reversed. Pretend China has something it want to sell in Mexico, but Mexico thinks it’s a public health danger and has banned it from import. Chine turns to its good friend America to put sanctions on Mexico to force them to end the ban. After three months the Mexican government hasn’t budged. Xi Jinping then complains that America could be doing so much more to force Mexico to comply. After all, 80% of Mexican imports come through America. Surely they could apply more pressure. Does that sound like a fair comparison?

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