2:00PM Water Cooler 10/12/2017

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“Delta has no intention of paying 300% Bombardier jet tariff” [CNN]. “”We do not expect to pay the tariffs and we do expect to take the planes,’ said Delta Chief Executive Ed Bastian on Wednesday morning on the company’s earnings call. ‘We will not pay tariffs that are being discussed and debated.’ Bastian cautioned that there may be a delay in starting delivery of the first [C Series] jets from Bombardier, which are due to arrive in spring of 2018. But he anticipated there would be a conclusion to the trade dispute between Bombardier and Boeing over the next 12 months.”

Long-time aerospace industry analyst, Richard Aboulafia: “Let’s look at [Boeing’s] motivation. First thing that happened when Trump took office was he tweeted at them. It was an attack. He went after Air Force One to ‘cancel order.’ Simultaneously he threatened to impose a 45% tariff on Chinese imports which would have closed off [Boeing’s] biggest single export market by way of retaliation. At the same time he criticized the Super Hornet effectively as a piece of junk. If I were Boeing management, I would be scared stupid. And frankly I think [Boeing] reacted by doing everything they can to help [Trump] pander to his economic nationalist base” [MarketWatch].

“Boeing a ‘Subsidy Junkie,’ U.K.’s Labour Says in Bombardier Spat” [Bloomberg (Re Silc)]. “‘Boeing has absolutely been sucking at the milk of corporate welfare in America for far too long,’ [Labour’s trade spokesman Barry Gardiner] said on Bloomberg TV. ‘They need to understand that the way in which they are playing this does not sit well with U.K. parliamentarians.'” Good clean fun, but one does not “suck” “at” “the milk.” Block that metaphor!

“The U.S. stance calling for provisions such as a “sunset” clause on the trade deal that would raise uncertainty for businesses over whether the trade pact will even last. The administration is trying to change economic calculations for companies as they consider where to place manufacturing and investment, and potentially shift today’s cross-border supply chains into the U.S.” [Wall Street Journal].

“Business groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable that have long provided the bulk of the support to get trade agreements through Congress are increasingly alarmed about the Trump administration’s plans for revamping NAFTA” [Politico]. “an ad hoc coalition of business groups that includes National Association of Manufacturers, the National Foreign Trade Council, the Coalition of Services Industries, the American Farm Bureau Federation and the National Pork Producers Council hit Capitol Hill on Wednesday to enlist lawmakers in their campaign against the Trump administration’s new approach to trade policy.”

“Trump was tight-lipped about the progress of the trade talks, but he raised the possibility of pursuing a trade deal with Canada if the three-way NAFTA pact were to fall apart. ‘It’s possible we won’t be able to reach a deal with one or the other. But in the meantime, we’ll make a deal with one,’ Trump told reporters in the Oval Office on Wednesday. However, Trump added that ‘we have the chance to do something very creative that’s good for Canada, Mexico and the United States.'” [Politico].

“As Battle Over NAFTA Investor Protections Heats Up, Trinational Coalition Delivers 400,000 Petitions Demanding Elimination of Corporate Rights and Tribunals” [Public Citizen]. “Growing public opposition to the expansive corporate privileges at the heart of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) took center stage as the fourth round of NAFTA talks began today in Washington, D.C. U.S., Mexican and Canadian civil society organizations delivered more than 400,000 petitions demanding that NAFTA’s expansive corporate rights and protections and Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) be eliminated during renegotiations.” And: “While just 50 known ISDS cases were launched in the first three decades of this shadow legal system, corporations have launched more than 50 claims in each of the past six years. More than $392 million in compensation has already been paid out to corporations to date after NAFTA ISDS attacks on oil, gas, water and timber policies, toxics bans, health and safety measures, and more. More than $36 billion in NAFTA ISDS attacks are pending.”


Puerto Rico

Trump tweets:

Why not? We’re going to be in Afghanistan forever.


Trump Transition

“EPA’s Repeal of Obama’s Clean Power Plan Won’t Happen Overnight” [Governing]. “Proposing a rule to undo a regulation takes the same time-consuming, pain-staking, research-based, legally-defensible process used to adopt the very rule targeted for elimination.”


“Obama to Campaign in Virginia Gubernatorial Race” [Bloomberg]. “But Virginia is one of only two states electing new governors this year and the swing state’s contest is viewed as a possible early referendum on President Donald Trump, who has tried to undo many of Obama’s signature legacies.” I’m told that Democrat Ralph Northam is not a single payer supporter. Do you suppose Obama will ever campaign for anyone who supports Medicare for All?

“‘There are certainly a number of Democrats who wish Ralph Northam were more liberal, but there’s little evidence that they’re willing to see Gillespie become governor in order to send a message from the Democratic left,’ says Stephen Farnsworth, a political scientist at the University of Mary Washington. ‘When politics are as partisan as they are, you’re looking at a situation where the other side is so unappealing that whatever differences that existed in the primary are papered over to make sure your tribe prevails.'” “Tribe.” Hmm.

“Undisclosed deal guaranteed Roy Moore $180,000 a year for part-time work at charity” [WaPo]. “[T]he Foundation for Moral Law.” I love the effrontery.


“How Elizabeth Warren Became the Soul of the Democratic Party” [The New Republic]. Since she’s co-sponsoring S1804, maybe. Or maybe not: “Warren, unlike Sanders, is a loyal partisan who represents a consensus between her party’s left-wing economic populists and groups aligned with the establishment like the Center for American Progress, where she keynoted an Ideas Conference earlier this year. The establishment feels more comfortable with Warren’s mission of reforming and ‘unrigging’ existing economic and political systems, compared to Sanders’s approach of indicting and supplanting these systems altogether. ‘Warren is a party person,’ Howard Dean, the former Vermont governor and ex-chair of the Democratic National Committee, told me. ‘Bernie is an iconoclast.'” Poor HoHo. Our Revolution is getting people to run all over the country, and supporting winning candidates, too. That’s being “a party person,” just not Dean’s version of it.

“Bernie Sanders to deliver opening-night speech at Women’s Convention” [USA Today]. That should cause some Clintonite heads to explode.

New Cold War

“The shock and outrage over Facebook and Google ’embedding’ people in the Trump campaign is dumb” [Business Insider]. “Marketers that spend a lot of money with a given media partner get special treatment.”

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Yes, Florida’s pool of voters is shrinking. Here’s why” [Tampa Bay Times]. Pesky voters:

In the nation’s largest swing state, the scrubbing of the roll results in more Democratic voters being listed as inactive than Republicans.

That statistical reality — in a state where the 2016 presidential election and the past two races for governor have each been decided by about 1 percentage point — suggests that Democrats have a larger group of voters who are on the move or who are not engaged politically.

My party needs to have a year-round voter registration effort,” said Steve Schale, a Democratic political strategist who played a key role in Barack Obama’s victory in Florida in 2008. “We keep seeing these peaks and valleys in voter registration. We’re not as engaged as Republicans, and a lot of our folks drop off. There has never been a year-round effort to sign up new voters.”

If that were a priority, the Democrat Party would have done it (thereby defeating CrossCheck, which had a far greater impact on election 2016 than the so-called “Russian meddling” they’re so hysterical about).

“It is time for Barack Obama to join the Trump Resistance full-time” [Charles Pierce, Esquire]. Why? Do the Democrats have another thousand seats to lose? Another three branches of government?

“According to Cornell Belcher, a prominent Democratic pollster who worked for President Barack Obama, attempts to win white working class votes in presidential elections should not be the Democrats’ top priority” [Thomas Edsall, New York Times]. More from Belcher:

Heightened tribal [there’s that word again’. polarization is the primary hurdle to Democrats’ ability to better compete and win white non-college voters. Avoiding that conversation isn’t going to work. We can’t solve for that angst with a promise to simply help make college more affordable [even if the most popular politician in America disagrees –lambert]. Until we can better engage these voters in a conversation that lessens their very real angst about the changes that are happening in the country and pivot to a compelling narrative about how we all win the future together or divided we will certainly lose it to our competitors, Democrats will struggle mightily to compete for white non-college voters broadly and particularly in The South.

(I’ve helpfully underlined the bullshit tells). What a steaming load. As I’ve pointed out, conceptualizing politics as tribalism is a recipe for punching sideways. Which is exactly what liberals — and conservatives — want. 50% + 1 elections as far as the eye can see, fought out in “battleground states” with squillions of dollars to consultants. Both party establishments love that. It’s win-win!

“City joins suit to prevent armed citizen mobilizations” [Daily Progress]. Charlotteville. “The complaint names more than a dozen individuals and organizations as defendants, including the Pennsylvania and New York chapters of the Light Foot Militia, the Virginia Minutemen Militia, Redneck Revolt and the Socialist Rifle Association [!].”

“Is This Small City the Future of Democratic Engagement in America?” [The Nation]. Lancaster, PA. “Hines introduces herself and then asks the crucial question: “What do you think of the political establishment?” “It sucks!” says the woman at the door….

“An impossibility theorem for gerrymandering” [Short, Fat Matrices] (original). “The U.S. Supreme Court is currently deliberating over whether a proposed mathematical formula [the “efficiency gap”] should be used to detect unconstitutional partisan gerrymandering. We show that in some cases, this formula will only declare bizarrely shaped districts as constitutional.”

Stats Watch

Jobless Claims, week of October 7, 2017: “With Puerto Rico still a wildcard, hurricane effects appear to be dissipating in initial jobless claims” [Econoday]. “Aside from the distortions from Puerto Rico, where claims may well spike in the coming reports, levels are returning to their pre-hurricane levels and pointing to great strength in the labor market.” And: “This was below the consensus forecast. The recent increase in claims is due to the hurricanes” [Calculated Risk]. And but: “The unwillingness to quit could be a factor holding back better wage growth, reflecting workers’ relative lack of bargaining power” [Wall Street Journal]. “The quits rate is trending at levels recorded before the recession began, but below 2001 rates. That could suggest that years of steady hiring and labor shortages reported in several industries have not yet made workers feel as if they’re likely to find something better if they leave their current jobs.”

Producer Price Index (Final Demand), September 2017: “A rebound for services and also hurricane-related increases in energy prices fed an as-expected 0.4 percent gain in producer prices for September. When excluding food and energy and also trade services, the gain moderates to only 0.2 percent which is also expected” [Econoday].

Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, week of October 8, 2017: “keeps retreating but remains at a very strong level” [Econoday]. But: “The Producer Price Index surged year-over-year. I would assume this is a hurricane affect” [Econintersect]. “I suspect the impacts are much broader than to just energy prices.”

Retail: “General Motors Co. (NYSE: GM) will temporarily close its Detroit-Hamtramck assembly plant for the final six weeks of the year as the company tries to winnow its supply of low-selling passenger cars” [247 Wall Street].

Retail: “Woman Trades McDonald’s Szechuan Sauce for a Car” [Eater]. “Rachel Marie of Macomb, Wisconsin, managed to get her hands on one packet of the stuff, and listed it up for trade on a Facebook group for swapping pins. Somehow, she instead managed to exchange it for a red 2004 Volkswagen GTI.”

‘Credit: “Families making between $25,300 and around $43,000 devoted 15.6 percent of their income to paying their debts last year, the first increase since 2010, and a factor that may be contributing to rising consumer default rates, according to Moody’s Investors Service” [Bloomberg].

Shipping: “New ocean freight digital players ‘over-hyped'” [Lloyd’s List]. I’m shocked. “Virtual forwarders and e-commerce firms offering only ‘fragmented’ and ‘piecemeal’ services, says analyst Alphaliner.”

The Bezzle: “Google is permanently nerfing all Home Minis because mine spied on everything I said 24/7 [Update x2]” [Android Police]. Nerfing: Reducing the power of. But surely what is nerfed (through a firmware update) can be unnerfed (through a second firmware update)? I find the fact that the functionality exists at all a little unsettling.

The Bezzle: “The World Must Spend $2.7 Trillion on Charging Stations for Tesla to Fly” [Bloomberg]. “To support half a billion EVs, the projected investment will require a mix of private and public funding across regions and sectors, and any auto company or government with aggressive targets will be at risk without the necessary infrastructure, the report said.” “Require a mix.” Why?

Five Horsemen: “Amazon shares hover just under $1,000 as GOOGL (the Alphabet shares with superior voting rights) remain just over $1,000.” [Hat tip, Jim Haygood].

Five Horsemen Oct 12

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 81 Extreme Greed (previous close: 83, Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 95 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Oct 12 at 12:07pm.

Life in the Colonies

“A federal judge ruled Wednesday that the Dakota Access oil pipeline can continue operating while a study is completed to assess its environmental impact on an American Indian tribe” [AP]. Sentence first, verdict afterwards….

“Nestlé Makes Billions Bottling Water It Pays Nearly Nothing For” [Bloomberg]. “The company’s operation in Michigan reveals how it’s dominated the industry by going into economically depressed areas with lax water laws.” Just like their Poland Springs operation in Maine.

Dear Old Blighty

Corbyn assaulted from the left (DD):

Police State Watch

This looks super-nasty (though the tweet is wrong; it’s not DHS, but Portland, Oregon police):

Reminds me of techniques used on CIA rendition flights. And it’s creepy that the police had these accouterments ready-to-hand.

Guillotine Watch

Ugly and vulgar:

Class Warfare

“Visiting working class America” [Brookings Institute]. “We came away with a lot of respect for the professionals we met … We talked to professionals from several programs…” And but much further down:

We knew going in but were still surprised by the diversity of the working class, which our study group defines as people with a high school diploma but no four-year degree, between the 20th and 50th earnings percentiles. In the western Ohio River Valley, they are all races, all ages, working and not working and more varied in origin and outlook than we could have imagined.


[I]t was hard in many cases not to feel that we as a nation have failed the working class and that they need better solutions from both the private and public sectors.

Since this is a year-long, [genuflects] “bipartisan” effort, I’m sure we’ll hear more of this.

“Unemployment is contagious” [The Week]. “Pavlina Tchervena, a professor at the Levy Economics Institute of Bard College, wrote a paper arguing that the mechanics by which unemployment spreads are literally those of a disease or epidemic.” An animated map:

“[I]f we look at unemployment as a dangerous disease that’s always threatening to turn into an epidemic, a lot of U.S. macroeconomic policy looks perverse. It’s the explicit goal of monetary policy to maintain a certain level of unemployment to control inflation.” So, maintaining a certain level of gastroenteritis to… to…

“The politics of depression: Mark Fisher on mental health and class confidence” [RS21]. “Magical voluntarism is the dominant ideology and unofficial religion of contemporary capitalist society, [Mark Fisher] argues, pushed by reality TV experts and business gurus as much as by politicians…. This knock-on effect of magical voluntarism – the way in which it reinforces our powerlessness – is why the happy clappy self-delusion inevitably fails and flips over into a depression that makes us feel like helpless individuals. We are told we can do anything if we want it enough. But we know that this is not true. We end up paralysed, unable to want anything but equally unable to escape the “pull your socks up” voice in your head.” Interesting, but surely there is a biological aspect to depression as well. (For a materialist, how could there not be, but Fisher’s explanation strikes me as handwaving. Still, I like “magical voluntarism”!)

“USC medical school dean out amid revelations of sexual harassment claim, $135,000 settlement with researcher” [Los Angeles Times]. Scratch another overpaid administrator… And it looks like the researcher had impunity because he brought in the grant money. Neloliberal U!

“States Hand Out Corporate Subsidies As Their Pensions Suffer” [International Business Times]. “A study released Wednesday by the advocacy group Good Jobs First and the National Public Pension Coalition spotlighted the connection between those two fiscal issues. Among a dozen states where the costs of providing public pension benefits have become a point of political contention, in nine of those states, those costs are dwarfed by how much they spend on corporate subsidies or lose through business tax breaks and loopholes, such as offshore tax havens, on an annual basis. Three dealt with annual pension costs around one and a half times the size of the revenues they’ve forgone through such loopholes.” A “Good Jobs First” study, so perhaps cum grano salis, but they do track this data.

News of the Wired

“Scientists find gold worth $2 million in Swiss sewage” [CNN]. Leaching out of the toilet paper, no doubt.

“Why Are More American Teenagers Than Ever Suffering From Severe Anxiety? [New York Times]. This being The Times, the article is about teenagers at a $910-a-day therapy center, so whatever these kids are anxious about, it’s most likely not getting shot, or working three sh*t jobs, or having a relative on opioids. But whatever. To answer the question: The gaslighting? The Jackpot?

“Top secret information about Australia’s military hacked” [news.com]. You guessed it: “The admin password, to enter the company’s web portal, was ‘admin’ and the guest password was ‘guest’.”

* * *

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 (AL):

Arrowleaf balsamroot.

Readers, thanks for the nice pictures of plants! Now I have a little bit of a stash.

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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. Wukchumni

    “City joins suit to prevent armed citizen mobilizations” [Daily Progress]. Charlotteville. “The complaint names more than a dozen individuals and organizations as defendants, including the Pennsylvania and New York chapters of the Light Foot Militia, the Virginia Minutemen Militia, Redneck Revolt and the Socialist Rifle Association [!].”

    We had a church in town, and the congregation/militia was all about guns, so much so that they had a target range beyond the pews, outside.

    Well, they up and left for greener pastures in the potato state, and locals like to say:

    Idaho’s gain is our gain…


      1. Wukchumni

        “Williams went to Cuba in 1961 by way of Canada and Mexico. He regularly broadcast addresses from Cuba to Southern blacks on “Radio Free Dixie”. He established the station with approval of Cuban President Fidel Castro, along with assistance of the Cuban citizens, and operated it from 1962 to 1965.”

        “During the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, Williams used Radio Free Dixie to urge black soldiers in the U.S. armed forces, who were then preparing for a possible invasion of Cuba, to engage in insurrection against the United States.”

        …a real beaut

  2. WobblyTelomeres

    Good clean fun, but one does not “suck” “at” “the milk.” Block that metaphor!

    Bad, bad metaphor!

    Gawd, I’m stone cold sober and you’re still cracking me up, Lambert.

  3. Wukchumni

    “Scientists find gold worth $2 million in Swiss sewage” [CNN]. Leaching out of the toilet paper, no doubt.

    Somehow Switzerland ended up with a heck of a lot of all that glitters after WW2, despite no mining activity occurring during the conflict…

    How to clean it up?

    You simply strike a veritable shitlode of 1935 dated 20 franc gold coins about a decade after the supposed issuance date.

    See how easy that was…

    1. Abigail Caplovitz Field

      I love that the Women’s March organizers explicitly invited Bernie because of his track record and what he’s currently doing, and didn’t consider him categorically disqualified based on gender. As a woman, that’s how I’d want to be considered: on the merits, not categorically disqualified based on gender. The fact that the Clintonians can’t see the problem with reacting: Couldn’t they find a woman? is a telling indictment of identity politics, and reminds me how during the primary when Bernie said sure, he believed Congress should be much more diverse, but more than gender or race he cared whether someone would stand up to Wall Street etc. he was denounced as racist/sexist.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        If Joe Biden was speaking, the ilk of Joy Ann Reid would celebrate Biden’s appearance. The outrage has nothing to do with a “women’s conference” being only for women attitude. Its about support for issues such as single payer, and people like Neera are Clinton loyalists who are a few more years away from being obsolete given the attitudes of primary voters.

        The DNC fundraising since Ossof is a great example. All that money was wasted. Even if you are cynical about donors paying Democrats to lose, why not find a group of courtiers who aren’t so stained by the Clinton legacy and lack of performance over the years? These Clinton people can’t beat Trump.

      2. Darthbobber

        They’re in silly land. The Tanden twitter ravers also say (without evidence that Clinton, Harris, et al were excluded. But the Facebook page for the event says that Clinton, Warren, Harris, Gilibrand were “unable to attend because of their schedules” (cough cough) but sent their support.

        There IS at this point, no actual schedule set for the times of the opening/middle/closing night speakers, either. Just a page of who the speakers are (with Sanders as the only male out of I think around 30).

        So Sanders giving THE BIG opening night speech is purely conjecture at this point.

        (Also the assumption that opening night slots inherently have pride of place in the hierarchy of speakers is by no means universally true of conventions I’ve attended.)

        It would by no means be surprising if he were, given that the organizers are allies, and that he is by far the most widely known of the speakers.

        On down the tweet tantrums, I also saw whinging and moaning about the $295/$125 registration cost, (with individual need-based “scholarships”). Not all that steep by the standards of such things when they have to mostly pay for themselves rather than being bankrolled by patrons. And given that I’ve never seen a Center for American Progress big event that you could touch for that cost, the concern trolling about that is pretty rich coming from this particular group of people.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          The leaked DNC emails demonstrate Weinstein was in regular contact with the Clinton campaign and urged trying to blame Sandy Hook on Sanders. This isn’t silly season as much as a demonstration of the kind of people drawn to the Clintons. They will say and do whatever it takes to hold onto power besides canvass or learn about delegate allocation in 2008 or the electoral college. Coming on the heels of a campaign largely built on emotional appeal of Hillary as the summation of all female suffering, I suspect there is questioning coming from both yellow dog Democrats and the voters who thought a primary would prevent a united front and voted for Hillary to end the primary and get to the general.

    2. DJG

      Roger Smith (exploding punctuation): Wowsers. Blaming Linda Sarsour and Nina Turner. Well, at least we can try to deport that darned Sarsour to Palestine or some other hell hole in the Middle East…

      Thanks for the twitter lead.

      Speaking of “tribal,” isn’t this what modern tribes do when someone gets out of line? Off with their heads?

      The problem with tribal is that if you go back to the classical world, your Athenian tribe or your Roman tribe was something that you were born into. But, hey, DWM world, so we wouldn’t want to go there.

      Especially after that twitter thread.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > your Athenian tribe or your Roman tribe

        I’m not sure that it’s useful to think of Athenians or Romans as tribes.

        That’s what bugs me about the whole (now rapidly propagating) trope; clearly, a tribe is a polity of some sort, but what? Is it really applicable to our current state? Or, more likely, does our political class wish it were, and is performatively trying to make it so? Via this fancy form of othering?

        1. Anonymized

          In James C. Scott’s The Art of Not Being Governed, a tribe is defined as a people adjacent to a state that is not themselves a state. Stateless peoples with no government, in other words. Tribes are always defined against a state. And people drifted into tribes from states all the time (and vice versa). Bandits, hunter-gatherers, and political refugees could all be part of the mix of people in one of these tribes. By this definition, the Athenians or Romans were definitely not tribes but the tribes they named in their writings definitely were.

          States always portrayed tribes as uncivilized heathens so I would agree that it’s definitely a form of othering. ‘Bunch of ignorant savages’, as it were.

          1. Procopius

            Errrrrmmm. “During the Roman Republic, citizens were organized on the basis of 35 tribes: four urban tribes of the citizens in the city of Rome, and 31 rural tribes of citizens outside the city.” Now, they may have defined ‘tribes’ differently than you — you were born into a tribe — but that seems like an acceptable example. I like the word “faction” better, as in the case of the Eastern Roman Empire, based in Byzantium or Constantinople, the Blues and Greens. Supporters of chariot racing teams who came to dominate politics.

        2. PhilM

          “Demes were combined with other demes from the same area to make trittyes, larger population groups, which in turn were combined to form the ten tribes, or phylai of Athens. Each tribe contained one trittys from each of three regions: the city, the coast, and the inland area.”
          Wikipedia, “Deme”

          I share some discomfort with the translation of phylai as “tribes”; it doesn’t give the right connotation. In that case, the “tribes” were simply assembled entities–indeed, they were geographically gerrymandered.

    3. Darthbobber

      Glad to see Neera and co make increasingly clear what it is that “The Resistance” is really resisting.

  4. Wukchumni

    “If you are wont to put your signature to forged deeds, what matters it to me that you sign them in temples built by your grandfather, or in front of the triumphal statue of your father?”~~ Juvenal

    et tu, Jamie?

  5. Carolinian

    Pardon some of us if we believe Obama had a hand in the Resistance from the get go. After all Brennan is his guy and the whole thing smacks of a “Chicago style” takedown.

    1. Pat

      I hesitate to think that Howard is that stupid and ill informed, but short of blackmail that may be the only explanation. Well that, or the water at the DNC has some powerful and long lasting drug that causes a form of Clintonite Stockholm Syndrome.

      I hope he is getting roasted but good, but I doubt it.

    2. Sid Finster

      This has to be sarcasm.

      Does anyone know whether it is possible to be unwittingly sarcastic? Asking for a friend.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Its called being out of touch. Yes, Dean is obviously a healthcare lobbyist, but offering the Clintons to help an island in the Caribbean is just mind blowing. Is the Clinton Foundation even open anymore? The Clinton Global Initiative (the CGI) shut down at the beginning of the year due to the lack of potential investment returns.

        1. JBird

          I guess it is being clueles, but I could not follow all the snark, in-crowd insults, and weird comments.

          It’s just bizarre.

          1. JBird


            Bernie is a growing tumor in the body of the Democratic Party who will betray us in 2018 and 2020.

            The more I re-read those tweets the more I understand but my word, it’s still a bizarro world.

              1. JBird

                Here we are. It is a bit buried.

                <a href="

                Bernie Sanders is a growing tumor inside the Democratic Party. If they don't address it, he's gonna stab us all in the back in 2018 & 2020.— ___?___ (@ThinSkinTrump) October 12, 2017

                  1. JBird

                    A talented one?

                    Mixed metaphors is par for that twitter fight.

                    I’m waiting for some bright people to suggest bringing back HUAC or the House UnAmerican Activities Committee. They have already resurrected the Russian Menace so why not? Next will be Better Dead Than Red, and “news” stories about the Bernie’s and the Bros’ Communist/Socialist threat to the American Way of Life.

  6. Larry

    Forgive me if the Boston Meetup venue has already been picked:

    Re: Boston Meetup. I would recommend the Westin Waterfront hotel: http://www.westinbostonwaterfront.com/

    The lobby bar is quite large and can handle a sizable walk in group. There are no reservations for it, but luckily there are no very large conferences at the nearby convention center.


    You can walk to the hotel from South Station and take the Silver line from the Airport and other parts of the city.

    No hotel would guarantee that they would not be busy on a given night as they spaces are not reserved and all recommended booking a private space if we wanted to be assured of having a gathering space. I’m assuming we don’t want to do that, so the Westin Waterfront looks like a good bet to me.

  7. Carolinian

    M of A on the web’s short attention span.

    News content is now of lesser relevance. “Clicks” are generated by headlines:

    –70% of Facebook users only read the headline …before commenting
    –6 in 10 of you will share this link without reading it …
    –55% of Visitors Read .. Articles For 15 Seconds or Less

    In fairness it is hard to read stories on those little screens.


    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Some possibilities.

      1. Better headline writers than ever…masters in Haiku perhaps.

      2. Faster reading web users…because we’re the smartest ever…

      3. If you can’t say it in 50 words or less, the interview is over…

      1. Carolinian

        His larger point is that the headlines misrepresent the story contents or the facts contained within –implying that the editors don’t read the stories either.

        Or the editors could be trying to deceive people but it couldn’t be that, right?

  8. Enquiring Mind

    Effin Nestlé joined effin Google on my boycott list quite a while ago when I learned of their water scam, er, initiative.

    On a happier note, loved the animated data, such a great way to get a message out.

    1. Wukchumni

      Back west, we also have Nestlé bottling water on the cheap, despite their permit to do so expiring about 30 years ago~

      “A federal judge on Wednesday ruled in favor of the U.S. Forest Service, declaring valid Nestlé’s permit for water-bottling operations in the San Bernardino Mountains, on a motion filed by three environmental groups that sought to shut down the company’s efforts until its effects on the environment could be evaluated.

      With the ruling, federal Judge Jesus G. Bernal rejected plaintiffs’ arguments that the Forest Service had broken federal procedures in allowing Nestlé to remove water from the remote West Fork of Strawberry Creek, which is located above San Bernardino.

      The decision is related to a lawsuit filed in October 2015 by the Center for Biological Diversity, the Story of Stuff Project and The Courage Campaign, claiming that the Forest Service made errors in allowing Nestlé Waters North America to maintain pipelines, pumps and other structures in the San Bernardino National Forest for 28 years after its permit expired.”


    2. annenigma

      We have a farmer in the Flathead Valley who is getting preliminary approvals for a new water bottling plant despite numerous local protests and legal challenges. You can bet Nestle is already knows about this proposed plant and will be ready to buy it as soon as the local farmer is successful. They know they’d have a hard time getting approval on their own.

      The facility will be producing the plastic bottles on site, and in the process will use our clean water to rinse the microplastic debris out of those new bottles and dump the effluent back into our waters. None of the authorizing agencies consider plastic to be a problem, and certainly not a pollutant or risk to fish, waterfowl, or humans, so it’s simply not an issue.

      It comes as no surprise that the Trump regime has reversed the short-lived ban on plastic bottles in the National Parks despite the fact that it was a success. This particular water bottling plant, when/if given final approval, will be only about 20 miles from Glacier National Park which had over 3 million visitors during the short 3-month visitor season, and half the Park was closed part of that time due wildfires.

      That translates into a lot of thirsty people. If things keep up (going down) as they are, it wouldn’t surprise me to see vending machines for plastic water bottles located at parking lots and trailheads in the National Parks – for the convenience of visitors and prevention of dehydration. Ka-ching!

    3. Jane

      Nestle’s has been taking water in Ontario for years. Recently they’ve been forced to pay a whopping $3.71 per million litres. The “massive” profits the provincial government will make from selling our water will undoubtedly be very useful in paying down the provincial deficit. Unlike BC, we now refuse to simply give our water away.



  9. Pat

    While I am sure that Trump’s executive order allowing the purchase of insurance across state lines will further impact the ACA, AND that it will also be challenged in court, I cannot be the only one who fully expects it to destroy another well loved conservative meme regarding unregulated markets and healthcare.

    ACA (yeah it was conservative) oops.
    Tort Reform (less universal, but where it has been enacted) oops.
    and now this.

    I just don’t think this is going to do what Trump and Paul and the others who have been touting it for years think it will.

    1. Phil in Kansas City

      The obvious result of such policy is that it accelerates the race to the bottom, i.e., the state with the fewest requirements and the most lax regulators will wind up hosting the greatest number of insurers.

      However, a person in middle management at a large insurer told me that the reason the insurance companies themselves are not interested in selling across state lines is because the admin people have to make deals with local providers, hospitals, etc. For the Aetnas and Cignas to have to go to every possible provider of medical services in the US–well, it’s just too much work. It only works, sort of, if you are selling crap policies.

      Oh, right!

    2. Procopius

      I understand tort reform has been ineffective whereever it has been enacted, but there are still people like Ted Cruz and Rand Paul who are extremely enthusiastic about it.

      1. The Rev Kev

        You’re right. The author of that Daily Kos hit piece describes herself in her profile as a “feminist mama”. EYEROLL

    1. Darthbobber

      Interestingly, even the majority of the Kos commenters don’t seem to buy into the faux outrage here, though the ones who do are quite strident.

      A sample of the usual technique of that faction: One of them posts a screenshot of a USA Today article with the statement that Sanders is to be “AN opening night speaker” underlines, and then below misquotes the ONLY statement she underlined to say “THE opening night speaker. Then its pointed out by others what she did. Then she lets it pass without reply for awhile and proceeds to do exactly the same thing further down the thread.
      This is a fairly common technique there, just knowingly repeating obvious falsehoods even after they’ve been corrected.
      Also interestingly, it was announced weeks ago that the actual headline speaker was Rep. Maxine Waters. Which doesn’t stop the concern trolls who were never going to have anything to do with this convention in the first place from trying to generate a controversy by conflating AN opening night speaker with THE headliner.

      Or from feigning outrage that Kamala Harris or Liz Warren aren’t speaking when they were in fact invited but begged off on the grounds of scheduling conflicts.

      Thus far, the faux outrage storm has gained some limited coverage on CNN and the Detroit Free Press. Sad and pathetic. But tediously predictable.

  10. Tim

    “Visiting working class America” [Brookings Institute].

    The title should have been “This is How Out of Touch We Are!!!”

    1. justanotherprogressive

      I’m impressed (NOT) that they visited one city in the “heartland” for a few days and think they know so much about the working class!!! Seems to me they spent a lot of time in “rehab” facilities, and places that train workers …..is that what they think the working class are?

      They do claim this is going to be a year-long project but I also noticed that they said:
      “But we wanted to do some legwork first: to meet some ordinary people and get a feel for their communities. And we chose the Louisville metro area – western Kentucky, southern Indiana – because we thought it would offer us a good cross section of white and black working-class Americans.”

      So, does that mean they are done with the “legwork”?

      That “ordinary people” thing struck me wrong too….obviously the researchers don’t consider themselves “ordinary”……

      Spare me their pronouncements from on high, based on what they saw in a few days in one city…..

      1. Huey Long

        I’m impressed (NOT) that they visited one city in the “heartland” for a few days and think they know so much about the working class!!!

        Meh, they don’t even have to leave NYC to get a feel for the working class. We’re a quick subway ride away from the glitzy office towers of Manhattan.

        Hell, every one of those glitzy office towers has an army of working class folks working around the clock just to keep them running. They could reach out to us “ordinary folks” without even leaving their buildings. But they don’t…

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > They could reach out to us “ordinary folks” without even leaving their buildings. But they don’t…

          Maybe they need to talk to the professionals first, and haven’t gotten around to it.

  11. Wukchumni

    Ever think of what we’ll leave posterity to find of ours a few thousand years from now?

    Houses, naah
    Buildings, naah
    Dams, naah

    There won’t be much sadly, but one item should last the test of time:

    The Confederate memorial carved into Stone Mountain in bas relief, in Georgia.

    This will greatly confuse historians in 3954, who will think the Confederacy was victorious.

    1. Huey Long

      Ever think of what we’ll leave posterity to find of ours a few thousand years from now?

      Houses, naah
      Buildings, naah
      Dams, naah

      I think about this topic often Wukchumni, and you’re spot on. John Michael Greer has written extensively on this topic, most recently on his new blog (http://www.ecosophia.net/terror-deep-time/).

      Much of what we have constructed will quickly return to dust without constant human intervention:


      I also agree with you that in terms of more permanent works such as stone carvings, we’re definitely leaving some strange stuff for future archaeologists to discover:





      Our reliance on electronic data storage also troubles me from a legacy perspective. I fear that all of our written records will someday go the way of the Maya Codices, Aztec Codices, and Inca Quipus. Very few of these documents remain and most were burned during the Spanish conquests.

      1. Wukchumni

        I’m quite a fan of indian wall art in the southwest and most of what I see is 500 to 3,000 years old, and I think it’s hilarious that those relatively primitive people’s work will probably still be around thousands of years from now, in particular-petroglyphs.

        This is from Valley of Fire, less than an hour from Las Vegas, and this 3,000 year old panel is an instruction manual on how to hunt a bighorn sheep using an atlatl.


        There’ll be a yawning gap in the midst of our digital era currently, where it’ll confuse the future, as it’ll look as if we faded, but nobody will be sure why?

        1. Huey Long

          I think it’s hilarious that those relatively primitive people’s work will probably still be around thousands of years from now, in particular-petroglyphs.

          Yes, the irony there is absolutely delish!

          I’ll have to check out some of those cave paintings next time I’m out in the southwest US. They sound pretty cool!

      2. Wukchumni


        That reddit link from a structural engineer might be one of the best things i’ve read along collapse lines in a long time. Thanks for sharing.

  12. DJG

    “Reminds me of techniques used on CIA rendition flights. And it’s creepy that the police had these accouterments ready-to-hand.”

    If you follow the twitter thread, you’ll see that the protesters are at a sit-in with duck tape at ICE offices. They are non-violent protesters. So if you want to see what happens when the authorities don’t deal with torture, and punish torturers, you now have pictures of torture at home and right out in public–the endless Global War on Terror [™] showing exactly what is it about. Sound-deadening earphones and hoods? Why? Because the cops think that they can torture, and because no one has been sanctioned for torture, not John Yoo, not those two sorry-ass psychologists who should have their licenses lifted, you now get to see Abu Ghraib on the streets of Portland. Public lawlessness, now who’da thunk it?

    1. Wukchumni

      Can’t we clean up that nasty word: rendition?

      ‘Friendition’ has such a pravdaganda feel, in comparison.

    2. Angie Neer

      These pictures chilled me to the bone, the effect intended by the poster. However, notice that the cops also have ear protectors. It looks like they are using power tools to cut the links, and the hoods are protective.

      1. justanotherprogressive

        You are right.

        The Portland Police aren’t known to be particularly brutal and they do have experience with handling protestors, so that picture seemed odd to me.
        I looked up other reports, and yes, those were fireproof hoods and ear protectors because they thought they were going to have to use power tools…….

        1. B1whois

          Does this qualify as fake news? Because I feel like the promotion of this story was a fake out related to what really happened… Does that meet the definition of fake news? I now realize that I’m not even sure what fake news means…

          1. Wukchumni

            As we know,
            There are known knowns.
            There are things we know we know.
            We also know
            There are known unknowns.
            That is to say
            We know there are some things
            We do not know.
            But there are also unknown unknowns,
            The ones we don’t know
            We don’t know.


          2. justanotherprogressive

            No, I think whoever posted it just jumped to the wrong conclusions. If you’ve never been a firefighter/EMT you wouldn’t know about those hoods and ear protectors….mostly they are put on patients who need to be cut out of cars after car wrecks….

            There ARE PD’s out there that I wouldn’t put past using hoods…..

            1. Wukchumni

              Could it be the 2 perps merely willingly drank some dank beer like Keystone light-in Portland, and got busted for that?

          3. Angie Neer

            To me, it illustrates our lust for instant news and instant conclusions, and for the thrill of having our worst fears confirmed. The reaction in this forum shows everybody is vulnerable to sensationalism. I certainly experienced a rush of confirmation bias and had to talk myself down from it.

            I do believe real-time reporting of events like this is important, to get facts directly into the public domain. But that means we individually are responsible for analyzing the evidence critically. What a pain. ;-)

            1. Germo

              OK I get the excuse of hoods for protection but there is no way I can believe the chilling nastiness of the optics — hooding a prisoner — aren’t being considered as a secondary benefit to the officers using them. Portland Police are hardly mellow as a comment above suggest, as a matter of fact.

              Any reason that someone couldn’t be protected (by these heavily armed men, each one effectively licensed to kill) without cutting off their ability to see? Like with safety glasses/goggles the same way any normal person would do who’s grinding metal and shooting off sparks?

              I still think it’s disgusting whatever the excuse is for hooding a prisoner. The cops don’t care if they look bad. The message is this: GET USED TO IT.

            2. Lambert Strether Post author

              The fact that the original poster framed it as “DHS” when in fact it was the Portland Police should have made me step back. But the visual was so very, very powerful.

              (And I’m still worried about the police taking the hoods and earmuffs out of their lockers when the original rationale is gone. Police powers tend to expand, after all. Which doesn’t validate the wrong framing of the tweet.)

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > It looks like they are using power tools to cut the links, and the hoods are protective.

        You’re right. 50 lashes with a wet noodle to lambert for being taken in by a visual (which, to be fair, I’m primed to be taken in by, after Yoo, Abu Ghraib, militarized policing, etc.). And I know “digital evidence is not evidence,” but I still accepted the framing. Damn.

        That said, I still don’t like that the police have the “accouterments” to hand. They could be readily used in situations without power tools in the future; the tool comes to hand when fit for purpose…

        1. Procopius

          I’m reminded of what my drill instructors taught me in Army Basic Training, “Don’t believe anything you hear and only believe half of what you see.” I’ve never been able to stick with it, of course, but a lot of stuff is presented to us without context.

      1. JohnnyGL


        There’s a blurb about billionaire Tom Steyer bringing his fat bankroll to the party. Apparently, he wrote a letter calling on Dems to push for Trump’s impeachment. From what little I know of the guy, he sounds like he’s generally sincere about pushing for better policy, especially around climate change.

        I know billionaires can often struggle with having to learn things, but can someone grab him by the shirt collar and shake him violently and yell….”Are you out of your mind!?!??! Do you realize that if Trump gets impeached….then we get PENCE!?!?!?!?”

        We need to spend the next several years grabbing as many scalps in Congress as possible and then jam 900 year old Bernie down the Democratic Party’s throat in 2020. I do not care how old he is or if he’s on oxygen while in office. I want his VP, I want his cabinet picks and I want his judges in there. Most of all, I want my MEDICARE FOR ALL!!!

        1. Vatch

          …then we get PENCE!?!?!?!?

          Then “The Handmaid’s Tale” switches from being fiction to being a non-fiction documentary.

  13. Louis Fyne

    off-topic. But this is the ‘water cooler’. :)

    Is anyone else perturbed at the lack of “innocent until proven guilty” with Weinstein.

    Of course, I, as a layman, think he absolutely did it. But even everyone deserves a presumption of innocence in the media.

    just sayin. Being part of a “noble” lynch mob is still vigilante justice.

    1. Carolinian

      Well he’s sort of admitted that he did it and said he needs “help.” Plus there are all those high dollar settlements.

      Shorter Weinstein (like Ken Burns re the 60s): “mistakes were made.”

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      No. Is he in prison? Are the Feds seizing his house? Is he going to have trouble paying bills? Are posses being formed without a duly appointed sheriff to beat Weinstein up? If the answer is no, it would seem to me he isn’t having any real problems beyond his reputation. That isn’t vigilante justice. Its how accusations work. Many people are putting their names to the accusations whereas previously people such as Ashley Judd and Paltrow didn’t name names.

      Secondly, I would point out this isn’t a case where these accusations aren’t new. Then there is the Weinstein tape.


      Then there are the obvious bribes to the Manhattan DA…I mean campaign contributions by Weinstein’s defense team.

      Outside of the reporters who are also putting their names next to the story such as Farrow and the NYT reporters, are people doing anything other than reporting on the public accusations?

    3. Huey Long

      Is anyone else perturbed at the lack of “innocent until proven guilty” with Weinstein.

      Not particularly. I see the Weinstein debacle as more of a ritual symbolic human sacrifice to hoodwink the proles into believing that nobody is above the law and that these “casting couch” quid pro quo sex scandals are the exception and not the norm.

      How many other Weinsteins are out there in Hollywood perpetrating the same behavior and what’s being done about it? What about other industries? Will the Weinstein scandal lead to any meaningful change? Will organizations now stop covering for managers/executives who engage in this revolting criminal behavior?

      We live in dark times. Our society is sick and chock full of Weinsteins and Jeffery Epsteins who use their power to sexually abuse women. Each and every one of these victims are somebody’s wife, daughter, or sister and the lack of basic human decency on the part of the offenders is astounding.

    4. Darthbobber

      Not really. Everyone deserves a presumption of innocence when on trial for their life or liberty.

      If anybody is proposing to lynch Weinstein, I’m unaware of it.

      When it comes to forming a personal opinion, I don’t think I need to presume that Weinstein is telling the truth and dozens of other people are all lying. (and that’s leaving aside the NYPD recording.)

  14. Wukchumni

    Doesn’t that tweet from the reign of error about Puerto Rico say it all?

    Late to help, early to exit.

  15. MichaelSF

    re the Portland photo, there are metal pipes under the tape that the police are cutting through to separate the protestors. As someone who has a metalworking hobby I’m very familiar with hot sparks flying with lots of ear-ringing noise so I’m inclined towards a possible explanation of nomex hoods and hearing protectors as a health & safety precaution for flying sparks and high levels of noise. The full hoods would be in lieu of safety goggles combined with a hood having a view port. The police could be both acting to prevent injury as well as insulating themselves from a law suit if injury happened.

  16. Elizabeth Burton

    “Why Are More American Teenagers Than Ever Suffering From Severe Anxiety?

    Short answer: Education reform, which now compels our children, including some as young as kindergarten, to sit for hours taking standardized tests that measure nothing of value but on which decisions regarding their future, their teachers’ jobs, and the very existence of their schools depend.

    These are kids who spend at least six hours in school then go home and do another 2-3 hours or more of “homework,” which has been shown in study after study to be next to worthless in high school and totally worthless in the younger grades. They have no time to be with their families or their friends, or to just go out and stare at a tree for a while. Consider if you had to do your job all day then come home and do more of your job five days a week.

    The billionaires and their corporate cronies in state and federal government are killing our kids. And no, I’m not exaggerating. I only wish I were.

    1. Huey Long

      Consider if you had to do your job all day then come home and do more of your job five days a week.

      That’s always how I felt about school and homework as a child. I hated school with a passion!

      I mean you get bossed around all day by the adults, you don’t get paid, and then they have the gall to make you do more unpaid labor on your own time. What’s not to hate?

      The billionaires and their corporate cronies in state and federal government are killing our kids. And no, I’m not exaggerating. I only wish I were.

      You’re damn right they are. I highly doubt all this standardized testing BS and marathon homework assignment crap goes on at the Eight Schools Association institutions and other exclusive prep schools like Horace Mann where the children of the elite are educated.

      The current state of affairs in our schools isn’t about education rather it’s about crapping on and ripping off the proles.

      1. Wukchumni

        We were babysitting our 10 & 12 year old nephews in a wealthy area of San Diego, and not only are the schools all fenced in, but when the parents come to get them, it has the look of somebody visiting loved ones @ a prison.

        My 10 year old nephew lives just 1/3rd of a mile from his elementary school-an easy walk, but in our week of watching over them, I noticed that not one kid was walking to school by themselves, only occasionally did you see them walking, and always with mom or dad in tow.

        Boy, it’s changed from when I was 10, riding my trusty Schwinn Sting-Ray to school or walking there.

    2. Livius Drusus

      I think another big factor is social media. The article discusses the problem of comparing yourself to other people on social media where almost everyone filters their accounts to only show the best side of their lives. When everyone you know seems to have the perfect job, the perfect relationships, the perfect family, the perfect house, takes the best vacations, has the best gym body, etc., is is bound to make you feel miserable and inadequate. I am very happy that I grew up before the advent of social media. I would hate to be a teenager today. It is bad enough being an adult and having to deal with much of the same nonsense online from other adults.

      Here is a good article by Rahul Desai that touches on the issue a bit along with other factors causing more depression and anxiety among modern people.


      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Also pressure to

        1. be a saint
        2. be virtuous
        3. mostly or always unselfish
        4. mostly or always not scared, or scared on approved occasions (bad guys got elected!, etc.)

        Except I think we should aim to be virtuous.

        On the other hand, if you fear H1B workers will take away your job, or robots will, you should want to talk about it. Perhaps you find out it’s irrational. Hopefully, people on social media can kindly dissuade you of the notion and not simply dislike you and ostracize you.

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I wonder if there is more.

      In Japan, Korea, China, India, and other countries that send a lot of H1B workers, their kids probably spend even more time.

      Are they suffering more anxiety? Should we let them come as H1B workers?

    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      As for Americans in general, not just teenagers in the US, we can ask if there is more suffering, in the land of the free, founded to allow citizens to pursue happiness.

      We can argue that suffering is subjective, and look at something else – pain.

      Do Americans feel more pain than people of other countries? How do we compare?

      If you look at the amount of painkillers prescribed, maybe we are number one.

      And that does not include heartaches.

    5. Darn

      I heartily agree — abolish homework. Zero sum game, socialise more, or do your homework half-assed and spoil your future.

  17. Wukchumni

    Meanwhile @ 1600 Pennsylvania Ave…

    Is this a nuke which I see before me,
    A mouse click away from my hand? Come, let me clutch thee.
    I have thee not, and yet I see thee still.
    Art thou not, fatal vision, sensible
    To feeling as to sight? Or art thou but
    A bomb of the mind, a false creation,
    Proceeding from the heat-oppressed brain?
    I see thee yet, in form as palpable
    As this which now I draw.

  18. ewmayer

    So Mish, starting yesterday, switched his blog over to a new hosting service (which going to mishtalk.com auto-redirects one to) and radically altered the layout. Even when I enable Javascript for the top-level site – as far as I am willing to go due to concerns about BIg Data hoovering up my every mouse click – I see only a blank page with section headings. Clicking on e,g. Top Stories brings up nothing.

    Another victim of owner-induced autocrapification … Looks like it’s down to Naked Cap. and Wolf Street for me in terms of econ/finance sites. I was reading Mish less and less each year anyway, due to his inveterate hatred of labor and fetishization of disruptive tech, but still found him useful for the occasional piece outside those categories.

  19. Jeremy Grimm

    It seems there is some progress in measuring one of the positive feedbacks waiting to help humankind’s efforts at Global Warming.
    “O Say Can You CO2…”
    “As previously reported based on in-situ data, the rate of increase in atmospheric CO2 during the strong El Niño in 2015-16 was about 3 ppm/yr compared with ~2 ppm/yr in recent decades. This is the fastest increase in CO2 ever observed, and plausibly the fastest since the end of deglaciation 10,000 years ago. Yet this rapid increase in CO2 occurred during a period when fossil fuel emissions were nearly flat (though still massively more than the biosphere and ocean can quickly absorb).

    Liu et al found that 80% of the extra CO2 in the atmosphere during this period originated in tropical forests. Relative to a more normal year (2011), they found that tropical forests lost about 2.5 billion tons of carbon (GtC) in 2015-16. (1 Gt = 1012 kg is the mass of 1 cubic km of water, and 1 GtC produces about 2.12 ppm of CO2 in the air).”

    If I’m reading this correctly the tropical forest contributions to increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide are not to be ignored — although the words “extra” and “during this period” and their implications could use a little further clarification.

    1. jsn

      If I recall correctly, this has to do with burning to clear for cash crops: monetizing the biosphere. It works till it doesn’t.

  20. JTMcPhee

    Re ISDS claims and Kangaprudence:

    Why do folks continue to label the monies paid by governments to supranational corporations under ISDS “tribunal” rulings as “compensation,” thus going along with the framing of the Supranationalists?

    Sure looks to me like extortion, pure and simple… with a side order of “facilitative corruption” to tickle the palates of the Overlords who “make it all nice and legal, seeee?” And all us mopes who continue to carry the notion that once something has been “enacted” or “adopted,” even by the most corrupt and venal and destructive-to-comity processes, why are we all on board thereafter (most of us) that since it’s “legal,” well, we just have to go along with it? And yes, I know that these “rulings” are enforced and paid through High Finance and government appropriations, over which maybe only those with the keys to the electronic piggy bank have any possible veto…

  21. Darthbobber

    The Brookings piece. Brookings, American Enterprise Institute and OpportunityAmerica. Perfect together. A coalition of the right and the more-right.

    A whole year of intensive effort to see if there’s a bill of goods they can sell us.
    Brookings and AEI, we pretty much know who they are.

    Opportunity America-all about the mobility.
    Cursory glance at their website.
    Products and activities: 2 events touting CTE Charter Schools.
    One about Work based learning VERSUS formal apprenticeships (why the versus?)
    And a December event featuring various policymakers, but most specifically Paul Ryan.

    Opportunity in the News: Links to 13 articles. 9 from the Wall Street Journal. + 1 NYT 1WaPo 1 Politico 1 proPublica

    Mainly seems interested in various job-training and educational grifting opportunities.

    1. Paula Sircin

      Wasn’t sure where this should go, but your comment mentioned AEI so –

      I am taking a first-year, first-semester Chinese language class at the local university, and this afternoon’s class opened with an announcement from a student in the class, telling us that “everyone is concerned about the national debt”, and urging us to go to the itsuptous.org website and “sign the pledge” and become involved (URL writ large on the white board at the front of the classroom). The name “Pete Peterson” came to my mind and I interrupted the young guy’s presentation with some questions – who’s behind the group, who is supporting it, but he didn’t have any background information and stated that the group was non-partisan.

      When I got home after class I visited the itsuptous website and, yup, Peterson Foundation and Clinton Global Initiative U are listed on the about-us page on the website. The Solutions page includes proposals from the American Action Forum (listed first) and the American Enterprise Institute (listed second), and from the Bipartisan Policy Center, Center for American Progress and Economic Policy Institute, including

      American Action Forum – “replacing Medicare with a premium support program, fostering competitive bidding in Medicaid, and raising the retirement age for Social Security”

      American Enterprise Institute – “converting Medicare into a premium support program and Medicaid into a block grant to the states, slowly replacing the Social Security program with a flat benefit supplemented by private retirement accounts, gradually increasing the eligiblity age for Social Security and Medicare, while increasing defense spending” and “replace the income tax system with a progressive consumption tax”.

      The standard “liberal” proposals are listed, as well as a graph (supplied by the Peterson Foundation) which shows how the debt decreases with the various proposals (most rapidly with the proposals from the American Action Forum). Does that make itsuptous.org non-partisan? By the way, this outfit seems to be running some kind of contest for college student pledge sign-ups.

      This whole thing seemed like an attempt to snag a roomful of late-teens – early 20-somethings into visiting a website promoting a pretty obvious political agenda supported by groups calling themselves “non-partisan”. By the way, the instructor, who is a most gracious and affable lady, declined to send the young politico the email list for the class when he requested it at the end of his brief presentation (I think she was innocent of any awareness of the politics). I was offended by the whole thing and am wondering just how widespread this particular campaign is. Are there reports of similar activities at schools around the country?

      Paula in Laramie

  22. The Rev Kev

    Funny thing about that Brookings piece. I remember coming across an article from the “Times of Ohio” recently about a very unusual visit. Locals stated that a group of people were spotted walking through town wearing bio-hazard suits who would surround locals and ask them all manner of questions before letting them go. One unnamed local stated that as they left, one of the visitors turned to him with tears in their eyes and said; “Why did you do it? I know you must have voted for him. Why did you do it?” And then ran off to join the others.
    When followed, the group of visitors returned to a huge van with what appeared to be a decontamination chamber attached to the outside. The van was also equipped with a complete sensor array. Due to its size, it is thought that they brought their own food and water as well as sleeping quarters but as they departed the distinct smell of organic, shade-grown certified fair trade coffee could be smelt in the air though some claimed that it was in fact only Cappuccino Chiaro with skim milk instead.

  23. Wukchumni

    If someone owned the world entire,
    His spirit for money still would thirst,
    And a great poorness would still prevail.

    From a contemporary German broadsheet, 1622

  24. knowbuddhau

    The Thomas Edsall/New Yorker article re: Democratic pollster Cornell Belcher is also a perfect example of Democrats explicitly preferring better PR to better policy.

    Esp. this:

    “Until we can better engage these voters in a conversation that lessens their very real angst about the changes that are happening in the country and pivot to a compelling narrative about how we all win the future together or divided we will certainly lose it to our competitors….”

    I’m actually in awe of the power of a compelling narrative. A genuine one, that is, not some weaponzed bs designed not to address our problems at their sources but to sell us the political flavor of the month.

    I happened to watch a BBC doc Order and Disorder last night. The second part is all about information. It has a real physical presence and real physical properties. There was a bit about Claude Shannon’s work at Bell Labs, inventing the concept of the “binary digit” or bit.

    The way I see it, there is energetic potential in information. You can move people with it. This weaponized version we’ve been bombarded with for well over a century now isn’t designed to fulfill the necessary functions of a genuine narrative: to integrate us human organisms with our social and physical environments in fair, just, healthy and sustainable ways. It’s only designed to meet campaign goals, be those marketing, electoral, or war campaigns. So they sicken us and the only habitable planet in the known universe (as if there was a difference ;). Instead of ferrying us to the Yonder Shore with dignity and grace, we’re myth-jacked into this Wasteland.

    Starved in metropolis
    Hooked on necropolis
    Addict of metropolis
    Do the worm on the accropolis
    Slamdance the cosmopolis
    Enlighten PSYOP the populace.

    Ghetto Defendant
    Apologies to The Clash

  25. Indrid Cold

    I can’t find work to support me since 2012 so when I hear about the labor shortages, I’m like, what- not enough people available to work at chik fil a? What labor shortages?!

    1. BoycottAmazon

      Labour shortage is a mis-nomer, it’s a skills set vs. market demand imbalance, and in this case it is against the buyer.

      In the old days of relative “labour” market stability (ie: limited arbitrage) , buyers were willing, if not happy, to train up/invest in a group of labour to obtain the skills they desired. Now a days, because the labour knows there is no loyalty/willing ness to preserve that investment in any market downturn, and there are other capitalist happy to steal that labour for a marginal increase in pay when they need it, no capitalist is willing to make that investment without some way to lock in the “labour” so they can not arbitrage the market. BTW, unions were part of that labour stability, so union busting is in part responsible for the funk the Capitalist find themselves in.

      China has a massive imbalance, a huge lack of skills sets necessary to raise it’s market up to the next level. Again plenty of labour, but no skills.

  26. Georg

    The news.com article about the defense contractor hack was savaged by b of MoA. The hackers stole some unclassified info (ie. probably of no value) from a tiny firm. The headline is clickbait.

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