2:00PM Water Cooler 9/29/2017

By Lambert Strether of Corrente


“The White House is quietly conducting a comprehensive review of its strategic and economic approach toward China, according to administration officials and outside advisers with knowledge of the plan” [Politico]. “The review, which is not yet complete, is a government-wide effort spearheaded by senior staff on the National Security Council and the National Economic Council, who have been quietly working on the plan for months. It stemmed in part from concerns in some parts of the administration that the president lacked a coherent approach to China.” and simultaneously–

“Top U.S. Spymaster Warns American Firms About Deals With China” [Bloomberg]. “‘China is our number one adversary with respect to economic espionage,’ [William Evanina, the Director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center] said in an interview at Bloomberg in Washington Thursday. ‘Their ability to steal proprietary information and trade secrets is proficient and it’s aggressive.'”

“The Securities and Exchange Commission’s chairman made the decision to freeze his staff’s plan to approve the sale of the Chicago Stock Exchange to a Chinese-led group after consulting about the subject with the White House, people familiar with the matter said” [MarketWatch].

“WTO to Probe Canadian Jet Subsidies in New Bombardier Blow” [Bloomberg]. Good thing Quebec isn’t Catalonia. Oh, wait…


Puerto Rico

“[C]ompanies in Puerto Rico are saying their biggest challenge remains blocked roads and scarce fuel supplies that keep them from getting goods moved beyond San Juan’s seaport. Some of that needed fuel is at the seaport as well, and federal aid workers have created a distribution system to transport a steady supply of diesel to hospitals for their generators. It’s the kind of makeshift effort that relief groups and residents hope will repair stunted supply chain enough to bring in even greater relief” [Wall Street Journal].

“[A]n estimated 10,000 containers containing relief supplies are sitting idle at the Port of San Juan in part because stevedoring companies tasked with moving them require cash or money orders to do the work, Kathy Fulton [of the executive director of the American Logistics Aid Network (ALAN)] said in a phone interview today. However, most of the commonwealth’s financial institutions have been unable to open due to the lack of power or because they have suffered physical damage from the devastating impact of Hurricane Maria, she said” [DC Velocity]. “What’s more, there is a shortage of trucks needed to haul the boxes because of a lack of fuel, the impassibility of many Puerto Rico’s roads, and little hope of getting in touch with drivers because the island’s communications systems have been badly compromised. In the short term, the 10-day waiver of the Jones Act may do more harm than good if it stimulates further traffic flows and pushes even more boxes onto the port where they can’t be moved, Fulton said.”

2016 Post Mortem

“A New Study Shows Just How Many Americans Were Blocked From Voting in Wisconsin Last Year” [Mother Jones]. “Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison surveyed registered voters who didn’t cast a 2016 ballot in the state’s two biggest counties—Milwaukee and Dane, which is home to Madison. More than 1 out of 10 nonvoters (11.2 percent) said they lacked acceptable voter ID and cited the law as a reason why they didn’t vote; 6.4 percent of respondents said the voter ID law was the ‘main reason’ they didn’t vote.” Yes, this is reprehensible behavior by the Republicans, but where the heck are the effing Democrats? With their resources, they would been fixing Voter ID problems like the DSA is fixing tail-lights! And they should have been at it since 2000, when Jebbie tried to steal Florida for his little brother with a fake voting list purge.

Obama Legacy

“After Failing to Prosecute Bankers, Obama Cashes In With Wall Street Speeches” [Common Dreams]. Liberal Democrats hate Trump not because he’s corrupt, but because he’s crude.


“Analysts are sifting through a mountain of just-released national polling from ABC News/Washington Post, CNN, and NBC News/Wall Street Journal, along with the continuous flow from the Gallup Organization, but a couple of snap impressions are already in order” [Cook Political Report]. “First, President Trump’s overall job-approval ratings have ticked up a few points from their low ebb over the summer. Some of the gain is attributable to him finally scoring a major legislative victory, albeit in an unexpected way—a deal with Democratic leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer that both surprised and appalled their Republican counterparts, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell…. Second, contrary to much speculation, Trump’s numbers among Republicans did not plunge as a result of the cross-partisan deal. In Gallup’s continuous tracking, his approval ratings among his fellow party members rose a couple of points as well. It was a reminder that when activists and ideologues rant on cable television and talk radio, they’re expressing their own views, not those of the of the rank and file or political leaders.”

Trump Transition

“Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) went off script Thursday and said he’d like to maintain the [state and local] tax deduction if possible. That undercuts the united front GOP leaders wanted to show on the matter — and potentially leaves them a $1 trillion hole in their list of pay-fors, potentially jeopardizing their entire plan” [Politico]. That was fast! The Big Six of this morning are now The Big Five Plus One!

Health Care

“Socialized Medicine Has Won the Health Care Debate” [Sarah Jaffe, The New Republic]. “Both Republicans and Democrats have badly misunderstood what makes Obamacare unpopular. What people don’t like are the inequities that still prevail in our health care system* not the fact that ‘government is too involved.’, When Vox’s Sarah Kliff visited Whitley County, Kentucky, to talk to Trump voters who benefited from the ACA, she heard complaints from those buying private insurance with their subsidies that their deductibles were still too high for them to access care. Others, not surprisingly, were angry that the very poor got Medicaid, while they had to pay monthly premiums for care they rarely used. But that anger hasn’t turned them against the program. Medicaid expansion—the “socialized” part of the ACA—remains wildly popular, with 84 percent of those polled by Kaiser Family Foundation saying it’s important to keep the expansion.” * Ha. I didn’t write a six-part series on “ObamaCare’s Relentless Creation of Second-Class Citizens” for nothing!

Realignment and Legitimacy

Excellent public relations. The Dog Caucus:

Stats Watch

Personal Income and Outlays, August 2017: “The next Federal Reserve rate hike may not be in December after all, based on an unexpectedly weak personal income and spending report that includes very soft inflation readings” [Econoday]. “Income is the best news in the report …. Now the bad news starts. Spending came in at only 0.1 percent as spending on durables, the likely result of Hurricane Harvey’s late month hit on Texas and related declines in auto sales, fell a very steep 1.1 percent to fully reverse strength in the prior month. Spending on both nondurables and services actually inched forward in August to 0.3 percent each. The really bad news comes from inflation readings as the core PCE price index, which is the Federal Reserve’s central inflation gauge, inched only 0.1 percent ahead while the year-on-year rate fell backwards… Data in this report, after inflation adjustments, are direct inputs into third-quarter GDP and the results will pull down estimates. Real spending fell 0.1 percent in August to cut in half July’s 0.2 percent gain. The Bureau of Economic Analysis which compiles the report could not quantify Harvey’s effect and had to make estimates for missing data. Yet the impact appears obvious and is the most tangible hurricane effect so far to hit the nation’s economic data. The next hurricane effects will be coming from Irma’s September strike on Florida.”

And: “The increase in personal income was below expectations, and the increase in PCE was at expectations” [Calculated Risk]. And: “July Personal income revised down to .3 and August only .2 further confirms income growth- the driver of consumption- has slowed down in line with the deceleration in bank lending, and the same seems to be the case with spending, with weak price indicators further confirming the same weak demand narrative. And the very low savings rate tells me there’s a lot more weakness to come” [Mosler Economics]. And: “The savings rate was unchanged – and historically is extremely low. Consumer spending is far outpacing income – not good news” [Econintersect]. “The backward revisions this month marginally lowered the year-over-year rate of growth for income and expenditures.”

Chicago Purchasing Managers Index, September 2017: “There are no hurricanes in Chicago where the PMI, which has been very strong all year, absolutely surged in September” [Econoday]. “Readings moved higher but it’s a surge in backlog orders, also hitting a 29-year high, that leads September’s report. High backlogs point to the need for hiring which has been very weak in this sample but did move back into positive ground in the month….. Outside of prices, the report’s sample isn’t reporting any direct hurricane effects though nearly 40 percent expect delivery times to begin lengthening at least slightly. This report, in contrast to this morning’s personal income and spending data, is yet another reminder that private and regional surveys, where sample sizes are small and responses voluntary, have been far outpacing hard economic data at the national level.”

Consumer Sentiment, September 2017 (Final): “Consumer sentiment ends this month about where it was at mid-month, at 95.1 for September which is strong but still down a sizable 1.7 points from August” [Econoday]. “Hurricane effects are likely behind the easing as respondents in Florida and Texas reported doubts about their financial situation. Yet confidence remains very high…. Consumer spending hasn’t been showing the kind of strength that consumer confidence readings have, a contrast underscored by the weakness in this mornings consumer spending data. But the strength of confidence in general, including confidence on the business side, is perhaps, along with the lack of inflation, the biggest stories of the 2017 economy.”

Shipping: “The impact of extreme weather on contracts of carriage” [Shipping & Freight Resource]. “Extreme weather events may have an impact on the trading of cargo vessels, for example during the recent hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria in the USA and Caribbean, as they give rise to legal and cover questions in relations to the contracts of carriage agreed by the carrier.” Very nerdy, but if this is what you need to know, here it is.

Shipping: “Today’s bargains, tomorrow’s noose” [Splash 247]. “Shipping’s simple, especially dry bulk – one good year, two years bad. That was the advice I was given as a cub reporter at the start of the century. The pattern held true enough through to 2003 at which point it went seriously off piste and has yet to correct itself. First came the supercycle, then Lehman Brothers imploded sending shipping into a recession on a scale not seen for a generation. However, the stars are rapidly aligning in my humble opinion for a return to this seasoned trading model, at least through to the end of this decade…. The supply/demand ratio for the dry bulk fleet will finally narrow in the coming months… Just as dusk follows dawn, this cycle promises to be short and weak. As ever there’s only one type of person to blame for this, the shipowner and his/her habitual weakness for a bargain. Newbuild prices are finally in the ascendant and many are rushing to buy cheap tonnage before Asian drydocks fill up. The amount of huge newbuilding orders we have been reporting on in the past few weeks in the dry bulk segment is a ticking timebomb for this brittle business, set to explode in 2019.”

Shipping: “In the past few years, the international shipping finance sector has experienced a massive crisis with bad debts accumulating amid the continued recession in several shipping sectors. European banks have substantially reduced the scale of their shipping exposure in order to repair their balance sheets while American private equity firms have realised shipping is not the easy profit center they had once anticipated” [Splash 247]. “In the meantime, Chinese financial leasing companies have stepped into the gap left by the European banks and US private equity firms, and are now strengthening their grip on the international shipping market. In order to seize opportunities from the central government’s One Belt, One Road initiative, Chinese financial leasing companies have accelerated their international strategies in the past couple of years.”

The Bezzle: “How the $100 Echo could cost you thousands” [Moneyish]. “Jonathan Hadad, an analyst at IBISWorld, explains that this is because ‘Amazon wants to be customers’ first and only retail choice, and convenience and simplicity plays a major role in that. By having Echo in the home, Amazon is making it extremely easy for customers to order goods from Amazon; all they have to do is say what they want, and it’s ordered and delivered to their door'”

The Bezzle: “So f**k Google, and allow me to explain…” [Facebook]. Go read the whole thing. As Stoller points out: “Also the person who wrote this complaint was the eCampaign director for Bush/Cheney 2004.”

The Bezzle: “Apple can patch bugs, but its biggest Apple Watch problem can’t be fixed” [Business Insider]. “[I]t seems as if Apple released this cellular watch because it was on a hardware road map from two years ago — “this has been our vision from the very beginning” — and because it could. And that’s ultimately a much bigger problem with the Apple Watch than some prerelease glitches.”

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 85 Extreme Greed (previous close: 79, Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 71 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Sep 29 at 1:47pm.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“At the height of his career, Russell embodied the activist athlete. He boycotted games to protest Jim Crow, and he traveled to murderous Mississippi to join civil rights activists. When asked if he would quit playing basketball to join the movement, he stated, “Yes, but only if it would make a concrete contribution. There’d be no choice. It would be the duty of any American to fight for a cause he strongly believes in.” Russell remained with the Celtics, but he continued to dedicate his life to activism. Earlier this week, he knelt in support of Kaepernick while wearing his Presidential Medal of Freedom” [Vox]. My father loved Bill Russell when I was a kid. Now I know why.

The 420

“Pot dispensaries pulled in more than $27 million in July, the first month of recreational marijuana sales in the Silver State, generating more than $3.6 million in taxes, according to figures released Thursday by the Nevada Department of Taxation” [247 Wall Street]. “The figures for weed sales in Nevada top those for Colorado and Oregon, which each sold more than $14 million in marijuana in their first months for legal sales. The state of Washington tallied $3.8 million in its first month. All those states have populations much larger than Nevada.”

Class Warfare

“The Physical Demands Of The U.S. Workplace” [Econintersect]. Handy chart from the RAND Corporation:

“On Thursday morning, the Supreme Court agreed to hear Janus v. American Federation, a case that could permanently hobble public-sector unions in the United States…. Now that President Donald Trump has put Justice Neil Gorsuch on the bench, he is almost certain to provide that fifth vote to deal the death blow to public sector unions, setting American back four decades” [Slate]. “Thus, while Janus will be a crushing blow to unions, it probably won’t be the last one dealt by the Supreme Court. Once the court’s conservatives establish that fair share fees violate the First Amendment in the public-sector context, they can turn to private-sector unions and deploy a similar analysis. In doing so, they will turn every state in the country into a complete right-to-work state, constitutionalizing an issue that was previously the province of the legislature.”

“The lack of coordination between staffing agencies and employers, and the gaps in the legal protections for workers have created a dangerous situation for temporary workers, according to a study of temp workers in Pennsylvania conducted by researchers at Temple University” [MarketWatch] (original). “Staffing agencies and host employers both assume that the other will handle workplace safety-related compliance, the researchers found. ‘Buck-passing’ between the two means that temp workers often will receive little to no training needed to perform their work safely — which results in many getting injured on the job, sometimes fatally.”

Americans who go to college are four times better off than everyone else

The Greatness That Is Twitter

“On Tuesday evening, Twitter announced that it is experimenting with doubling the length of tweets, allowing users to post up to 280 characters per message” [The Atlantic].

Fixed it for ya:

Twitter being Twitter:

News of the Wired

“18 Tips for Comic Book Artists by Jean ‘Moebius’ Giraud” [The Worlds of William Stout]. The linking is all screwed up on this one, but here’s an aggregation.

“A ‘right to repair’ movement tools up” [The Economist]. See NC here, here, here, here, and here.

“iPhone 8 Teardown” [IFIXIT]. “Come for the teardowns, stay for the repair goodness!”

“A UK firm is building the world’s first edible, humanitarian drone” [Business Insider]. Would sure come in handy in Puerto Rico right now….

“Lakes of mercury and human sacrifices – after 1,800 years, Teotihuacan reveals its treasures” [Guardian]. “Items unearthed included greenstone crocodile teeth, crystals shaped into eyes, and sculptures of jaguars ready to pounce. Even more remarkable was a miniature mountainous landscape, 17 metres underground, with tiny pools of liquid mercury representing lakes. The walls of the tunnel were found to have been carefully impregnated with powdered pyrite, or fool’s gold, to give the effect in firelight of standing under a galaxy of stars.”

“Neandertals made their own jewelry, new method confirms” [Nature].

“14 texts that every guy has sent at least once” [Quartz]. Perhaps not in so many words…

“Good Riddance To An Abusive Creep” [Current Affairs]. “What kind of person imposes a curfew on their ‘partner’ and locks them inside a mansion, dictating their clothes, regulating their personal interactions, and chastising them for breaking his “rules”?

“Hugh Hefner to Be Buried Next to Marilyn Monroe” [Billboard]. Oh, come on.

He asks a good question:

“[In Nathan Fiedler’s Nathan for You] host and creator Nathan Fielder most infamous stunt yet, he created a coffee shop called Dumb Starbucks, to compete against the real Starbucks. He argued that the stunt—in which he handed out coffee for free—was protected as parody, and he managed to drive a news cycle and spur customer lines around the block for days” [Quartz]. Paging Thomas Frank on “dumb”!

* * *

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 allergic 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 (MR’s sister):

MR writes: “This was taken today on the New York side of Lake Ontario, near Rochester. Not by me, by my sister, who has just moved up there from NYC. She writes:

On my walk this morning
Gray skies bring out the colors

* * *

Readers: Do feel free to use the dropdown and click the hat to make a contribution today or any day. Here is why: Regular positive feedback both makes me feel good and lets me know I’m on the right track with coverage. When I get no donations for five or ten days I get worried. More tangibly, a constant trickle of small donations helps me with expenses, and I factor that trickle in when setting fundraising goals. So if you see something you especially appreciate, please click the hat!


Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Guest Post, Water Cooler on by .

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. cm

    Washington state insurance rates go up 24 percent next year.

    Customers of the exchange will also have fewer insurance providers to choose from in 2018. In King and Pierce counties the number drops from seven to four, Snohomish County goes from six to three and Kitsap County from four to three.

    They blame expensive rx. God forbid citizens be allowed to buy drugs from Canada. Free country and all that…

    1. sgt_doom

      Well, both Senators Cantwell and Murray refused to join Bernie’s latest push for national healthcare, and previously they both voted down allowing the American consumer to purchase Canadian pharmaceuticals (very peculiar, when American biopharmaceuticals frequently purchase the cheaper Canadian generics then resell them to American rubes at elevated prices)!

      [sgt_doom: fighting Fake News since Nov. 23, 1963.]

    2. rd

      Due to the complete lack of quality controls in Canada, Canadians are dying in large numbers from bad quality pharmaceuticals. Its very important for Americans to be kept safe from such horrors.

      Still puzzled about why their average lifespan is longer than Americans considering how bad the Canadian health care system is.

  2. Wukchumni

    “What’s more, there is a shortage of trucks needed to haul the boxes because of a lack of fuel, the impassibility of many Puerto Rico’s roads, and little hope of getting in touch with drivers because the island’s communications systems have been badly compromised. In the short term, the 10-day waiver of the Jones Act may do more harm than good if it stimulates further traffic flows and pushes even more boxes onto the port where they can’t be moved, Fulton said.”

    Car-Go Cult

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Did Trump wait too long or did he OK the waiver too soon?

      In any case, isn’t this the perfect time, when roads are impassable, for drones to show the future belongs to them?

    2. sgt_doom

      Yet another reason to revisit that monorail system in Kobe, Japan, which survived their big earthquake several decades ago — most modern monorail systems would have likewise survived that hurricane which devastated most unfortunate Puerto Rico.

        1. witters

          Surviving earthquakes doesn’t count? (“The monorail is still working!” – “How impractical! No points!”)

  3. Roger Smith

    Twitter: “We sat around thinking of how best to do nothing and pat ourselves on the back.” Meanwhile… where is the edit button!?!?

    1. katz

      Twitter going public… the gift that keeps on giving.

      As long as their user numbers stay flat, we can keep expecting adjustments to the core service that current users do not want.

      1. Arizona Slim

        Count me as someone who seldom uses Twitter and LinkedIn. Also cutting back on Faceborg.

        Biggest discovery: The less time I spend on social media, the better I feel. I suspect that I’m not the only one.

        1. Mo's Bike Shop

          Twitter has a fundamental PR problem in that, if you are not a user, clicking on any interesting tweet reminds you of why you should never read the comments on Youtube. I tried it for two days when I got my brand new Ipad 2, and realized they were harvesting taste.

          Since Twitter has the ability to pinpoint a Paul Revere, even if Paul isn’t on the system, I expect it to last until ‘useless govmint server farms’ becomes a thing.

  4. Wukchumni

    It takes a licking and the plot keeps on thickening…

    The Bezzle: “Apple can patch bugs, but its biggest Apple Watch problem can’t be fixed” [Business Insider]. “[I]t seems as if Apple released this cellular watch because it was on a hardware road map from two years ago — “this has been our vision from the very beginning” — and because it could. And that’s ultimately a much bigger problem with the Apple Watch than some prerelease glitches.”

  5. Jim Haygood

    Simple statistics stubbornly defy the majesty of the Fed:

    The annual increase in the core PCE price index slowed to 1.3 percent after advancing 1.4 percent in July. That was the smallest year-on-year increase since November 2015. The core PCE is the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation measure and has a 2 percent target.


    Meanwhile, the curmudgeonly James Howard Kunstler offers a tart commentary on the sunset splendour of Bubble III:

    Poor old Karl Marx, tortured by boils and phantoms, was right about one thing: History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.

    Thus, I give you the Roman Empire and now the United States of America. Rome surrendered to time and entropy. Our method is to drive a gigantic clown car into a ditch.


    AH HA HA HA … but not before going down in style, our togas gleaming brightly against the crepuscular backdrop of cities on flame with rock ‘n roll.

  6. allan

    A Preliminary Analysis of the Unified Framework [Tax Policy Center]

    The Tax Policy Center has produced preliminary estimates of the potential impact proposals included in the “Unified Framework for Fixing our Broken Tax Code.” We find they would reduce federal revenue by $2.4 trillion over ten years and $3.2 trillion over the second decade (not including any dynamic feedback). In 2018, all income groups would see their average taxes fall, but some taxpayers in each group would face tax increases. Those with the very highest incomes would receive the biggest tax cuts. The tax cuts are smaller as a percentage of income in 2027, and taxpayers in the 80th to 95th income percentiles would, on average, experience a tax increase. …

    80 percent of the total benefit would accrue to taxpayers in the top 1 percent, whose after-tax income would increase 8.7 percent.

    1. allan

      Mr. President Pro Tempore, tear down this CBO score! An interesting thread:

      David Kamin‏ @davidckamin

      Many reasons Sen Budget Res is bad.
      But, here’s one hidden nugget that undermines accountability and transparency.
      CBO = no longer required.

      Apparently a CBO whose director was personally selected by Tom Price
      is nevertheless considered to be insufficiently ideologically reliable.

      File under The Best Way To Rob A Country Is To Run It.

  7. sdr

    While the effect of the voter ID law could have been strong enough to sway the Wisconsin results in the last election, the bigger issue seems to have been candidate quality. From the study’s appendix (https://elections.wisc.edu/news/Voter-ID-Study/Voter-ID-Study-Supporting-Info.pdf):

    Nominal Reasons for not Voting (weighted responses):
    Reason Yes (%) No (%) NA (%)
    Unhappy with choice of candidates or issues 50.8 33.5 15.7
    Not interested 27.5 49.6 22.9
    Not enough time 26.7 51.2 22.2
    Vote would not have mattered 26.2 51.2 22.6
    Away from home 20.1 62.0 17.9
    Ill or disabled 18.4 64.6 16.9
    Problem with early voting 12.5 61.5 26.0
    Couldn’t get absentee ballot 8.1 67.4 24.6
    Transportation problems 7.7 69.3 23.0
    Did not have adequate photo ID 6.5 69.4 24.0
    Lines too long 3.0 71.9 25.1
    Told at polling place that ID inadequate 2.9 72.7 24.3

    Main Reason for not Voting (weighted responses):
    Main Reason Percent
    Unhappy with choice of candidates or issues 33.0
    Ill or disabled 13.6
    Away from home 13.5
    Not enough time 9.3
    Not interested 8.8
    Vote would not have mattered 6.6
    No Reason Given 4.9
    Problem with early voting 2.9
    Transportation problems 2.1
    Did not have adequate photo ID 1.7
    Told at polling place that ID inadequate 1.4
    Couldn’t get absentee ballot 1.3
    Lines too long 0.9

  8. ChiGal in Carolina

    New Republic on single payer

    To the rest of us, however, barbarism is a system that decides who deserves to live or die by the color of their skin, the money in their bank account, the hours that they work, or their ability to work at all. This is now an American consensus. And if socialism is the medicine our system needs, the country is ready to embrace it—even by name.

    Although the author makes some good points, this is generally disingenuous and not helpful. First, single payer is NOT SOCIALISM, and nor is Medicaid presently. The govt is the PAYER but the providers are PRIVATE, if not for profit (at least in the House bill).

    And her thesis, that the injustice of our current system is what a majority of folks have come around to seeing, is pure wishful thinking.

    Depending on their values there are plenty of people who absolutely think it’s fine for others to get the care they can afford, rather than need. (Except of course when it’s themselves, but many lack the empathy to generalize.)

    People have different values, that is why Health Over Profit is training its worker bees to meet people where they’re at. For many, social justice IS the issue. For others, the successful appeal is to the inefficiency and wastefulness of the current system. Those who value God and country are more likely to respond to a nationalistic appeal for a system that compares favorably to the rest of the world that we can be proud of.

    And so forth…but calling it socialism is a double-edged sword at this point.

    1. curlydan

      Good point on trying to call single payer=socialism. By that type of argument, McDonnell Douglas, Raytheon, other arms manufacturers are SOCIALISTS! Their weapons payments come from a single payer, the Dept of Defense.

      1. a different chris

        Not agreeing. Nobody knows what the word “socialism” means anymore Here’s a good description of, uh, why you can’t describe it: https://www.vocabulary.com/dictionary/socialism

        It’s not communism, obviously, so I’m not sure what distinction is being made about the provider also being public. The closest to an agreement seems to be “under government control” and if you think single-payer isn’t government control I guess I understand (the DoD examples are pretty good of the cart not only leading the horse but flinging it on the ground and assaulting it) but corruption of the process doesn’t mean that the definition is wrong.

        When Americans think of communism they think of the USSR, when they think of socialism they think of Europe and that works for me.

      1. Wukchumni

        So, we were at a pre-wedding get together about 5 years ago in a bar in Grass Valley, Ca. and had barely met the brother of the bride when he started railing on socialism and it soon devolved into the usual Fox planted stories/news, you can tell after just a minute or 2.

        So, I asked the man what he did for a living?

        And he told me he was a guard @ a prison in Reno and his wife was a nurse there, and added: “You might say I kick em’ and she fixes em’.”

        Part of me ached to say that they owed their jobs to socialism, but instead I ordered another Sierra Nevada, and slid away to talk to somebody, anybody else.

  9. marym

    Morning musings;

    Trump administration undermining access to healthcare


    (CHIP expires today.)

    Today Trump informed the National Associations of Manufacturers that Puerto Rico is “an island surrounded by water, big water, ocean water” and fretted over how the government of PR was going to fund its recovery and pay its debt.

    Per twitter he’s going to his NJ golf property for the week-end.

    Beyond individual examples of existing and expected failures, it’s disconcerting to realize that, except for police functions like ICE and border patrol, surveillance, incarceration, in many respects it seems as though there’s no domestic federal governance now. This feels different……

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      What if he learns North America is basically a big island surrounded by water? Nuke the Panama Canal? Fill it in! Fill it in!

    2. sleepy

      Probably already been mentioned hereabouts, but the Trump property in Puerto Rico went bankrupt while owing the commonwealth something on the order of $25 million.

  10. Vatch

    … stevedoring companies tasked with moving them require cash or money orders to do the work, …

    After seizing Iraq, the U.S. government sent pallets of shrink wrapped hundred dollar bills to that country. Why can’t the U.S. government do that in Puerto Rico? Maybe some of the pallets should have twenty dollar bills instead of hundreds.

      1. nippersdad

        Agreed. Their vulture capitalists don’t live there. They will get theirs by refinancing PR’s debtload with a balloon payment backed up by the Treasury, then they don’t even have to pay for the plane’s gas.

        And, as usual, the proles can eat cake.

    1. sleepy

      Had an active duty JAG friend who was stationed at Ft. Leavenworth back in the early 80s who routinely marched in anti-missile deployment protests in Kansas City though not in uniform.

      She always made a point to wave at her Army colleagues who were snapping pictures of the protestors. She caught a little flak but since she was an attorney and they knew she’d make a stink, they weren’t able to do much to her.

      Given the current repression of dissent, not sure she could pull it off nowadays.

    2. Matt

      Love the nutty commenters on that article screaming for his head. I’m sure these are the same people who mock college students as overly-sensitive “snowflakes.”

  11. Jim Haygood

    Richard N Haass, president of the warmongering CFR, catapults the propaganda:

    Under what circumstances should leaders and populations seeking to leave one country and establish their own be supported? Let me suggest some that should be applied:

    • A history that indicates a clear collective identity for the people in question.

    • A compelling rationale, in the sense that the population must be able to demonstrate that the status quo is imposing a large political, physical, and economic price.

    • The population makes clear that it strongly favors a new and separate political status.

    • The new state is viable (the last thing the world needs are more failed states).

    • Secession does not jeopardize the viability of the rump state or the security of neighboring states.

    By these standards, there is a persuasive case for Kurdish independence.


    Wonderful! Doubtless the US weapons ratline is already flowing abundantly into the Iraqi deserts.

    Meanwhile, California will meet these same criteria if its citizens approve a proposed referendum. Getting out from under the thumb of sleazeball imperialists like Richard Haass is an excellent reason to secede from the US, then let it boil in its own militarist juices.

    1. José

      By these (Haass, that is) standards the US should be coming out strongly in favor of Catalonia’s independence.

      Yet Trump has condemned the Catalan referendum and supported Rajoy’s position.

      Here – as well as in other foreign policy issues – so-called “standards” seem to be just a bad disguise for crude (no pun intended) interests.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The fault, then, was the failure of Washington to recognize the Confederacy, as a new nation, applying the criteria above.

      To add salt to the wound, not all forts were promptly evacuated. Like today, too many military bases everywhere.

      The moral thing to do, then, was, after exchanging ambassadors, to impose crippling economic sanctions.

      In that alternative universe, the Confederacy might still be agrarian today, and free of slavery, but without state surveillance of their citizens.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Even then, it would still not be a civil war, but a regime-change crusade.

          Would that nation be worse than North Korea today?

          Maybe not, but if yes, it would not likely be a nuclear power, and while we are limited on how we can deal with Mr. Kim, I think we can have our way with the non-nuclear powered Confederacy.

          Should it be a nuclear power, then, I think we talk peace, like we should be talking peace with North Korea, because it’s crazy not to talk peace with Mr. Kim.

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        but without state surveillance of their citizens

        My first thought is that you don’t understand the powers-that-rule in the South. But. on second thought, you may be correct in that if the Confederacy had won its independence, the number of humans labeled “citizen” would be far smaller than it is today.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          You’re right.

          Most workers in that alternate universe would probably be from other countries.

          1. WobblyTelomeres

            We can probably agree, then, that the fictional Confederacy would surveil the piss out of their non-citizens. In the real world, of course, things are different. /s

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              I would like to add that, they would be likely free of slavery, because chances are management experts from the US would convince the rich down there that debt-burdened serfs are cheaper.

              You lift those crippling economic sanctions, and you don’t have to pay to house or feed anyone. Plus, they are on their own for health care. Smart business persons know emancipation would be the way to go.

  12. MichaelSF

    Price has resigned as HHS secretary. It sounds like he’s offering to pay about $50K to reimburse the government for the $1M worth of flights. Such a deal!

      1. nippersdad

        …and it looks like he was priced out of the market. His replacement will, no doubt, be chosen for his ability to buy his way out of embarrassments in a way that Price was not.

    1. RUKidding

      Colin Kaepernick kneeled and then gave $1million to American citizens

      Tom Price stood and stole $1million from American citizens

      Who’s the patriot?

      Notice that Price isn’t coming close to paying back what he STOLE from taxpayers.
      File under: IOKIYAR

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It would be nice if senators would kneel first thing every day it’s in session.

        I definitely would kneel the next time I hear the anthem in my house (I believe it’s a private thing for this private citizen).

  13. Ned

    Marilyn Monroe is not “buried” in Westwood, what’s left of her is in a filing cabinet like wall niche in a wall. “Hef’, what a slimy creep, will get his place in the wall.

  14. Elizabeth Burton

    Could someone in the commentariat please point me to a sound resource that lists the malfeasance of St. Barack as either a numbered list or bullet points. It’s exhausting rebutting the worshippers’ misconceptions one point at a time.

      1. Darius

        Two glaring omissions: Obama’s embrace of austerity, leading to permanent stagnation, the capture of Congress by Republicans, and Trump capturing the White House. Using underwater homeowners to fo the runway for the big banks. Other than that and the stuff on Berman’s list, he’s a paragon of decency pluralism and fair play.

  15. Eureka Springs

    Good lord… all these facebook links. Next thing I’m going to find out most NCers are commenting from a McDonalds inside Wal-Mart while your selfies are being printed.

    Putin won!

  16. Jeff W

    What people don’t like are the inequities that still prevail in our health care system* not the fact that ‘government is too involved.

    I think what people don’t like is that (1) they may not get health care or (2) even if they get health care, the cost is unacceptable. By cost, I don’t just mean the money they have to pay, I also mean the byzantine complexity, the sheer effort, and the uncertainty involved in the whole process. (And people, by and large, now know that in other advanced countries, you just go to the doctor and you get, well, health care. Our system is not just exorbitantly costly, it’s rightly perceived as being completely unnecessary as well.)

    When you don’t get something, you are more concerned if someone else gets it. “That’s unfair!” If you do get something, you are a lot less concerned that other people are getting it, too (even if they might be, say, paying less in taxes).

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      What people dislike is that somehow expecting your doctor to be as available and as affordable as a plumber makes you declasse.

  17. Wukchumni

    Zales not good enough for them?

    “Neandertals made their own jewelry, new method confirms” [Nature].

    1. Oregoncharles

      Making jewelry is one of the marks of full humanity.

      The discovery that modern humans interbred with Neanderthals has not been fully digested. It means that Neanderthals were human; apparently they weren’t even as odd looking as generally depicted, and could pass on the street in a modern town.

      ( Biologists commonly play fast and loose with the “species” designation; the technical definition is that there is a barrier to breeding. Technically, this means that large dogs are a separate species from small dogs (if you’ve ever seen this spectacle, you’ll know what I mean), and OTOH, dogs, wolves, and coyotes are all the same species. A 3-way hybrid that’s adapted to cities is now spreading through the northeast and will soon become the dominant wild canid.)

      That makes our species far older than usually thought. The separation from Neanderthals occurred at least 600,000 years ago, so humanity is at least that old.

      I suppose that means we have less excuse. We should have learned by now.

      1. Mo's Bike Shop

        It’s more complex than that. Like we’ve all got a smattering of Neanderthal genes. Unfortunately anyone puncturing 19th century ideas of nation=heritage is in for a lot of trouble on the internet. I’m currently working through the blog of a genetics geek who is trying to come to terms with postmodernism. He’s disappointed.

        I’m not someone with a beginning of a clue on genetics, but I read people who understand what’s going on in genetics who have to deal with people’s expectations about categories.

        One thing we know about Denisovans is that Sapiens didn’t consider them another species. And proved they were not.

        …And if you learned a fact about genetics more than 5 years ago, you should probably go double-check the latest info :)

  18. allan

    In Power Move at Uber, Travis Kalanick Appoints 2 to Board [NYT]

    … On Thursday, Uber and one of its investors, Goldman Sachs, made a proposal to the board that would reduce Mr. Kalanick’s voting power at the company, according to people briefed on the negotiations, who asked to remain anonymous because they were not authorized to speak publicly. The board could vote on the proposal as early as Tuesday, these people said.

    In response, Mr. Kalanick made a move late Friday to reassert his control. The former chief, who holds outsize voting rights at Uber, said he had added Ursula Burns, a former chief executive of Xerox, and John Thain, a former chief executive of Merrill Lynch and the New York Stock Exchange, to the eight-member board. …

    Burns, while on Obama’s jobs council, oversaw rearranging the deckchairs and massive job cuts at Xerox.
    Thain, while CEO at Merrill Lynch, spent $1.25 million to redecorate his office in early 2008.
    Both look like perfect fits for Uber.

  19. P. Wisdom

    On the assertion “Liberal Democrats hate Trump not because he’s corrupt, but because he’s crude.”

    Not really, because in truth: “Liberal Democrats hate Trump not because he’s corrupt, but because he’s not of their class.”

  20. BoycottAmazon

    Similarly, when we interact with “friends” on social-networking sites or through texting, it can feel like we’re getting quality social contact, but we are not. It turns out that face-to-face interaction with other people—real people, right in front of us, not characters on TV or friends we communicate via text messages—is absolutely vital for longevity and happiness. In fact, it is a larger contributor than exercise or diet!

Comments are closed.