2:00PM Water Cooler 8/9/2017

By Lambert Strether of Corrente

Meetup reminder: The Burlington, VT Thursday, August 17 at 8:00PM; Montreal, Quebec Friday, August 18, at 6:00PM. Hope to see you there!


“The U.S. aluminum industry scored a significant win on Tuesday when the Commerce Department set hefty duties on millions of dollars’ worth of aluminum foil from China. The move, which affects about 70 percent of all the aluminum foil imported into the United States last year, is likely to resonate with President Donald Trump’s base of working-class voters who elected him last year in part for his promises to get tough on China” [Politico]. Hard to imagine why there’s a big demand for tinfoil…

“BUSINESS GROUPS TO THE ADMINISTRATION: KEEP ISDS IN NAFTA: More than 100 U.S. business groups and associations representing more than 1 million domestic companies are pushing the Trump administration to not only preserve investor-state dispute settlement and related provisions in an updated NAFTA agreement but to also strengthen them to further protect intellectual property and interests” [Politico].


New Cold War

“Ask a Korean” is a good Twitter account to follow:


“Get Off Kamala Harris’s Back” [Cosmopolitan]. Harris’s donor audition in The Hamptons must have been quite something.

Kamala Harris doesn’t have a Bernie Sanders problem. The so-called “Sanders Left” has a black-woman problem. In fact, the entire left has a black-woman problem.

I agree. That’s why Nina Turner is the head of Our Revolution. That’s also why the DNC used barricades to prevent Turner from delivering the People’s Platform. It all fits together!

“Mark Zuckerberg’s Political Ambitions Are Grander Than You Think” [Vanity Fair]. “[O]ver and over again, various sources told me that Zuckerberg had grander plans in life and wanted to be ’emperor.'” So that’s alright, then.

“Why is Harvard Professor Laurence Tribe Lying About Bernie Sanders on Twitter?” [Paste]. Excellent takedown.


“Even if Democrats were to win every single 2018 House and Senate race for seats representing places that Hillary Clinton won or that Trump won by less than 3 percentage points — a pretty good midterm by historical standards — they could still fall short of the House majority and lose five Senate seats” [Cook Political Report]. This is partly attributable to the nature of House districts: GOP gerrymandering and Democratic voters’ clustering in urban districts has moved the median House seat well to the right of the nation. Part of it is bad timing. Democrats have been cursed by a terrible Senate map in 2018: They must defend 25 of their 48 seats while Republicans must defend just eight of their 52.” More:

In 2010, when Democrats passed the health care law Republicans are now seeking to repeal, they needed “yes” votes from all 60 of their senators, including 13 from states that then-President Barack Obama had lost in 2008. What did it take for the party to be able to obtain 60 seats? The Iraq War, Hurricane Katrina and a stock market crash, which generated a huge backlash against President George W. Bush and Republicans in 2008.

Today, it would take even more cataclysmic events under GOP rule to propel Democrats to a supermajority over the next six years.

Well, if a “cataclysmic event” is what it takes…

2016 Post Mortem

“Judicial Watch today announced that the Justice Department refuses to disclose the talking points developed by the Obama Justice Department to help it respond to press inquiries about the controversial June 27, 2016, tarmac meeting between Loretta Lynch and Bill Clinton at Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport” [Judicial Watch]. “‘It is jaw-dropping that the Trump administration is blacking out key information about how the Obama Justice Department tried to spin Loretta Lynch’s scandalous meeting with Bill Clinton,” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. ;President Trump should order the full and immediate release of these materials.'”

Health Care

There used to be a genre of opinion column where Republicans would give Democrats sincere, well-meant advice MR SUBLIMINAL [snicker] about how to fix their party. (They’ve given that up recently, for some reason). Here Paul Krugman plays the same game with the left:

“What’s Next for Progressives?” [Paul Krugman, New York Times]. “Progressives,” apparently, doesn’t include the DSA, which Krugman doesn’t mention. Here is the key paragraph:

A far more important consideration is minimizing disruption to the 156 million people who currently get insurance through their employers, and are largely satisfied with their coverage. Moving to single-payer would mean taking away this coverage and imposing new taxes; to make it fly politically you’d have to convince most of these people both that they would save more in premiums than they pay in additional taxes, and that their new coverage would be just as good as the old.

This might in fact be true, but it would be one heck of a hard sell. Is this really where progressives want to spend their political capital?

If only there were some famous liberal columnist — perhaps one with a gold-ish prize medal of some sort — who would help with the “hard sell” (note the question-begging in both “hard,” and “largely satisfied with their coverage”). Then the left wouldn’t have to invest so much of their “political capital”! (I’m not sure about that dead metaphor. At all.) But no. Putting forth wonkish, complicated, Swiss watch-style solutions may be attractive to the Acela class — They’ve got their own train! Just like Europe! — but the political economy of the United States is nothing at all like Germany or the Netherlands or Switzerland. What works there won’t work here. Stick with simple, rugged, proven Canadian-style single payer instead of putting the American people through another decade of neoliberal experimentation. More importantly — and Krugman shares this failing with much of the left — Krugman thinks Federal taxes fund Federal spending, which is why we can’t have nice things. That is the keylog, and only the left can remove it. Anyhoo, Krugman recommends — hold onto your hats, here, folks — the so-called public option, and goes on to deploy the “Why don’t they care about children?” line… Oh dear. I thought it was only corrupt Democrat hack Rahm Emmanuel who was all about the kids

“Nina Turner: There is “Something Wrong” With Dems Who Won’t Support Medicare-For-All” [Paste]. “The fact is, while certain issues may indeed be ‘tough sells’ in different parts of the country, it’s disingenuous for any Democrat to argue that universal healthcare won’t catch on in Trump country. This is not abortion, or gun ownership. It’s an idea with widespread popularity, and one whose moment has come—if the Dems fail to press their advantage now, in the wake of the Republican healthcare failures, they don’t deserve the title of opposition party.”

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Nothing about us without us” [DSA Disability Caucus and Working Group]. Leveraging parliamentary rules. This is actually a good thing, especially (and very sadly) compared to Occupy’s General Assembly. With a GA, the DSA would be in Chicago still, debating the point of order. (Another way of saying this is that the GA didn’t respect people’s time.)

“DSA VWG Statement Regarding Danny Fetonte and NPC” [DSA Veterans Working Group]. “The central issue at play, and the reason we feel that resignation [from the NPC] is the best way forward for our organization, is that we feel that Mr. Fetonte deliberately misled the delegation by referring to his time as an organizer with police union CLEAT by vaguely characterizing his background as ‘I organized state workers.'”

“Vote or lose your rights: Justice Department sides with Ohio in controversial voter purge case” [Salon]. Legalized voter caging, so far as I can tell.

Stats Watch

Productivity and Costs, Q2 2017 (preliminary): “Second quarter productivity came in at a soft 0.9 percent annualized rate though unit labor costs, held down by a solid 3.4 percent rise in output, rose only at a 0.6 percent rate” [Econoday]. ” It did take more hours to raise production, at a 2.5 percent rate from 1.6 percent, but the output gain more than outmatched the hour gain…. Unit labor costs were revised sharply higher to 5.4 percent from 2.2 percent reflecting a sharp upward revision in compensation to a 5.5 percent rate. Still, when adjusted for inflation, compensation rose a less sharp 2.3 percent with second-quarter real compensation at 1.9 percent.” But, but, but: “A simple summary of the headlines for this release is that there was significant growth of productivity while the labor costs grew less. There was too much backward revision which completely reversed trends making one wonder wtf is going on” [Econintersect]. “I only look at year-over-year data – the headline compounding distorts the view). I have issues with the way productivity is determined – as logic dictates that real productivity is growing through innovation. And this month there was significant backward revision. I would take this report with a grain of salt.”

Wholesale Trade, June 2017: “Wholesale inventories rose a sharp 0.7 percent in June in what was a wanted build given a likewise 0.7 percent rise in sales. The stock-to-sales ratio is unchanged at a lean 1.29” [Econoday]. ” [I]nventories of autos which rose 1.4 percent while sales fell 0.5 percent.” But: “The improvement this month in the headline data could be attributed totally to durable goods. Overally, I believe the rolling averages tell the real story – and they declined this month. The current trends appear weakening recently as this series became volatile” [Econintersect]. “Inventory levels remain at recessionary levels.”

MBA Mortgage Applications, week of August 4, 2017: “Purchase applications for home mortgages rose a seasonally adjusted 1 percent” [Econoday]. “[P]urchase applications point to a solid housing market, driven by low mortgage rates and high employment levels.” But: “The productivity and labour costs data is prone to substantial revisions which limits the near-term impact on markets and Federal Reserve policy” [Economic Calendar].

Real Estate: “Leading Index for Commercial Real Estate “Stumbles” in July” [Calculated Risk]. Dodge Data Analytics: “The Dodge Momentum Index fell in July, dropping 3.3% to 135.0 (2000=100) from its revised June reading of 139.6. The Momentum Index is a monthly measure of the first (or initial) report for nonresidential building projects in planning, which have been shown to lead construction spending for nonresidential buildings by a full year. The move lower in July was due to a 6.6% decline in the institutional component of the Momentum Index, while the commercial component fell 1.1%.This month continues a recent trend of volatility in the Momentum Index where a string of gains is interrupted by a step backwards in planning intentions.”

Real Estate: “Some analysts estimate the shift to e-commerce will lead to some 400 of the roughly 1,100 malls in the U.S. to close in the coming years, creating empty space that some believe can serve consumers in a different way. FedEx Corp. next month will open a 340,000 square-foot distribution facility on the site of a former mall, and Amazon.com Inc. is said to be considering the site of a closed mall outside Cleveland for a fulfillment center. Still, developers have to make the economics work for packages, and they have to convince communities to accept trucks rather than chain stores and food courts” [Wall Street Journal].

Shipping: “A key underlying theme of [industrial real estate firm ] JLL’s research explains that one year after the opening of the $5 billion Panama Canal expansion, there has been what the firm called a ‘profound effect’ on industrial real estate demand. Another key theme focused on how even though West Coast ports remain naturally competitive, East and Gulf port demand is heading up. And these demand gains are being reflected in around 25.4 million square feet of industrial real estate under construction in the 14 port markets tracked by JLL in its 2017 Seaport Outlook, with 65% in East and Gulf Court ports” [Logistics Management].

Shipping: “Port of Oakland forecasts five-year record for volumes starting in ’18” [DC Velocity]. “Officials at the Port of Oakland today projected a five-year record run for cargo volumes starting next year, culminating in 2022 with traffic composed of 2.6 million twenty-foot equivalent unit (TEU) containers, 8 percent more volume than the port has ever processed in a year…. Oakland’s growth will be driven by demand from the booming freight markets of northern California and neighboring Nevada, the port said. New logistics capabilities such as distribution centers and freight transfer facilities should also help…”

Apparel: “Locals Blockade Uniqlo Factory in Vietnam Over Pollution Concerns” [Sourcing Journal]. “Villagers have reportedly been blockading the entrance to the Hai Duong factory, which is owned and operated by Hong Kong-based Pacific Textiles Holdings Limited, as they call for the mill to cease operations for good. According to reports, the area’s residents reported a foul smell from the factory since December last year, which they eventually found to be coming from the facility’s water discharge. After investigations, the spilled water was found to have surpassed the legal limits of acidity and alkalinity balance, color and suspended solids, Reuters noted in a report last month. The factory was fined $30,000 as a result. But the pollution seems to have persisted, and so have the villagers.”

Auto: “The race is on to become the next big hub in the U.S. automotive supply chain. Eleven states are vying to become the site for the assembly plant that Toyota Motor Corp. and Mazda Motor Corp. plan to operate in the U.S.” [Wall Street Journal]. “The southeast has become the preferred location for many foreign manufacturers because of the business-friendly labor laws of many of the region’s states, and suppliers have already set up facilities near some of the region’s early plants.”

Auto: “A bet on Tesla and EVs is a bet on displacing oil with hardware. It’s the maturation and industrialization of the electrochemical lithium-based battery that has animated some pundits and policymakers to declare the imminent arrival of ‘peak oil demand.’ No one seems more excited than Silicon Valley itself. Though the irony that the digital cognoscenti are making billion-dollar bets on hardware in the age of the algorithm has gone largely unnoticed” [RealClearPolicy]. “Meanwhile, and largely off the radar, companies such as Motive Drilling Technologies have developed cognitive software for drilling in shale fields…. The arrival of the digital oilfield is what should worry OPEC — not Tesla. It’s not that EVs don’t matter; they just matter less than most people think. The International Energy Agency predicts today’s 2 million EVs will rise to 100 million in a decade…. Such an outcome would generate amazing revenues for battery makers as well as the miners supplying megatons of materials from lithium and copper to cobalt. But what losses would follow for oil? The math is easy. One-hundred million EVs would constitute 7 percent of the 1.5 billion cars expected to be on the world’s roads by 2027.”

Ag: “Two Trends Popping Up In Used Machinery Markets” [Machinery Pete, AgWeb]. “[T]ractors 10 years and older and tractors with less than 150 horsepower are both hot commodities.” Hmm. I wonder why?

Mr. Market: “How Trump’s threat of ‘fire and fury’ is rattling stock-market calm” [MarketWatch]. “Wall Street’s ‘fear gauge’, or VIX, has spiked 20% over the past two sessions.”

Mr. Market: “Markets Pricing In Possibility That Nuclear Armageddon Could Have Potentially Negative Impact On Corporate Tax Reform” [DealBreaker]. “[S]eemingly not content to let the early dip be just another minor market shudder covered up by quants and then forgotten as we all slipped back into illogical complacency, the Leader of the Free World decided to spend his morning reminding everyone that his bottomless pit of need to be powerful makes him potentially unafraid to unleash the horror of nuclear weapons.”

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 48 Neutral (previous close: 61, Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 67 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed. Last updated Aug 9 at 1:37pm. Big drop…


“Volcanoes May Have Triggered the Last Unexplained Mass Extinction” [Scientific American]. In fact, the last five!

“Biochar shows benefits as manure lagoon cover” [Phys.org]. I suppose that’s a good thing, but I prefer to put my biochar directly in the soil…

“MY PLOT OF LAND” [Swissinfo (MA)]. “Allotment gardens have not always been a place of leisure, though. In the 19th century, local farmers had to be self-sufficient just like factory workers years later. In urban areas, working families used to grow potatoes and other vegetables on small plots of land on the outskirts of the cities. Back then, it was important to offer some green areas for workers living on housing estates. Gardening was supposed to make employees work hard, to develop a sense of family and to keep them away from alcohol and politics. The German term for allotment – Schrebergarten – comes from the German paediatrician Moritz Schreber. He argued that hard physical labour would suppress lust and desire, a theory that remains quite controversial today.”

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“Wounds are still raw in Ferguson, three years after Michael Brown” [Yahoo News]. A long read that focuses very heavily on the police viewpoint, and very little on systemic issues. (For example, the story notes that law enforcement for profit thorugh traffic violations primarily targeting black people was first limited by statute, then declared unconstitutional by the state Supreme Court. OK, how did Ferguson make up the lost revenue in the interim? And what are the effects of the court decision? And so forth.


Speaking (above) of cataclysms:

No mainstream coverage at all…

Class Warfare

“Alcoholism epidemic: More than 1 in 8 Americans are now alcoholics” [International Business Times]. Another painkiller, though socially sanctioned.

“[T]he majority of Americans will experience at least one year below the official poverty line at some point during their adulthood. As I considered this finding, I had an idea. What if we could use this body of research in developing a tool that would allow individuals to estimate their own risk of poverty in the next 5, 10, or 15 years?” [Contexts]. “[W]e have created the website, “Confronting Poverty: Tools for Understanding American Inequality,” and the tool, the poverty risk calculator.”

“Multiple Jobholders Are Not A Weak Spot In The Employment Report” [Tim Duy’s Fed Watch]. Maybe not. But they sure are a weak sore spot in the lives of people.

News of the Wired

“Fellow parents, it’s time for us to consider another possible explanation for why our kids are increasingly disengaged. It’s because we’ve disengaged ourselves; we’re too busy looking down at our screens to look up at our kids” (charts) [JSTOR].

“Re-identifying folks from anonymised data will be a crime in the UK” [The Register]. Hopefully.

“The US military can now shoot down consumer drones it considers a threat” [The Verge].

“‘The devil’s rope’: How barbed wire changed America” [BBC]. “Until [barbed wire] was developed, the prairie was an unbounded space, more like an ocean than a stretch of arable land. Private ownership of land wasn’t common because it wasn’t feasible.” So, an enclosure movement….

And then there’s this:

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

KH writes: “Lotus blooming happily in Hawaii.”

* * *

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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

      Creepy. And with the exact same amount of legitimate claim to executive power: none.

    2. Olga

      That’s may be where Zuck got the idea … once, long time ago, when mom took him to the museum. Subliminal suggestion stayed with him forever.

  1. David, by the lake

    I understand the voter registration roll purge issue more as “don’t vote, have to re-register.” I can’t say I have an issue with some form of consequences for chronic non-voters. In a democracy, voting is as much a responsibility as it is a right.

      1. David, by the lake

        I’d argue voting is a basic responsibility of democratic citizenship. If a person can’t bother to vote at least once every four years, then I don’t see why they shouldn’t have to re-register when the notion finally strikes them.

    1. Eureka Springs

      Provide a chad for, no, none of the above, start over, no confidence, and you might have a valid point.

    2. bsg

      The only solution will be mandatory voter registration via Driver’s License. The current interpretation and usage of the NVRA pushes this idea as far as possible while still keeping voter registration voluntary. For example, when a driver update’s their address for their license on the Ohio BMV website, the option to update their voter registration will appear in small print near the end of the process with the check mark defaulted to on (like the option to receive spam email from a company when you sign up for a service online). Voter registrations are now also automatically updated once a year via the USPS National Change of Address database. Since the Ohio BMV and Secretary of State already share their databases, it wouldn’t take much from an administrative standpoint to formally merge them.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Oregon now has Motor Voter – a driver’s license comes with voter registration. Some issues with implementation – raising the number of total registrations makes it more difficult for smaller parties to maintain ballot access, but the process requires extra effort from the voter to register with ANY party. Those who don’t won’t be voting in the (closed) primaries.

        Not everybody has a driver’s license (my millennial grandson doesn’t), and I’d wager there’s a correlation with class and maybe race, so it raises some issues.

    3. Carolinian

      Think I’ve asked this before but doesn’t Australia require everyone to vote by law? Of course this is the last thing the authors of the law want.

      And purge should be coupled with election day re-registration or provisional re-registration after producing suitable ID.

      1. Dead Dog

        Thank you Carolinian, the answer is yes, as soon as you turn 18, you are eligible and must register to vote in elections (local, state and federal) and you must keep your registration current for life (ie address as this determines which elections you participate in and the candidates you get to vote for). People are fined for not voting, not registering or voting more than once…

        ‘Voting’ involves making a mark(s) on a paper ballot (postal and pre-poll day voting are very popular to avoid crowds). An electorate’s votes (the ballot papers) are always counted by temporary staff (of the Electoral Commission) and supervised by officials. Party staff are also allowed to scrutinise – so the count is basically public and is reported in real time as each ballot box is counted.

        Still get the same grubs that you do, however :(

        That allowing donations thingy

    4. Randy

      Why all the concern about voting? 50% of Americans have figured out that is a waste of their time and money to transport themselves to the polls and vote. It doesn’t matter who they vote for, the two parties are two sides of the same coin, representing their bribery masters and not the voters who “elect” them to office. American democracy is a big fucking farce. What we need is for ALL the voters to boycott the “election” and stay home. That would be a statement. Whichever politician had the biggest family would win.

      Said by a shmuck who has voted in every election since he has had the right to vote and is seriously considering not voting ever again.

      1. PhilM

        You should have the courage of your convictions, Randy. When clever Americans want to get something done in government, they don’t vote; they write a check. I haven’t voted in decades, and I ridicule my friends who think they know something about politics, but who nevertheless still vote.

        Partisanship eliminates thoughtful analysis at every turn. Indeed, that is its purpose. See how it is deployed in comments sections elsewhere, no matter how intelligent the population in other regards. Take the technically competent naifs who gyre and gimble at ArsTechnica: any analysis of the problems over there at the FCC, which is now nothing but the directorate of corporate agendas, is quickly derailed by partisan twaddle. They hate Ajit Pai, and say the problem is the Republicans. But don’t see that the Democrats had a perfectly good chance to implement local loop unbundling, the only cure to monopolistic telecom profiteering, and were nowhere near doing that.

        And so it goes.

  2. Vatch

    “Alcoholism epidemic: More than 1 in 8 Americans are now alcoholics” [International Business Times]

    This week there have been reports that incidents of colon cancer have been increasing among people younger than 50:


    Perhaps there is a connection, as heavy alcohol use is one of the risk factors for colon cancer:


      1. PhilM

        Yeah, the article is full of epidemiological rookie blunders; confounding the statistics by confusing incidence and prevalence; failing to define terms, all the usual mistakes of popular health journalism.

        Still, there’s no denying that more and more of the youth are drinking pathologically, to get blind senseless drunk. The old folk are simply drinking themselves to death, like Leaving Las Vegas.

        It really is not the mark of a healthy culture. Nobody is surprised.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Oh, well. I’m going to have to make a trip to Missoula. Or learn how to make my own kombucha. A friend has offered to help with that.

        1. blennylips

          Sandor Katz, yes!

          Your timing is perfect, now running on YT:

          People’s Republic of Fermentation

          sandorkraut8 videos2 viewsUpdated 2 days ago

          I traveled to China in November-December 2016 in order to learn about fermentation practices there. I travelled there with my friend Mara King, her mother Judy, and another friend, Mattia Sacco Botto, who documented our travels on video. They all speak Mandarin and English, and share my fermentation and broader food interests. These eight videos, made by Mattia Sacco Botto, document some of what we saw and learned on our journey.

          I give it five fins up

        2. Arizona Slim

          Just put a library reserve on one of Sandor’s books. Thanks for the tip, @subgenius!

  3. Summer

    Re: “What’s Next for Progressives?” [Paul Krugman, New York Times]

    “156 million people who currently get insurance through their employers, and are largely satisfied with their coverage…”

    Keyword: currently. It’s only last as long as one’s employment and employment is more precarious than ever with the growth in temp and gig type jobs. Most are not enjoying 25 + years with the same company or even same careers. Those “largely satisfied” based on employment status will be reduced surely, but in the rarefied world that Krugman lives in, all is good.

    Nothing takes away this coverage like a financial system with stock markets that go up on the announcement of layoffs and reduction of benefits for companies. These are the very same markets investing the most in technologies to reduce the number of workers.

    1. todde

      Actually I deal with a lot of businesses. They aren’t going to pay the premium increases forever either.

    2. Pat

      And the blinders on that are not limited to the increasingly transient nature of employment for much of America.

      See that doesn’t even take into account that employer coverage is being largely crapified for most employees. There are increasing deductibles and co-pays for them as well. Drug coverage is tightened annually. See with the increasing premiums for coverage, cheaper as it can be in large employer plans with a decent pool, the costs can be too much for even those employers determined for their employees to have decent health care options.

      And that is before the Cadillac Tax, unless I missed its removal, will speed up the process of making decent health care coverage increasingly unaffordable for employers as well. (Something it was designed to do as it is based on premiums NOT provided services, and that level increases based on overall inflation not the usual double digit inflation of insurance premiums.)

    3. JohnnyGL

      “156 million people who currently get insurance through their employers, and are largely satisfied with their coverage…”

      I’m not sure why Krugman is so confident that those 156M are such a contented bunch. I HATE my employer provided coverage and a lot of companies have raised premiums, deductibles, co-insurance in the last decade plus. I’d guess at least 1/2 of them are pretty unhappy with their employer-sponsored plans. Employees have to take what’s on offer.

      1. polecat

        Krugman will always, and forevermore Have His …. so he can spew whatever pablum he wants, like so many fauxgressives !

        1. John

          Krugman could also lament that American business is made uncompetitive by the burden of paying employee’s health insurance…when competing against foreign companies that don’t have that expense.

        2. integer

          I have, over the last few years, constructed an evidence-free, but imo plausible, narrative on Krugman’s motivation for writing what he does, and it is centered on Krugman being a CIA asset. In this narrative, the CIA’s motivation for recruiting him was their desire to elevate him to the role of “thought leader” in economic theory in the public domain, and it was the CIA, after having predetermined his high propensity for self-aggrandizement, that convinced him that he’d never been wrong about anything (except for that one time he was wrong because he doubted his own infallibility).

          Of course, Occam’s razor would suggest that he’s just a neoliberal dick with a faux Nobel and a microphone.

    4. steelhead23

      Not only would universal health care unshackle the worker, it would remove one worry from hiring decisions. It seems to me that the value to the economy of removing health care uncertainty is poorly understood. The easier we make it for folks to be employed, the greater the number of transactions, leading to growth. I think there’s a formula like that out there, somewhere. Thus, it seems to me that one could make a pro business argument for single payer.

      If only there were some famous liberal columnist — perhaps one with a gold-ish prize medal of some sort — who would help with the “hard sell”…

      1. artiste-de-decrottage

        Absolutely. It is astonishing that Krugman should not rather take this angle, instead of worrying about preserving a bad and bizarre system. It was a long time ago that I lost respect for him, but this now is a new low.

        Once not long ago I mentioned to an entrepreneur friend of mine that single payer would make it easier for him to hire workers, and for him to take economic risks as an enterprising individual, and while he clearly saw the point, he struggled with admitting that it made sense…

        Shame on Krugman.

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        Single payer would empower employees. There is business and then there are the shareholders and board of corporation X who are the ones who donate to campaigns and offer landing spots for Congressmen who are early retired.

        It might be good for the over all economy if a person left their corporate job, but how does this help a Jared Kushner for example?

        This is the kind of argument single-payer advocates make.The issue isn’t the selling points of single payer but the faith in idols such as Team Blue.

    5. Yves Smith

      We have the most overpriced healthcare system which delivers the worst results, so SO WHAT if some consumers are dumb enough not to understand what a bad deal they are getting?

      Even if they think the coverage is OK, many don’t like the price.

      Plus as Lambert pointed out back in the early days of the ACA, when the promise that you could “keep your plan” often proved to be hollow, many consumers still wanted to keep what they had, even if they didn’t like it all that much, because they had cobbled something together and they knew how it worked. Anything new would be different (a tax on their time to figure it out) and potentially worse.

      Also to the extent that people really do think their plans are OK, that reflects a cognitive bias called the endowment effect. People overvalue what they have. The classic experiment is to show someone a coffee mug and ask them to tell you what they’d pay for it. They then give people the same coffee mug and ask what they’d want to be paid to give it up. Studies consistently show that the first amount is way lower than the second.

    6. Knifecatcher

      I’m one of those 156 million people and my coverage has gotten worse every year for my entire career. At this point I’m not entirely convinced it’s better than no coverage at all – short of a catastrophic accident / illness, anyway.

  4. craazyboy

    A True Scotsman’s Hokey Pokey

    You push your left foot in
    You pull your right foot out
    You push your left foot in
    And you shake it all about

    Do the Hokey Pokey
    That’ wot it all about!

    You push your pelvis forward
    You pull your pelvis back
    You swing your pelvis side to side
    Then you shake it all around

    Do the Hokey Pokey
    That’ wot it all about!

    Bee Gee’s – Saturday Night And Feverish – By Fake Scotsman – John Travolta



    You thrust your belly way up up high
    You kick your leg up to the sky
    You flex tour toes way out there straight
    That’s where we’re goin’!

    You Kilt is a fluttering ‘gainst your silly head
    You’ll do this ’till your really dead
    Endorphins going!
    Dopamine flowing

    A natural high is wot you’ll get
    When you kick your Haggies way up over your head
    The beat thumps ’round your feet,
    Don’tcha toes know it!

    [All Girls Catholic Choir]

    It’s a Saturday Night Fever
    True Scotsmen all know it.
    When True Scotmen don Kilt and blow it
    Dontcha all know it!

    It’s a Saturday Night Fever
    Gots ta ya go it!


  5. Plenue

    “There used to be a genre of opinion column where Republicans would give Democrats sincere, well-meant advice”

    What was the general tone of the advice? Go further to the right? Because I don’t think Dems needed to be told that.

  6. Zzzz Andrew

    Hey Lambert,

    Last night I posted a detailed response to some of your questions about the disappearance of NC ‘Frequently Visited’ browser links in in Monday’s Water Cooler comment thread. It’s long so I won’t re-post it here, just wanted to make sure you saw it.

    tl;dr is that after some testing I’m not convinced this is censorship (though I’m not yet convinced it’s *not* censorship either); will update if I figure out anything more. Would be interested to know if anyone else has new info, too.

  7. Hana M

    “Vote or lose your rights: Justice Department sides with Ohio in controversial voter purge case” My True Blue 1%er town of Brookline MA has done this for much of the 16 years I’ve lived here.
    Annual surveys by card would, if left unsent, leave you with arguments at the polls. With the 2016 primary suddenly all that went away….hmmm.

    1. Vatch

      From the article:

      In an amicus brief filed Monday, the DOJ solicitor general argued that the state’s purge process — in which voters who do not vote over a six-year period, and do not respond to a single piece of mail asking them to confirm their registration two years in, are removed from the voter rolls — is legal under federal law.

      I hate to find myself in agreement with the Trump administration, but 6 years is plenty of time, and if a person had bad luck that prevented voting in 3 or more successive elections, he or she has the opportunity to respond to that piece of mail. I’m sure that a person could also visit a local government office, so that covers the situation in which the voter doesn’t receive the post card or letter with the questionnaire. If the policy required voting AND responding to the piece of mail, I think that would be excessive. But that’s not what the article says. After 6 years without voting, it’s reasonable to assume that the person is no longer at the same address.

      1. Jess

        In states with the initiative and referendum process there is another side to this issue. Every one of these jurisdictions sets a percentage threshold for qualifying a petition for a ballot measure. The criteria often vary according to the type of petition (initiative, referendum, or recall). They also often vary according to whether or not the measure affects taxes. The petition may need to collect valid signatures equaling a percentage of votes cast in the last general or gubernatorial election. But in some states, and in some cases, the criteria is a percentage of registered voters.

        With people on the roles who no longer live at their registered address, or who are even no longer living, period, it can make petition qualification much more difficult. This is particularly true at the local level where someone who simply moves to an adjacent city or county is still counted against the qualifying threshold where they formerly lived but are still registered.

        While circulating a petition for a local ballot measure I once had a woman who was astounded that her husband was still shown as a voter at their home because he had been dead for…

        43 years.

  8. Elizabeth Burton

    Two things.

    1) As someone who has experienced both, I am getting very sick and tired of the Democrat establishment using “sexism” and “misogyny” as dog whistles and methods of derailing discourse. Their total hypocrisy, and that of those who so avidly embraced Hillary Clinton no possible evidence of her true history was acceptable, was made patently clear by all the savage attacks by women on Melania Trump for no reason other than who she was married to.

    2) I would like to offer an alternative suggestion to all those knowledgeable academics as to why young people are “disconnected” in one word: homework. When 7-year-olds, after spending 6-7 hours a day in school, must nevertheless spend another hour or more doing homework, and when high-school students are literally losing sleep to complete assignments, is it really any wonder they haven’t the level of concentration they should?

    Decades’-worth of studies have shown homework has little to no educational benefit, and yet the amount of time our kids are spending on it keeps getting longer and longer, to the point where they can no longer spend any kind of quality time with family and friends. I would be shocked if they didn’t spend most of their free time online and/or on their phones, since it may be the only way they can have anything resembling a social life.

    1. sid_finster

      Ritual defamation, that is all.

      Note that in today’s identity politics world:
      1. Racism/sexism/etc. is determined largely in the eyes of the putative victim; and
      2. Once the victim whips out the race/sex/LBTQXYZPDQ card, simply by making the accusation, the onus shifts to the accused to prove their innocence. Proving a negative is next to impossible to do even under the best of circumstances. When the crime is subjective, it becomes that much harder.

        1. Gorgar Tilts

          It would seem that free college is not what is needed. Instead, perhaps colleges should be required to refund tuition to anyone with a degree in the Grievance Studies Disciplines.

            1. polecat

              Hey ! … What about all those phd studies on xyz exappropriation ?? Free or not, I expect the mob-declared devil, demon, bigot, or misogynist cracker to payyyyyyy ! ‘;]

          1. JTFaraday

            The reason that “grievance studies” is a thing is that the US (its immense national wealth and power notwithstanding) is so culturally backwards that liberal arts and, in particular, humanities students– especially grad students who were specializing in liberal arts and humanities into their 20s and 30s– needed to justify engaging in such rarefied activity by attributing to it some higher social purpose.

            This became more and more true as higher education was democratized during and after the 1950s and 1960s, (when the larger society was also undergoing some major social changes). To study the humanities for their own sake is more or less an outrage to the practical sensibilities of the working classes. Thus today, with the widespread perception of a bad economy, we see the liberal arts and humanities under increasing outright attack, (higher social purpose or not).

            Giving the study of liberal arts and the humanities a higher social purpose** is not really a new thing, but the opposite of aristocratic is apparently grievance, as even a cursory read of this site, and of course the larger labor left, will assure.

            ** http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Culture_and_Anarchy

            If you have a problem with “grievance studies,” you can take it up with yourself.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              > To study the humanities for their own sake is more or less an outrage to the practical sensibilities of the working classes. Thus today, with the widespread perception of a bad economy, we see the liberal arts and humanities under increasing outright attack, (higher social purpose or not).

              I disagree with this. The post-World War II GI Bill saw an explosion of the humanities in the university level, which, because of its size, necessarily included working class people, both as students and (I’m guessing) later faculty. And if anybody thinks the humanities are impractical, just try reading tech doc from somebody who doesn’t know how to write. Or a corporate memo, or even email.

              Further, the real assault on the humanities comes from the corporate chieftains in university goverance, who would prefer that universities function as trade schools to feed their companies labor. There’s also the happy side effect that destroying creativity also destroys the sort of person who creates competition for those same chieftains.

    2. John D.

      It does get a little tiresome observing Democratic Party hacks (and their bootlickers online, natch) bellowing that any criticism of Hillary Clinton, no matter how measured, reality-based or lacking in personal venom, is straight-up misogyny…and then immediately turn around to scream vicious personal abuse at, say, Jill Stein or Susan Sarandon.

      One can separate the mountain of bullshit the right has thrown at HRC and her scumbag hubby over the years from legitimate complaints about the Clintons, of which there’s never been any shortage. There’s always been legitimate grounds on which to criticize them and perfectly valid reasons for disliking them.

      1. Darius

        I don’t like Zuck either. Does that mean I discriminate against the robotic-American community?

      2. montanamaven

        Did you see this tweet from Peter Daou?

        “Lots of people don't get that "Hillary" is not just about a person at this point, but the worldview that binds her voters together”.— Peter Daou (@peterdaou) August 8, 2017

    3. Richard

      A second grade teacher here, responding to your thought about homework. And there are all kinds of HW of course, but mostly, at my school anyway, it’s made up of home reading and some review of the day’s math concept. At the primary grades (K-2) it works out to a little more or less than a half-hour a night. Independent home reading, where children are reading/navigating text w/o adult support, is actually tremendously important to literacy development. I see evidence of this all the time, and have read studies where it correlates with academic success in high school and college.
      The math homework, on the other hand, simply involves a repetition or practice of the day’s concept. Children often need a certain amount of repetition to master a skill, but sometimes not, and the repetition can usually be provided during the school day anyway. Math homework is just not terribly vital, IMTO.
      I am speaking only to HW with younger children, BTW. I guess I just wanted to reply to let you know that teachers are also aware of the “homework problem”, that we were hogging too much student and family time. A couple of years ago, the staff at our school instituted HW limits for each grade, with an emphasis on independent home reading. So 1st grade is 20 minutes (including the reading), etc. We need to revisit the agreements, to see if they are working, hear what everyone has to say. Thanks for the reminder, we have a retreat coming up in a few weeks! There are always some parents,who want more HW, by the way. I point them to some resources and say have at it.

      1. Yves Smith

        I think Elizabeth’s point is that different teachers hand out homework w/o consideration of the total load, so what may seem reasonable from the perspective of one class is too much in aggregate and becomes counterproductive.

        IMHO another problem is lack of recess. Kids need breaks and to move. Adults do too, actually. I can guarantee that a lot of the overdiagnosis of ADD is actually due to fidgety-ness among high energy kids who’ve been kept cooped up too long. I would also bet that the lack of recess reduces most kids’ ability to concentrate. That may mean that some of the homework is effectively compensatory.

        1. Richard

          I do acknowledge the point, especially with middle schoolers. I was speaking from elementary land I guess, or at least my own corner of it.
          re recess: Our grade level (2nd) instituted a third recess break for our students, 15 min. in afternoon between math and snack (science or workshop writing afterwards), to go along with lunch recess and am. We’ve done this for a couple of years, and all three of us noticed improved academic energy in our students. K and 1st already do this at our school, but the bigger kids get less. They need it just as much of course!

          1. RMO

            Hmmm… I was in K-12 in the 70’s and 80’s and my only experience with “homework” overload was in University during an abortive two semester attempt at a computer scince degree. A number of the professors seemed to live in dreamland when it came to group projects which were to be worked on outside of class time. We couldn’t get them to understand how what may seem like a reasonable load to them when looking at only what they assigned could be a big ball of impossible for us since we had to deal with multiple classes and assignments and try to find time to get the groups together despite the problems of everyone having completely different class schedules, the need to travel to up to three different campuses up to 45 minutes drive time apart, different (and unpredictable) work schedules, the fact that some students had long commutes into the city where the campuses were… For some reason there were no problems like this from the music faculty or the business faculty.

      2. Kokuanani

        My kids, now aged 31 & 29, went to an actual “progressive” school. There was NO homework until 3rd grade. All the kids were so excited to get homework at that point; felt they’d really “grown up” and were not burned out by years of tedious, unproductive stuff.

        This was in contrast to my neighbors’ kids, who all went to the local, very-highly-rated-because-we’ll-push-your-kids-as-hard-as-if-they-went-to-Sidwell* place. Those kids had an hour or two of “homework” in kindergarten!!

        *Sidwell Friends, where Chelsea Clinton & the Obama girls went. Really, the local public school bragged about their high pressure atmosphere. It’s the main reason we looked elsewhere.

    4. Medbh

      One option to consider is to just refuse the homework. I have kids in elementary and middle school, and their teachers have been surprisingly supportive of us declining homework. A number of them admitted that they don’t think it’s appropriate either, but administrators (and some parents) expect it. I have limited brain capacity after 7 hours, so it seems unreasonable to expect kids to learn much after being in school all day.

      1. Harold

        The parents expect it and nothing will convince them otherwise. It is pathetic, even tragic.

        I was so disgusted with the numerous commercial work sheets given out in the public school in second and third grade — often having nothing to do with the lessons supposedly being taught — as “homework”; and this was one of the better schools, reputedly. I blame Sesame Street for this infection of commerce into education also inappropriate emphasis on academics in early childhood. Also the public school had them watch movies during recess, and many were not movies I would have chosen.

        I sent my daughter to a Waldorf school where they didn’t even start teaching reading until second grade. They had no homework until sixth grade, and at least an hour of recess, not counting gym and movement and they made their own books. Practicing an instrument is homework enough.

        The funny thing was that the Waldorf School liked to hire experienced teachers from the public (and parochial) schools. They were excellent teachers and would send their own kids to Waldorf at a reduced rate. They no longer do that now, alas, I’ve been told.

        1. DJPS

          YES. Imagine how much the makers of “Go Math” and “Treasures” make for those books. Piss easy to write, just grease the right wheels at the state and local levels and the Common Core Checks just keep coming. Wouldn’t surprise me if common core was written by the company that prints those books.

          Also… I guess it improves results if you keep the standards low, but knowing your times tables takes 1 month of effort for most kids with a functional memory… Go Math spends the whole of 3rd grade on it.

  9. Edward E

    Why are so many folks worried about a volcano? We knew it was coming, we’ve finally got to the part of this administration that is fo*n terrifying.

      1. polecat

        Yeah, and look where That got them — 0 propulsion !
        …. and if furries were outlawed, only furriers would have furries … or maybe it was ferengiis .. I can’t remembering which.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I’m kinda finding it hard to picture. Perhaps someone can do a hack so that in Call of Duty, instead of fighting Nazis, you could fight an army of furries. The mind boggles.

  10. clarky90

    Yesterday, in a post about “The USA Political Center” there was the hackneyed, linear chart; “Left to Right- with Stalin at one extreme and Hitler at the other, with a Moderate Center”. IMO, this is inaccurate, AND repeatedly dragged out of the crypt to confuse and misdirect us all. “Are all of the people talking, in unison, about single payer health care? Damn them, drag out the secret weapon, “The Left vs Right cliche”. That will tie the fools up in knots! ha ha ha ha (evil laugh)”

    The Actual Center IS made up of a powerful conspiracy of Totalitarian Murderous Bastards. In 1939 it was a collusion of the National Socialists (Nazis) with the Internationalist Socialists (Communists), to divide up Eastern Europe and the Balkans between them.

    Today, the Center is made up of a collusion of Billionaires (The 0.01%) with murderous, totalitarian intentions. Though small in number, their wealth multiplies their weight (their centredness).

    The 99% (the rest of us) are flying around the outer political orbits, scratching our heads and arguing with each other. OUR Point of View is in constant flux- Age?, Gender?, Children?, Health?, Money? Personality?………Lots to talk about.

    The truth is that everybody wants a place to live, someone to love, a meaningful occupation, a healthy environment, good healthcare……..

    The false (fake!) dichotomy, “Left vs Right” is a destructive mind control meme that has been effectively used to confuse us!

    For example;

    The Gestapo–NKVD Conferences

    “a series of security police meetings organized in late 1939 and early 1940 by Germany and the Soviet Union, following their joint invasion of Poland in accordance with the Nazi-Soviet alliance”


    1. clarky90

      Nazi–Soviet military parade in Brest-Litovsk, Poland, 1939


      “The secret protocol of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, signed on August 23, 1939 defined the boundary between the German and Soviet “spheres of influence”. However, during the invasion of Poland, some German forces, especially Heinz Guderian’s XIX Corps, advanced beyond this line…

      Upon approaching the town in the morning of September 22, Krivoshein (Soviet Commander) realized that German troops were already busy looting the town and that Guderian had already established his headquarters there. Soon afterwards, Guderian’s representatives arrived, and greeted the “glorious Red Army” and its general. Following a short exchange of formalities, Krivoshein offered to visit Guderian and pay his respects to him personally. The offer was accepted, and Krivoshein was taken to the German headquarters to share breakfast with the German general.
      During the meeting, Guderian proposed a joint parade of Soviet and German troops through the town…..”

      I do not laugh because I am happy. I am happy because I laugh!

    2. HopeLB

      Clarky90, the divisions seem to be better characterized as Thomas Frank delineates them; the 1% through to the .001% plutocracy, the 20% to 2% the professional class, and then the bottom 80%.

      1. clarky90

        HopeLB, I agree with you. The percentages are imprecise talking points (0.01%/1.0%/2%/20%?). The job security of the top managerial % is under increasing threat from Robots and the Internet of Things.

        The “realization” for me, (I first learned it here, from the NC commentariat) is that the scale goes up and down, not left to right. Those of us who are not at the very top (more of us everyday), have much in common- and our actual differences are few and insignificant. Our beef is with the Top Tier, not our fellow 80%.

        However, manufactured culture is obsessed with creating discord among us.

  11. WheresOurTeddy

    “Why is Harvard Professor Laurence Tribe Lying About Bernie Sanders on Twitter?” [Paste].

    Forwarded to my entire email list of on-the-left and like-to-think-they’re-on-the-left people with the subject line “with dems like these, who needs republicans?”

  12. CalypsoFacto

    “Fellow parents, it’s time for us to consider another possible explanation for why our kids are increasingly disengaged. It’s because we’ve disengaged ourselves; we’re too busy looking down at our screens to look up at our kids” (charts) [JSTOR].

    Truth. From where do children learn their behavior? It can’t entirely be from Youtube and Snapchat, someone put the device in their hands in the first place and reinforced the lesson over time with their own actions. I try not to be judgmental, raising a kid is hard these days and the devices are everywhere and peer pressure and I am childfree so what do I know, but I find it suspect that this hasn’t been discussed openly and at great length up to now. Like a lot of other discussions in the zeitgeist now it just seems like this is another example of scapegoating/blame shifting to protect the sensitive egos of the guilty parties and prevent them from making the necessary changes.

  13. WheresOurTeddy

    Re: Kamala Harris the establishment pick –

    The label “Bernie Bros” will be trotted out again and we will have the double whammy of being able to call anyone who doesn’t endorse Clintonite Third-Way Wall Street Sellout Scum Kamala Harris both a sexist *AND* a racist, whereas we could only claim sexism in 2016 since HRC is white. As in 2016, I will not give a damn. Sanders/Turner 2020.

    The Democrats are the opposition party, all right. Opposition to the American people.

    1. Toske

      And yet nobody in the media will imply that Harris supporters must be a bunch of anti-Semitic closet neo-Nazis. Hmmm.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      They are desperate to protect the “Southern Firewall,” and Harris isn’t the Queen. She has a huge hill to climb.

      The lines used against Bernie such as “I’ve never heard of him” were effective because many people had never heard of him. A random Senator is a random Senator, not Hillary Clinton. How exactly did Hillary do without the Great Southern Firewall? Not very well despite more money than Midas, a huge organization, and total control of the Democratic Party. Even states such as Mass didn’t give her huge wins, and those states had a huge split between whether a voter was over or under 38. Because Harris isn’t a “shoe-in” in the way Hillary was perceived to be, the media will not cover for her, and Harris will be forced to do retail politics because she can’t hold rallies yet, the way Obama, Clinton, and Sanders (he had enough built up goodwill over the years; even then he had to skip early states to hold rallies) could.

      I don’t believe the Democrats can stop a Sanders style candidacy as I believe the declines in non-Presidential year elections are indicative of a larger dissatisfaction with the Democratic Party status quo. Their hope is in the South,likely copying Bill Clinton’s nomination win. Of course, Bill did run against Jerry Brown who wanted to cut the Department of Education and pass the libertarian wet dream of a flat tax, the Rick Perry campaign platform. Again the internet will be four years older than 2015/2016. People will be four years angrier.

      If the Dem courtiers feel, they need to start calling their opponents racist/misogynists this early, my guess is they are under more stress than is widely known.

      1. Altandmain

        Knowing the corporate Democratic Establishment, they will try something backhanded.

        They know that they are in trouble, but they also figure that they can deliver to their donors a lot.

        If they do sabotage the left, they are going to be taking losses and this could have implications because it is a census year.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          It’s the old more flies with honey than vinegar issue. Fear, fear, fear was the Dems strategy in 2010, 2014, and 2016. Democrats have lost what we’re considered layup elections. Fear as a strategy is producing diminishing returns.

          The anti-Trump fervor at the beginning of the year made people who had never participated come out, but despite a governor’s race, the Dems are virtually dead, running a pro-pipeline Shrub voter.

          If you take the 50 State strategy to its logical conclusion, many democratic courtiers would be replaced or make significantly less money as resources would be directed to organizing which isn’t really that expensive especially when there are long term organizations to build around and on.

    3. Jen

      Pity she isn’t gay. We would have a trifecta: racist sexist homophobe. The Democracts are not the opposition. They are the enemy.

      1. polecat

        Aaaaaand a Vegan to boot ! .. all that would send a tingle up my leg .. probably make me sterile too !

        1. OIFVet

          A vegan born to illegal immigrants! Damn these racist sexist homophobic anti-vegan xenophobic Bernie Bros. I am sure there are a few identity checkmarks I am missing, too.

          I had an argument with a well-credentialed white collar liberal friend of mine last weekend. While he acknowledged that wealth inequality is a big issue, his prescription for the Democrat party in 2018 and beyond was… doubling down on identity politics! These people are hopelessly stuck in the bubbles of their small echo chambers.

  14. nippersdad

    Re: Get off of Kamala Harris’ back.

    Did she actually say that “Black women are not Jesus”? I didn’t realize that that was the bar for admission these days. Certainly explains why they would vote for the woman who gleefully supported offshoring, differential drug sentencing, for profit militarized policing and exponentially increasing the size of the carceral state which has decimated black communities for the past thirty years…She also, amidst her horror, failed to notice that it was Obama’s Justice Department which did nothing about voter disenfranchisement when they had the chance.

    She may not be Jesus, but she certainly needs to get down off of her cross.

    1. integer

      “Kamala Harris doesn’t have a Bernie Sanders problem. The so-called “Sanders Left” has a black-woman problem. In fact, the entire left has a black-woman problem.”

      These words have been weaponized. Allow me to disarm them:

      Kamala Harris has a problem with Bernie Sanders’ policies, as they are not amenable to the Democratic Party’s wealthy donors. Conversely, the “Sanders Left” has a problem with establishment politicians whose policy agendas are prescribed by their wealthy donors. In fact, the entire left has a problem with establishment politicians whose policy agendas are prescribed by their wealthy donors.

  15. Kurt Sperry

    Ag: “Two Trends Popping Up In Used Machinery Markets” [Machinery Pete, AgWeb]. “[T]ractors 10 years and older and tractors with less than 150 horsepower are both hot commodities.” Hmm. I wonder why?

    I’m guessing the ECUs infected with factory-installed ransomware on newer machines is a large factor.

    1. hemeantwell

      Wild guess: In my review teeth-gnashing over the Soviet economy being allowed by its elites to collapse into raw materials production, one of the lamented production lines was simple, smaller tractors that were used internally but also had a market in Asia, afair. Could that be a factor?

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        Kurt Sperry has it right. It is John Deere using the DMCA to prevent farmers from repairing their own tractors.

  16. OIFVet

    I am adding Best Buy on my list of companies I will no longer spend money with. Today I had a new dishwasher installed, with my mother staying home to let the installers in. Much to her surprise, Best Buy (or whoever their subcontractor is) had only one guy to deliver the appliance and take away the old one (third floor, no elevator). What kind of sick and twisted way is this to treat their employees?! Had I been home I would have lent a hand, but I wasn’t, so this poor guy had to do all of this heavy lifting all by himself. Needless to say, he received a good tip, but still. I will be calling Best Buy to complain.

    1. nycTerrierist

      Ugh, horrible. Shame on Best Buy and I join your boycott.
      Good on you for complaining.

    2. polecat

      Complain all you want … All BB will do is probaly fire the guy not living up to the epitome of Hercules, and then do the HR Dept. equivalent of … “NEXT !!”

    3. Carolinian

      Well I’ll play the contrarian and point out that dishwashers don’t weigh very much. It’s just a big empty metal box with a smallish motor. Now if it had been a refrigerator…..

      1. OIFVet

        Still weighs 80# boxed, and then there is the sheer awkwardness of handling such a large box by a single person up three flights of stairs. I was charged $160 for installation, and the lone installer is getting a small fraction of that. So in the end, I feel ripped off, too. Then there is the awful realisation that I unwittingly contributed to the exploitation of my fellow working man…

        1. Carolinian

          Sounds like BB are indeed the villains. I’ve bought a few things there but never been a huge fan.

    1. Jbird

      I’ve read about the child rape in Afghanistan. Apparently some have tried to it, but it was the Americans who got into with the higher ups. Some annoying Colonel or Sargent bothering you? Just call General Slimmold for help.

  17. hemeantwell


    I wonder about this. I went to the link and it seems like the National Assn of Manufacturers gets to claim to represent all the groups. NAM likely is oriented to exports, but I wonder about what’s going on for smaller, more domestically oriented biz. I could see that they could be against all forms of guv regs, but I could also see how they may be clueless. Sections of the Tea Party, now in some disarray, were opposed. Anyone?

  18. flora

    Pro Public now has an ‘Algorithms’ investigations category.

    “Machine Bias

    “Algorithmic injustice and the formulas that increasingly influence our lives.”


    It looks like algorithms can be used for digital red-lining if coded for that outcome. Nice to finally see ‘code is law’ getting push back.

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      That is good, an awakening. To have as an epiphany, the thought that your country is fascist, that you are in a river of fascism, and that because you didn’t know you were in that river, that you, too, are fascist.

      “How strange. That is a very quiet kind of fascism, isn’t it?”

      1. sierra7

        “Friendly Fascism” 1990 Bertram Gross
        “This provocative and original look at current trends in the United States presents a grim forecast of a possible totalitarian future. The author shows how the chronic problems faced by the U.S. in the late twentieth century require increasing collusions between Big Business and Big Government in order to ‘manage’ society in the interests of the rich and powerful.”


    1. Altandmain

      I think it was very unfortunate that Russ Feingold was not victorious in 2016.

      Feingold was not perfect, but he was like Elizabeth Warren, one of the few ok Senators.

    2. Jen

      They do affect personality and cognition…so maybe. In my (thankfully) limited experience, however, they seemed to intensify the already ingrained personality traits of the people who had them, not moderate them. Small sample size…strictly anecdotal

  19. Livius Drusus

    Re: the alcoholism epidemic, this is more evidence that the United States is very similar to post-Soviet Russia. I am surprised that more people aren’t making this connection. The statistics on increasing drug/alcohol abuse, suicide and early mortality in the contemporary United States are all reminiscent of post-Soviet Russia and the aftermath of “shock therapy” economic policies.

    For example, see this Lancet study on the effect of rapid privatization on working-age male mortality in post-Soviet Russia.

    See: http://www.thelancet.com/journals/lanpub/article/PIIS2468-26671730072-5/fulltext

    Neoliberal economics in America has been our own version of shock therapy. The rapid movement of manufacturing jobs out of the country, especially after NAFTA, destroyed many communities. Even if you think automation was going to eliminate many of those jobs anyway, trade policies accelerated job losses so much that most people and communities simply did not have time to make a transition. Also, the government really didn’t do anything to help these communities but just told people to get more education or move, mantras that are still being used today.

    1. RUKidding

      Thanks. That’s one good way of connecting the dots, and I agree with your assessment.

      And nothing much is being done except more hand waving by the elties, including Trump.

  20. RUKidding

    No flight of fancy: Law firm exports Houston’s cost advantages to Silicon Valley
    Houston law firm avoids high costs of Silicon Valley, where clients live


    Instead of plunking down money on astronomically priced real estate and staffing up an office with some of the highest-price talent, the Houston firm bought a nine-seat corporate jet that each month flies a plane load of lawyers from Sugar Land to California, where they meet clients and try to find new ones. Even with the $3 million cost of the jet and the $2,500 an hour it costs to operate it, Patterson and Sheridan says the firm is still able to offer companies and inventors lower costs because most of the patent work is done in Houston, where commercial real estate is 43 percent cheaper, salaries 52 percent lower and competition for technical talent far less fierce.

    Well at least it = jobs for US attorneys. Wow.

    1. Arizona Slim

      My father’s IP attorney did the same thing. He ditched his high-cost suburban Philadelphia office and relocated the practice to Reno, Nevada.

    1. Scm

      Bockscar sits in plain view in Hanger 1 of the National Museum of the US Air Force in Dayton. A very ordinary looking thing, just another finely tuned and shiny machine sitting among dozens of others. I’d bet 90% of the people walking past if are completely unaware of its significance.

  21. sierra7

    “Hard to imagine why there’s a big demand for tinfoil…”
    I laughed so hard I almost fell off my seat……
    Best line in a long time!!

  22. Jonathan Holland Becnel

    I work in New Orleans on Bourbon St, and this was the first time ever the restaurant (and parts of the French Quarter) got a little water in it.

    Not even during Katrina did the FQ flood.

    The people here truly dgaf about their city Officials and we all think they’re the most corrupt motherfuckers on earth ?

    1. ambrit

      I’m late to this, but water on Bourbon Street!!!? I worked in the Quarter back in the ’70s and nothing remotely like this happened. Sea level rise and ground subsidence combine to re-swampize N’awlins. And, how many big cities worldwide are built on lowlands. Most of the ports for sure. Oh my, few have considered the restrictions to world shipping that flooded port facilities will create, everywhere. We’ll be lucky to hold on to Third World tech at this rate.

  23. Oregoncharles

    Nina Turner: “This is not abortion, or gun ownership. It’s an idea with widespread popularity, and one whose moment has come—if the Dems fail to press their advantage now, in the wake of the Republican healthcare failures, they don’t deserve the title of opposition party.”

    Only now you realize that? The record is that the Democratic Party is direly opposed to single payer or universal health care.

  24. Oregoncharles

    ” “Wall Street’s ‘fear gauge’, or VIX, has spiked 20% over the past two sessions.””
    And silver crossed $17. Nothing like some saber-rattling to send precious metals up. Although, what they think they’re going to do with silver in the smoking, glowing ruins I really don’t know.

  25. RRH

    All the dollar stores sell Chinese Aluminum foil. If you can imagine besides being a dollar for a few yards, it is maybe 1/2 the thickness as Reynolds Aluminum Foil.

    You get what you pay for.

    So now, the dollar stores will just reduce the amount you get by the tariff.

    Buy American & Make America Great Again

    1. ambrit

      Sorry, but the neo-liberal economic dogma is that you never get what you pay for, always less. The ‘rake off’ is the ‘extracted rent’ bonus.

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