2:00PM Water Cooler 10/9/2017

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By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“The 11-15 October [NAFTA] round will come just one fortnight after officials wrapped up their third negotiating round in Ottawa, Canada…. ‘Negotiators are now working from consolidated texts in most areas, demonstrating a commitment from all parties to advance discussions in the near term,’ said a trilateral statement from the three countries” [International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development]. “Ministers generally affirmed, however, that the challenging parts of the NAFTA negotiations are yet to come, even with the progress seen in the third round. Officials have noted, for example, that tough areas like rules of origin for major products such as automobiles, and dispute resolution between investors and governments as well as for trade remedies, are likely to take longer to resolve.”

“The World Doesn’t Care About TPP” [Clyde Prestowitz (!), The American Prospect]. “Since the Trump administration’s decision not to ratify the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) so-called free trade agreement, it has become an article of faith of the U.S. foreign policy elite and pundit class that this inaction is causing a decline in American global influence…. This view—a common cliché among policy elites—is profoundly and dangerously wrong. TPP would not have contained Chinese influence, and was not really designed to. In considering all this declamation, it’s important to keep in mind that those making this claim are the same sorts of people who insisted that winning the Vietnam War was essential for maintaining America’s global influence. They are also the same crowd that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. Their assertions were not true in the past and neither is their new argument that the end of the TPP means the end of American power.”


New Cold War

“Thomas Friedman and David Brooks might as well write for the Onion” [Chris Hedges, Truthdig]. Fun interview, but Hedges means the old Onion, which was actually funny, not the current formulaic and greyish-colored Onion, owned by Clinton donor Univision.

Trump Transition

“The baffling assumption in Washington and in the markets these days is the persistent optimism that major tax reform or a big tax cut will be enacted this year or next. Why should anyone think this is realistic?” [Charles Cook, Cook Political Report]. “The landmark Tax Reform Act of 1986 was the last time that Congress successfully grappled with country’s jerry-built revenue system… It was a centrist, bipartisan piece of legislation, with a political all-star team behind it…. Flash forward 31 years. Does the party in power have large majorities? No. If not large, is the majority cohesive enough to get something big and consequential passed? No. If not, is there a cooperative minority party willing to help? No. Do the current leaders have as much influence as the 1986 heavyweights? No. Is the president strong enough to ram something through on his own, or does he have close enough ties with members to persuade them to back a major reform? No.” And then there are the dozen or so Republicans in California and New York who would have to face the voters after eliminating deducations for (their high) state and local taxes.

“Donald Trump is playing zero-dimensional chess” [Chris Cilizza, CNN]. “Hitting everyone who hits you, of course, isn’t a strategy. It’s a tactic. And, not a very good one at that. Based on all of the evidence of Trump’s first nine months in office, it’s impossible to conclude that he has any sort of comprehensive strategy or theory of the case. He acts (or reacts) and sees what happens. There’s no bigger plan that we’re not privy to. There’s really no plan at all.”

New Cold War

Russia hysteria:


“Let’s dispense with this fiction that Mark Zuckerberg isn’t running for some kind office. He’s running for office” [Jacobin]. “There is, of course, his well-publicized, impeccably documented, and sumptuously photographed apple pie tour of all fifty states, which, as most people will tell you, is something all thirty-three-year-old billionaires suddenly decide to do with no ulterior motive. But even beyond that, we also know Zuckerberg engineered the company’s rules so that he could remain in control of Facebook even while serving in government indefinitely. The endgame here is not particularly hard to figure out.”

Realignment and Legitimacy

“L.A. Podcast Festival Returns, Now With More Socialism” [LA Weekly]. Lists podcasts on the left, “all of which riff on politics, pop culture, media and history from various modern American leftist perspectives. (Leftist, meaning recently disenfranchised Democrats who moved left during and post Obama, anarchists, Marxists, communists, antifa — basically anyone who doesn’t identify with the duopoly and believes capitalism is fundamentally flawed.) And many of these podcasters organize in or support organizations such as Democratic Socialists of America (DSA)” (Note the “*.”) That seems to me to be a less than analytical definition of the left; I prefer to think of the left as putting the working class first (a positive definition, instead of considering the left as a sort of residuum of the two-party system). Neoliberals — that is, liberals and conservatives — put markers first, though in different ways.

“Nothing Divides Voters Like Owning a Gun” [New York Times]. “Over all, gun-owning households (roughly a third in America) backed Mr. Trump by 63 percent to 31 percent, while households without guns backed Mrs. Clinton, 65 percent to 30 percent, according to SurveyMonkey data. No other demographic characteristic created such a consistent geographic split.”

“Why “privilege” is counter-productive social justice jargon” [Black Youth Project]. “‘Privilege’ is a lackluster concept because it centers individual behavior over systemic failure, and suggests that changing these behaviors is a sufficient way to dismantle oppression. Further, ‘privilege’ is a minimal acknowledgement that calls for the most basic of actions that are easily undone and difficult to scale. ‘Privilege’ innately derails productivity in our fight for Black Liberation because it forces us to reckon with whether or not it is an organic good. When we hear ‘privilege,’ we are compelled to determine if privilege is an asset or an attainment; do we need those with ‘privilege’ to use that privilege to co-conspire, and/or are marginalized people fighting for a society in which they amass social privilege themselves?”

Stats Watch

This is Columbus Day, so there are no official stats.

Employment Situation: “[Friday’s] negative headline jobs report followed a record 83 consecutive months of positive jobs reports” [Calculated Risk]. “This negative headline jobs report followed a record 83 consecutive months of positive jobs reports. A couple of comments: 1) If we adjust for the 2010 Census hiring and firing (data here) the streak of consecutive positive jobs reports was actually 90 months long. It makes sense to adjust for the Census hiring and firing since that was preplanned and unrelated to the business cycle. 2) There is a reasonable chance that the recent streak isn’t over – and that the September jobs data will be revised up.”

GDP: Looks like we’ve been getting a bit of help from corporate ‘deficit spending’ which works to support gdp growth,-to the extent it’s ultimately spent on goods or services- while it lasts. And while this may have further to go, it is not, as Wynne Godley used to say, a sustainable process” [Mosler Economics]. See the interesting chart:

Energy: “Solar power grew faster than any other source of fuel for the first time in 2016, the International Energy Agency said in a report suggesting the technology will dominate renewables in the years ahead” [Bloomberg].

Retail: “Enter the new night market. Open until the small hours, packed with a variety of delicious street food, enlivened by music and other entertainments, lubricated by cocktails and beer, they cater for people with diverse tastes in one place” [The Economist]. “At Model Market, one of a number of venues run by StreetFeast, diners can pick up a plate of crispy fried squid from Ink, laced with coriander, bright with lime, hot with chilli and spring onion, accompanied by a pastel trio of miso, wasabi and ginger mayonnaises.” The Economist seems to have confused actual night markets, ubiquitous in Asia, with a corporate, upscale version of the same.

Retail: “‘We want sauce’: police called over McDonald’s Rick and Morty promotion” [Guardian]. “A McDonald’s public relations stunt has ended in chaos and acrimony after the fast food chain promised fans of the TV show Rick and Morty a limited edition, long-out-of-production Szechuan dipping sauce and then swiftly ran out.” If #FightFor15 could do this… Personal note: I kept seeing edge of this story on the Twitter in the form of jokes and meta-style irony, but the original context was completely opaque to me, since (a) I don’t go to McDonald’s, and not owning TV or watching any digital equivalent (b) am insulated from McDonald’s advertising and (c) have no idea who Rick and Morty are. It was a rather disorienting experience. One does try to keep up. I mean, I scan Teen Vogue.

Retail: “As Walmart seeks to leverage its enormous network of stores — as well as launch two-day shipping and pickup services — to become a bigger player online, the distinction between e-commerce and brick-and-mortar is falling away. The customer is interacting with just one brand: Walmart” [Business Insider]. “Walmart, which has estimated that 90% of the US population lives within 10 miles of one of its more than 4,700 stores, is hoping customers who prefer to return items easily in-store will choose the retail chain over its online-only competitors.” Hmm. I’m going to choose my retailer for its returns policy? Have the good really become that crapified?

Retail: “Nothing is slowing down the logistics hiring surge for the holidays. Warehousing and storage companies added 4,800 jobs from August to September and parcel carriers also boosted payrolls” [Wall Street Journal]. “[A] tight U.S. labor market is already accelerating seasonal recruiting efforts and calling for higher pay in warehouses.:”

Retail: “Mexico City’s Street Food Vendors Regroup and Return After the Earthquake” [Eater]. “The ongoing gentrification in Condesa and the nearby Roma neighborhood started back in the early 2000s and, as the demographics have changed, street vendors have struggled to maintain their place in the social and economic structure of the community. Just last summer, the [idiotic] government issued an order to shut down at least 200 food stands in the area close to the nearby subway stations. Nonetheless, street-food vending is an essential part of Mexico’s culture, and in Condesa, it’s not uncommon to see stands on the corners of the main avenues.”

Shipping: “More than a year after completing the $5.4 billion, nine-year project to expand locks to meet the maritime world’s drive toward mega-ships, the canal is helping reshape trade flows and supply chains. …[T]he bigger Panama Canal has handled more than 2,000 vessels that couldn’t fit through the older canal, adding tens of millions of dollars in new tolls and triggering a trading boom at U.S. East Coast ports” [Wall Street Journal]. “The bigger Panama Canal instead appears to be drawing business away from the Suez Canal, [and] to be drawing some container volume away from the West Coast.”

The Bezzle: “Self Driving” [XKCD (DM)]. DM: “Note that on xkcd cartoons, you need to hover the cursor over the cartoon to access an additional comment/gag.”

The Bezzle: “[A]s a former finance guy who played around with credit derivatives on the London trading floor of Goldman Sachs during the financial crisis of 2007 and 2008, I know that most of what is happening with [Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs)] now has happened before. And it did not end well” [Creandum]. “So yes, I guarantee you, we are in an ICO bubble. It’s not driven by fundamental value creation. It’s driven by unsophisticated investors with no clue, who are really excited about the prospect of getting rich quick, and by a separate group of very sophisticated investors and founders very skillfully exploiting the unsophisticated ones, and making a lot of money in the process — this time completely legally.”

The Bezzle: “Part of the charm of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is his ability to say that earnings barely matter if Amazon is growing and spreading into new promising business. That allows him to excuse away quarters when the company posts red ink. It is, to his mind, an investment, on top of nearly countless investments in the past” [247 Wall Street]. “Charm.”

The Bezzle: “The Brazilian government plans to fine local conglomerate Andrade Gutierrez S.A.impose $12.7-billion to settle claims related to its participation in a graft scheme, Newsline reported citing media sources. The fine, based on calculations from Brazil’s Office of the Attorney General and the Office of the Comptroller General, is a condition for signing a leniency agreement that would allow the firm to continue bidding for government contracts. Andrade Gutierrez is among 10 companies being investigated since March 2015 for kickbacks from executives to politicians in return for government contracts” [Business Insurance]. That seems like rather a lot. Although one can’t help but notice executives in Brazil have impunity from criminal prosecution, exactly as here.

Banking: “Asked whether Amazon, which is run by CEO Jeff Bezos, should be allowed to own a bank, a former top regulator replied, “It’s a tough decision that we are going to have to make one of these days” [American Banker].

The Bezzle: “Right out of the proverbial box, the Google Pixel Buds will sport a nifty integration with the Google Translate app so you can use it as something like a universal translator. Your speech gets translated into, say, French, and the other person’s French gets translated to English — right in your ears. It’s nifty and, based on my brief test, seems to work decently well” [Business Insider]. In my experience, Google Translate is at best very uneven. Although as the article points out, this is cooler than Apple’s Ear Buds.

Mr. Market: “A Volatility Trap Is Inflating Market Bubbles” [Bloomberg]. “What appears to be a Goldilocks economy could in actuality conceal a low-volatility trap, a situation where excessive monetary stimulus keeps asset prices rising and volatility low across markets even though real-economy risks are rising. On one hand, central bank stimulus directly lowers risk premiums and volatility in rates and credit markets, pushing investors into riskier assets to generate sufficient returns. On the other hand, politics have become less stable as inequality rises, as the recent elections in the U.S., U.K. and Europe show, and the number of geopolitical hotspots continues to rise. And yet, markets continue threading higher and volatility remains at record lows.”

Rapture Index: Closes unchanged [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 184.

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 87 Extreme Greed (previous close: 92, Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 89 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed). Last updated Oct 9 at 11:58am.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

49ers safety Eric Reid, who began kneeling alongside Colin Kaepernick more than a year ago on Pence: “‘My honest reaction … Does anybody know the last time he’s been to a football game?’ Reid said, via a video from Jennifer Lee Chan of Niners Nation. “With that being said, he tweeted out a three-year old photo of him at a Colts game so with the information I have the last time he was at a Colts game was three years ago. So this looks like a PR stunt to me. He knew our team has had the most players protest. He knew that we were probably going to do it again. This is what systemic oppression looks like. A man with power comes to the game, tweets a couple of things out and leaves the game with an attempt to thwart our efforts. Based on the information I have, that’s the assumption I’ve made” [NBC Sports].

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

I hate all this:

“Darknet market hazard: blackmailed by the dealer you gave your address” [David Gerard]. Don’t try any of this at home…

Class Warfare

“About half of today’s working-age households will not be able to maintain their standard of living in retirement. Social Security will provide less relative to pre-retirement earnings; 401(k) balances are meager; and half the private sector workforce does not have an employer-sponsored plan. At the same time, with rising life expectancy the number of years spent in retirement has increased dramatically, health care costs are high and rapidly rising, and interest rates are at historic lows” [MarketWatch].

“[I]if you were to believe that “taxation is theft” — because it’s maintained through force of government — then you’d also have to believe capitalism itself is theft, since private ownership is maintained through force of government” [Extra News Feed (GF)].

“One type of marriage that’s most likely to end in divorce — according to a relationship scientist” [Business Insider]. All the way at the end: “What I think is going on is it’s really difficult to have a productive, happy marriage when your life circumstances are so stressful and when your day-to-day life involves, say three or four bus routes in order to get to your job.”

“How Did Marriage Become a Mark of Privilege?” [New York Times]. “Currently, 26 percent of poor adults, 39 percent of working-class adults and 56 percent of middle- and upper-class adults ages 18 to 55 are married… A big reason for the decline: Unemployed men are less likely to be seen as marriage material. ‘Women don’t want to take a risk on somebody who’s not going to be able to provide anything,’ said Sharon Sassler, a sociologist at Cornell who published ‘Cohabitation Nation: Gender, Class, and the Remaking of Relationships’ with Amanda Jayne Miller last month.” Cum grano salis, since the study comes from right-wing think tank AEI…

“Photographer Barbara Peacock’s ‘American Bedroom’ explores who are as individuals and a nation” [RealClearLife]. Interesting project, placed in the “Class Warfare” bucket for obvious reasons…

News of the Wired

“The Real Christopher Columbus” [Jacobin]. Not a nice person at all.

“Lenovo’s 25th anniversary Thinkpad corrects years’ worth of wrong turns” [Boing Boing]. Now if only Apple could fix the MacBook Pro. They could start by bringing back the MagSafe connector.

“People walked slightly different in Medieval times” (video) [Boing Boing]. “Before structured shoes became prevalent in the 16th century (and apparently in those places where they never have) people walked with a different gait, pushing onto the balls of our feet instead of rocking forward on our heels.”

* * *

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 (SR):

I love morning glories!

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

    “Nothing Divides Voters Like Owning a Gun” [New York Times]. “Over all, gun-owning households (roughly a third in America) backed Mr. Trump by 63 percent to 31 percent, while households without guns backed Mrs. Clinton, 65 percent to 30 percent, according to SurveyMonkey data. No other demographic characteristic created such a consistent geographic split.”

    Our Gunocracy reminds me greatly of the slavery/anti-slavery days of the 1850’s, no middle ground and eventually we’ll go to war over our slavish right to own them.

    1. Elizabeth Burton

      The conclusion seems overly simplistic to me, since I know any number of Clinton supporters, some of them downright fanatics, who are also gun owners.

      What I find truly nerve-wracking is there appears to be an attempt to gather support among the anti-gun types to repeal the 2nd Amendment. Those who jumped on that bandwagon when it appeared on social media Friday are oblivious to having it pointed out that doing so would make it so only the government, law enforcement, and private security would be armed. Either that, or they are apparently comfortable with the notion.

      I suppose we could blame it on the Russians.

      1. Wukchumni

        Those who jumped on that bandwagon when it appeared on social media Friday are oblivious to having it pointed out that doing so would make it so only the government, law enforcement, and private security would be armed.

        You do realize this is pretty much how it works in the rest of the 1st world?

        1. Chris

          Thank you Wukchumni.

          I can’t yet imagine what it would be like to go out with my family and friends knowing that other citizens were carrying weapons. I live in Australia

          Guns that are designed to kill people have no place in the hands of citizens

          1. PhilM

            Well actually, the only place they do belong is in the hands of citizens; otherwise, you must mean you want to enjoy living under a foreign mercenary standing army at the behest of your overlord.

            When using the word citizens, it’s helpful to cast one’s mind back to the freedoms that created the society we enjoy, and will continue to enjoy as long as those freedoms echo in the public awareness–whether or not they continue to be enjoyed by a citizenry capable of responsibly exercising them.

            What you probably meant, and where discussion can reasonably begin, is whether they belong in the hands of civilians.

            1. Chris

              Thank you Phil, and I stand corrected, private citizens or civilians would be the better term.

              whether or not they continue to be enjoyed by a citizenry capable of responsibly exercising them

              responsible ownership – yes, not universal is it?

        2. Oregoncharles

          Do they have the sort of government and police we do? (Granted, Britain, at least, is working on it.

          I gather Canadians are quite well armed.

          E. B.’s point goes back to the late 60’s.

          1. Wukchumni

            I pointed out how gun laws work in New Zealand last week, and they’re pretty well armed with 1.1 million of them in a country of under 5 million population, but they’re all long guns, and none of this assault rifle nonsense either, basic rifles and shotguns.

            There hasn’t been a mass murder there in around 20 years…

            Why not explore this middle ground approach to guns for our country, that seems to work well?

            1. Chris

              Yes, bro. Handguns, machine guns, assault rifles – no place outside military – remember the time when the police weren’t armed (eg UK)??

              People on the land for protection against predation and those that shoot for meat – yes, have your long rifles and shotguns.

          2. jrs

            it might be a bit chicken and egg, maybe the police are so brutal in part because of the fact they face a citizenry armed to the teeth. So guns may not be helping any.

            Of course, it’s hard to say it’s the only factor, they also get all that military weaponry, plus a few hundred year old history of racial discrimination in this country.

            1. JBird

              The police in some areas seem very quick to shoot. I’ve seen video of people with their hands in the air being shot because reasons.

              The country has always been heavily armed and children had very realistic toy guns for decades and yet I never heard of any child being shot. Yes, cellphones make it harder to cover up bad shots, but even so.

          3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Also, I believe kneeling football players are saying, ‘control government guns.’


      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        If you ever get to the point where fighting the police/military is reality, the first strikes will be done by explosives, and plenty would defect bringing with them plenty of firearms. If you are engaged in insurrection, owning a gun will the least of your legal problems. Ammunition scarcity would be a much more serious problem. Having too many guns would only encourage yahoos to waste the ammo.

        Given the amount of guns in the wild and the relatively simplicity of the design, there won’t be any issues.

        1. Lee

          One must win over large segments of the police and military, not to mention other elements of the governmental apparatus if an insurrection is to be successful. Winning over hearts and minds, not only of the already disaffected, but from within the establishment is one of the primary jobs at hand. I don’t think we are at a stage when civilian bullets are going to have a positive effect on future developments. That day may or may not come but we are a long way from it at present.

          Disclosure: I’m a gun owner who would like to see stricter gun control.

          1. Montanamaven

            I think you are right on the money. I was encouraged by the ex military-ex police who joined the anti pipeline “Standing Rock” movement. This really defines “them v. Us” rather than the artificial divide of “gun toters” aka gun owners and non gun owners. This was a fight for clean water and air
            Disclosure: My husband is a rancher and has guns to shoot varmits. Has a handgun in case somebody breaks in. Have no idea what “gun control” would look like. I was a typical cityish liberal who doesn’t like to kill things even though my Dad would chop off a chicken’s neck so we could have Sunday dinner. But I have neighbors who need to do that to put food on the table. I can afford not to do that. So I will not judge.

            1. Mark Anderlik

              I agree wholeheartedly with these comments. I laugh when people tell me that they support the 2nd Amendment to defend against “Big Government.” As Lee correctly points out, insurrections historically are successful when the security forces are largely “neutralized” through defections and/or stepping aside. Putting the vastly better armed and organized security forces in a “kill or be killed” situation usually ends badly for the insurrectionists. And it usually ends up in protracted warfare. Widespread citizen gun ownership likely hurts the insurrectionists.

      3. JBird

        I think guns are being used in a political strategy of divide and conquer. ⅓ of anything is a large portion.

        Aside from the past two years the murder rate has been down every year for two decades. They has been a very real increase in mass shootings, which were unheard of from the end of the Second World War to the middle of the 80s. That’s when the phrase “going postal” was coined. After those “reforms” of the Post Office.

      4. Darn

        “doing so would make it so only the government, law enforcement, and private security would be armed”. That’s not what repealing the second amendment would mean. It would mean the govt could regulate private gun ownership how it liked, which could be an outright ban, no restrictions at all, or anything in between.

      5. Allegorio

        It is not the guns or the rounds that they can shoot that is the problem. Guns are inanimate objects. Gun control but a symptom of a brutal every man for himself culture. Look at the lifestyle of the Las Vegas shooter, assuming he is who we are told did it. He was an accountant for Lockheed Martin, a millionaire gambler emblematic of this brutal system, system of winners and losers. What happens when a desperate winner is about to become a desperate loser, mass violence. It is all about the Winner/Loser culture that we have been indoctrinated in since the womb. Get rid of that culture and you could have all the guns in the world and violence would be rare.

        What is the basis of this culture? It is the justification for the billionaire class, the winners. They hide behind a phony meritocracy that masks their venality in a game of winners and losers. This is what was behind the race laws. No matter how poor and miserable a white worker was he was still a winner compared to a black worker. It is this illusion of personal success rammed down our throats, TV game shows, the NFL, casinos that creates this culture of violence. But remember in all games of chance the odds are in favor of the house, the real winners, the .01%, and the rest of us the losers. Some of us just take it harder than others, especially those that have bought into the lie.

        When we engineer a society where everybody are winners and losers meet with a helping hand you won’t have to worry about the guns anymore. It is the .01% who are keen on gun control so that only their agents, the slave patrols, are armed. Don’t fall for the the .01% talking points.

      1. Barmitt O'Bamney

        I appreciate what you’re saying about gun violence and wars and all that, but there has to be a quicker way. There just has to. Guns shoot faster than ever, and yet population keeps on climbing. We’ve even found ways to turn humble semiautos into fully automatic spray-n-pray death hoses, but it’s no good. We’re losing the war on people and the world can’t afford it. Surrender is not an option.

        1. Wukchumni

          155,000 check out and 350,000 check in, each and every day.

          Mother Nature makes quick work of every other species that overbreeds, but we’re special.

        2. John k

          Good point.
          Those most ardently opposed to birth control of all kinds have the most guns. Maybe at some point this group is blown… er… fades away, then we can Move to better solutions.

      2. Marco

        Hmmm…I would say the inverse is true. Overlay a graph of gun technology and the proliferation of guns with human population.

      1. Nick H.

        McDonald’s had so much free advertising and artificial demand handed to them on a silver platter and they really bungled it. There has to be a Marketing VP at McD’s HQ right now who’s having a very bad Monday. I mean, the number one comedy on TV makes a joke about a limited edition dipping sauce from 1997, it turns into a meme generating millions and millions in free advertising, and then they just couldn’t execute on it. Couldn’t happen to a nicer company, I know, but just shaking my head they let this one slip away.

  2. Wukchumni

    What if Columbus had landed on Malibu instead?

    The early settlers would’ve found all that glitters in the state fairly quickly, and eastward expansion would’ve been driven at a fantastic rate in search of more. What is now New England would hardly be populated.

    1. Huey Long

      Hmmm, I’m not so sure about that. Southern California’s habitability is the direct result of trillions of dollars of infrastructure that’s been constructed to bring water there from as far away as the Colorado River and Sacramento.

      I say if Columbus lands in Malibu things progress similarly to how they did in real life with the construction of a few missions and the subsequent imiseration of the natives in what is modern day California. Northward expansion would be feasible with Columbus-era tech but I don’t see much of the US east of Malibu between the Sierras and the Mississippi drainage basin getting settled prior to the advent of industrialization.

      The Great Lakes region and North East US would definitely be settled regardless due to its climate, access to water transport, river systems, and lack of mosquito borne diseases. In short, it’s the part of North America best suited to pre-industrial European civilization.

      1. Wukchumni

        In the must read book if you live in the west: “Cadillac Desert” author Marc Reisner postulated that there was enough natural water sources in LA to support around 100,000 people, pre-diversion of the Owens Valley largess. And as luck would have it, the population of LA in 1900 was 102,479, so that sounds dead on.

        Yes, it would’ve taken herculean efforts to divert the water back then, which would’ve have only pushed them towards greener pastures eastwards.

        1. Huey Long

          In the must read book if you live in the west: “Cadillac Desert”


          I watched the documentary and it was sobering to say the least.

          1. audrey jr

            I have re-read “Cadillac Desert” many times. The most honest book available on the subject. For those of you interested in case law on water rights in CA the San Bernardino Law Library is your destination.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I believe the expansion eastward would have stopped at the La Brea Tar Pits (or as Wikipedia translates, the the tar tar pits).

      3. PhilM

        You have that right, Huey Long. Also, New England was readily accessible for forestry: low mountains, rivers, ports. It was strip-mined without lifting a shovel for one of the earth’s most valuable organic offerings, old-growth forest. It still happens; as soon as a hardwood gets mature, it’s cut or tapped. But there’s enough forest coverage here now relative to the population willing to live here without decent internet, that soon enough, maybe in a few hundred years, those woods will be beautiful again.

        1. Yves Smith

          New England was the breadbasket of the early US, believe it or not.

          It also has lots of rivers well suited to setting up mills.

          If you were at all near the coast, lots of fishing. Whaling was a huge and lucrative industry, as was commercial fishing (crews would go out 4-6 weeks, which is why widow’s watches are a staple of coastal homes: for the wives left behind to see if their men’s ships were coming back).

          1. s.n.

            New England was the breadbasket of the early US, believe it or not.

            probably depends on what part of New England you refer to. Much of the corner I grew up in was characterised by fairly hard scrabble glacial moraine and unsuited to much other than dairy farming, which led to an exodus from northwestern Connecticut to settle its “Northwestern Reserve” colony in more promising Ohio.

            Lots of rivers though, and lots of ore mines –mined out by the late 18th century– which gave rise to the metal working specialities each town developed (brass, copper…) and the finished products transported to a nascent global market via the coastal shipping towns.

            1. Lambert Strether Post author

              From the Atlantic:

              Once upon a time, of course, local grain was de rigueur. Before America’s amber waves settled in the Great Plains (Kansas and North Dakota produce most of the country’s bread wheat, each harvesting over eight million acres annually), the East was America’s original breadbasket. This early production was, by default, hyper-local—grown by individuals and ground at home, or in small communal gristmills.

              There’s been a resurgence of local grain, and in Maine particularly, which makes siting landfills near our rivers, or running the East West corridor through the Penobcot watershed, all the more insane. Also, it’s good to be closer to self-sufficiency, for the time we need to seal off the Southern border. Kidding!!

      4. lyle

        Actually there is a good measure of this, in how advanced the various native american groups were at the time of the European arrival. There is much evidence that the Mississippi/Ohio valley was the best spot as this is where the mound builders civilization was located from the states of MS up to IL and over to OH. Consider that the plains Indians only began to dominate when they took the escaped spanish horses and used them. Then you have the pubelo cultures primarily in NM along the Rio Grande, and finally the NW us indians in OR, Wa and BC. Here they had lots of lumber as well as lots of salmon.

    2. Mike L

      Re: What if Columbus had landed on Malibu instead?

      He’d have never left. He’d start surfing, maybe start a band (with surfing themed music). Woulda been a completely different world..

    1. David

      From DHS,

      This waiver applies to covered merchandise laded on board a vessel within the 10-day period of
      the waiver and delivered by October 18, 2017.

      If it’s on the ship, it qualifies. Also note that the petroleum products waiver started on the 8th of September, 12 days before Maria landed.

    2. Oregoncharles

      Not to defend the Trump admin., but from the number of containers claimed to be stuck on the docks, the big problem is intra-island transport, not shipping. That isn’t surprising, right after a huge storm, and it takes time and a lot of labor to clear the roads. There is also the little issue of finding truck drivers, fueling the trucks, and so on.

      If the problem is what I think it is, a shipment of chainsaws and the necessary fuel, etc., would be to the point. (There was video of a nun clearing down trees after Irma, so I think the tools are the obstacle). Bringing in power line techs would probably help, too, if their trucks can be operated.

  3. flora

    re:” Nothing Divides Voters Like Owning a Gun” [New York Times].

    Not sure how this explains the upper midwest voting for Obama – twice.

    1. Jess

      Yep. Not to mention, that whole exercise is based on people self-reporting gun ownership, and/or the assumption that all guns owned are registered. The commonly accepted estimate of the number of guns in America is 300 million. But I’ve seen estimates that put the real total at closer to 600 million. A former neighbor moved to So Cal from Georgia, lived here for a couple of years, and then moved again to Texas. Did his 9mm show up on files in GA? Was it re-registered in CA? Again in TX? Or does it not show up anywhere?

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Many of the voters Hillary lost were in urban areas in states that have been recently contested where gun ownership would be reduced for obvious reasons. Many seemingly safe districts are full of people who won’t vote because their vote won’t make a difference but don’t want to miss on voting for the first female President. Hillary picked up votes very blue California cities and blue cities in red states such as New Orleans, but she saw declines in a number of blue cities. Its very likely the number would be the same, and Hillary just swapped voters.

      Organizing rural voters is simply less cost effective than organizing urban voters. Before Obama stomped on the 50 state strategy, the goal was to sew up the easy to reach vote and turn non and sometimes voters into regular voters and turn over organizing capacity to block captains with support from a field operation but field organizers would move into more rural areas once you secured the easy votes. Kerry lost Ohio by 10,000 votes in 2004. The county Cinncinatti is delivered 25,000 more votes to Barack Obama just four years later. Hillary 16 had almost 20,000 less votes in the same county than Obama in 2008. The changes were effectively all in safe urban, blue districts.

      Hillary might have even received votes from urban Republicans, who would still have less reasons to own guns than rural types, in certain safe states. If it was sewed up, why not vote for the first woman?

  4. José

    executives in Brazil have impunity from criminal prosecution, exactly as here.

    Not at all! Present day Brazil is very different from the US in this regard.

    There are many top executives and majority shareholders of large corporations in prison in Brazil right now – the owner/CEO of Odebrecht, the owners/Top executives of JBS etc. The list is a long one and it keeps growing.

    1. B1whois

      I was surprised to see the original poster say that as well, because I’ve read articles posted here on naked capitalism that say the exact opposite, that the Elite are going to jail in Brazil.

  5. shinola

    “Thomas Friedman and David Brooks might as well write for the Onion”

    The Truthdig interview with Chris Hedges is not to be missed. Although for most regular NC readers it is “preaching to the choir”, it is an interesting & worthwhile read.

    1. Carolinian

      Yes truly a must read with shafts launched at the shamelessly cynical Russia diversion, the deterioration of the NYT (where he once worked), the economics profession, cable TV and the fearful careerism of the academy.

      The corporate state has made it very hard to make a living if you hold fast to this radical critique. You will never get tenure. You probably won’t get academic appointments. You won’t win prizes. You won’t get grants. The New York Times, if they review your book, will turn it over to a dutiful mandarin like George Packer to trash it—as he did with my last book. The elite schools, and I have taught as a visiting professor at a few of them, such as Princeton and Columbia, replicate the structure and goals of corporations. If you want to even get through a doctoral committee, much less a tenure committee, you must play it really, really safe. You must not challenge the corporate-friendly stance that permeates the institution and is imposed through corporate donations and the dictates of wealthy alumni. Half of the members of most of these trustee boards should be in prison!

      But perhaps his most controversial assertion is that Trump is the symptom, not the disease.

      I’ve battled continuously with Antifa and the Black Bloc. I think they’re kind of poster children for what I would consider phenomenal political immaturity. Resistance is not a form of personal catharsis. We are not fighting the rise of fascism in the 1930s. The corporate elites we have to overthrow already hold power. And unless we build a broad, popular resistance movement, which takes a lot of patient organizing among working men and women, we are going to be steadily ground down.

      So Trump’s not the problem. But just that sentence alone is going to kill most discussions with people who consider themselves part of the left.

      Hedges–the anti-Wolcott.

  6. Propertius

    Now if only Apple could fix the MacBook Pro. They could start by bringing back the MagSafe connector.

    Pet -owning Mac users everywhere sympathize. My additional requests:

    1) More RAM – I am hardly doing anything right now and I’m still swapping (albeit to SSD).
    2) Bring back the physical ESC key (coupled with a decent keyboard).
    3) At least HDMI output, and preferably an RJ-11 jack as well (even if it has to go on the top deck). Dongles are anathema to frequent travelers.

    1. Ernie

      In early 2016, when I heard they were ditching the MagSafe connector (and I then had a good job with some loose change), I quickly bought the last model MacBook Pro to have MagSafe. I wasn’t going to live without it, and I refuse to consider an upgrade/downgrade to a newer model that doesn’t have it. As I continue to read about the on-going crapification of the MacBook, I’m feeling better and better about my plan to get this one to last 20 years or so.

      1. Propertius

        Well, I have’t upgraded my 2012 Retina Pro – even though my company is on a 4 year refresh cycle. If I can’t get more than 16GB, everything else is moot.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Imagine if companies starting looking over their past products and started to reintroduce things that were popular with their customers in the past? Take computers for example. Because of the general crapification of computers over the years such a company could clear the field before them. Apple, for example, could get back to ‘stuff that just worked’ and make their computer products functional again.
      People like W. Edwards Deming taught the Japanese after WW2 that if they concentrated all their efforts on quality, that the world would beat a path to their doors to buy their products and we all know what happened with Japan in the post-war era. Maybe in this era of general crapification of products and services (anybody disagree?) it would bring back a competitive edge to companies.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I use Windows 7 at the moment but it will be the last iteration of Windows that I will be using. I had considered the Borg operating system as it is a lot less intrusive than Windows 10 but will opt to go with Linux instead.

        1. MichaelSF

          Win7Prox64 works fine for all my technical software (graphics, CAD/CAM etc) and I anticipate no need to change it in what is left of my future. I put Linux Mint on an old virused-up Dell laptop a friend gave me and that boots up with what looks like plenty of software for most casual users and it is easy to install (and free!).

          1. Dan

            I recently installed a 525GB Crucial SSD in my 2011 11.5″ HP Pavilion dm1z with 8GB of Ram. Everything else is original. I’m dual booting Windows 10 and Linux MInt. The speed difference with Linux, both on startup/shutdown and operationally, is astounding. Mint installed flawlessly and the only issue I’ve had so far is getting my printer connected. I intend to slowly learn the linux command line and eventually ditch Windows permanently.

  7. Elizabeth Burton

    “People walked slightly different in Medieval times”

    I remember watching a promotional video for the Tom’s Shoes campaign to shoe kids in third-world countries. Camera was focused on their feet. Kid going in to get shod has a lovely loose, natural stride. Emerging with his handsome new trainers, he acts as if he can barely maintain his balance.

    No mention made by the philanthropreneur Tom how many of those kids eventually developed foot fungus or other ailments, since having only one pair of shoes tends to produce that kind of condition.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      People also drank differently.

      From Jue (a ritual drinking vessel), Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jue_(vessel)

      The one in the left most photo is the earliest one (Yanshi, Erlitou culture or Xia dynasty probably). The container sits on three legs by design.

      To drink the wine in it, one passes one’s right hand through the bronze loop on the right side of the container (above the three legs), with the right thumb over the the pole like protrusion (missing on this photo, due to damage or by design, I am not sure, but visible in the other 3 photos).

      Then, one puts one’s left hand on the left side of the vessel similar to the right hand, again with the thumb over the left pole like protrusion, except there is no loop on this side.

      The front spout is a cut-in-half-lengthwise open spout and has a blunt end; the bird tail like end is the back end.

      To drink, one secures the vessel with both hands as described above, lifts it to one’s mouth and tilts it so that the wine travels down the front spout, slowly (judging by the shape of the Jue vessel).

      I don’t think you can drink fast with it.

      It would seem life was much slower then, and demanded one’s undivided attention in whatever one was doing. You certainly don’t drink with it while looking at your beloved’s beautiful face.

      1. Harold

        “Drink to me ONLY with thine eyes .. or leave a kiss within the cup and I’ll not ask for wine … the thirst that from the soul doth rise doth ask a drink divine.. “

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Sounds a lot like those inebriated Persian mystic poets.

          All this time
          The Sun never says to the Earth,
          “You owe me.”

          What happens
          With a love like that,
          It lights the whole sky.

          – Hafez

    2. The Rev Kev

      I’ve tried that balls feet movement for a few moments and it certainly is a very different feel to walking. It is more like a glide. I take it from that film that medieval people had much better posture and very strong thigh muscles back in the day. A medieval army on the march would certainly have a much different movement to modern troops. Suddenly a lot of those medieval paintings look different now. The poses weren’t awkward – they were reflecting what was for them natural movement. I can only guess what a medieval girl walking towards you must have been like.

  8. Craig H.

    > Hmm. I’m going to choose my retailer for its returns policy?

    Other than books, CD’s, and DVD’s I have made more online purchases from Wal Mart than from Amazon in the last twelve months.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      My next life, I will choose my college based on their degree-returns policy.

      “If you don’t like your bachelor’s degree for any reason, inability to find work with it, or whatnot, within 12 months of graduation, you can return it.”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I think in rural America, they have front rows and back rows.

      No need there for everyone to crowd the far end.

      Unless high information urban dwellers demand everyone rural sit in the back.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Not true! Obama said back in 2013 that Putin looked “like the bored kid in the back of the classroom” so there is your answer. It is Putin stirring up trouble again but this time with the other back row kids!

  9. NotTimothyGeithner

    Archie Parnell in SC-5 is running again next year, but Parnell lost 47 to 51 with 42,000 votes. In 2014, the incumbent Republican Mulvaney won with 100,000 votes compared to the Democratic candidates 60k votes when there was a Senate race on the ballot.

    It won’t be easy. The Governor’s office is up for re-election, but Parnell performed even better than Saint Ossoff despite having no name recognition or resources.


  10. Wukchumni

    Sing a song of subprime,
    A pocket full of lies.
    Four and twenty million bad loans,
    Baked in a pie.

    When the pie was opened,
    The loans began to sink;
    Wasn’t that a dainty dish,
    To set before the banker kings?

    The banker kings were in the counting house,
    Counting out the free money;
    The fourth estate was in the parlor,
    Eating their bread and honey.

    The made-men were in the garden,
    Hanging out the emperor’s new clothes;
    When along came another housing bubble
    And paid off their notes.

    1. perpetualPOOR

      Just got notice from mortgage broker:
      New product: 40 year mortgage
      First 10 years interest only
      They will finance up to 1.5mil

      Who’s saying we aren’t in Bubble 2?

  11. ChiGal in Carolina

    I confess to not having read the link, but the idea that privilege is a weak concept because it focuses on the individual actor rather than a larger dynamic is ludicrous on its face.

    Maybe it has since become distorted, reduced to an epithet, but originally the whole point was that privilege is precisely a systemic thing, like the air we breathe all around and in us though we can’t see it unless we LOOK.

    1. LifelongLib

      When I retire from my state government job, I will have a pension and free medical insurance, things that most workers today don’t get. In that sense they are privileges. But shouldn’t those things (and more) be what everybody gets when they retire? Shouldn’t they be RIGHTS?

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > the whole point was that privilege is precisely a systemic thing

      It seems to have become more of an individualized, moral failing, at this point. (I agree there’s no such thing as privilege without a system of privilege.)

      You might read the article; I thought they were fighting through a lot of hard issues in an interesting way (given the language they had).

      1. KTN

        Confess to having not read the piece either, but have been waiting for some time for someone, anyone, to point out that employing the empty concept ‘white privilege’ in particular is an extremely effective way to avoid discussing institutional racism.

        It is often accompanied, especially among the young, by a stunning ignorance about just how racist, in practice, this country actually is.

        It is also useful for maintaining the fantasy that, because the son of an African immigrant occupied the White House for 8 years, this is now a ‘postracial’ America.

      2. ChiGal in Carolina

        So I did look at it and in the sadly reduced meaning of privilege current today, I get her argument.

        Too bad that the original meaning of privilege was exactly what she is arguing for.

        Always reinventing the wheel as radical concepts are mainstreamed and neutered.

        A shame.

  12. Wukchumni

    Wow, 1500 structures burned in a wine country wildfire…

    The fire season keeps expanding it’s boundaries~

  13. Jonathan Holland Becnel

    1) watch Rick n Morty
    2) it’s tinged throughout with politics, etc
    3) jump on the milennial train :)

    1. Vatch

      Despite the “insane bargains”, few in the top 1% will be able to afford one of those jets. This is only for the people in the top 0.1% (or maybe the top 0.05%). It’s convenient to refer to the 1% versus 99% dichotomy, but it’s misleading. Most people in the top 1% just have more money than the rest of us, but they can’t buy politicians or jet airplanes. A person needs to be at the very top of the top 1% to be a real mover and shaker.

  14. Daryl

    The context of the Szechuan sauce thing was a comically psychopathic rant in which his bizarre obsession with the sauce featured prominently…I’m pretty sure it wasn’t intended as an example to be emulated.

    – oops, intended to attach this comment to to the other thread about it. oh well.

  15. ewmayer

    Did a bit of research re. Milton Friedman and te Chicago Boys’ involvement in Pinochet-era Chile over the weekend, and found 2 pieces which paint wildly opposing views of the issue:

    o Guilty economics? Friedman, Pinochet and Chile | Centre for Policy Studies — Note this one omits mention of the U.S.-led embargo in helping bring about the “horrendous state of economic affairs that Salvador Allende’s Socialist government had run Chile in to” it decsribes.

    o Milton Friedman did not save Chile | Naomi Klein, ope-ed in The Guardian — Thos, OTOH, seems a tad “Allende could do no wrong”-ish.

    Help from fellow readers in identifying key errors of omission/comission in the 2 pieces is most welcome.

  16. clarky90

    From my birth, Hollywood has been lecturing me; insisting on repetitive “conversations” about; morality, ethics, politics, how to have a “meaningful” existence……

    And, Harvey Weinstein, is one of the High Priests! (yikes! my poor consciousness)

    On the surface, it is the story of creepy old man, finally exposed. However, IMO, this is more profound.

    Latet enim veritas, sed nihil pretiosius veritate

    “Truth is hidden, but nothing is more beautiful than the truth”

    Everything emanating from Hollywood could be Fake? Fake empathy, fake morality, fake history.

  17. Yan

    The executives do not gave impunity. These agreements come from people that are or have been in jail for some time. They have to admit to wrongdoing, offer new evidence in the case. The leniency agreement, once finalized, is then reviewed by a court and the terms set out in the agreement can be accepted, not accepted or reviewed. Leniency does not that the peeps walk free, but they might receive a mellower sentence. The fines although quiet steep can be paid out over a number of years in most cases. While the leniency agreement is negotiated the people involved normally remain in jail.
    Next up: JBS, largest protein producer in he world and owner of tysons in the US of A among others. Both brothers are in jail for bribery and securities fraud.

  18. Wukchumni

    Saw somebody cashing in their $40.01k @ the supermarket.

    After Coinstar’s take, they netted $36

  19. Synoia

    People walked slightly different in Medieval times” (video) [Boing Boing]. “Before structured shoes became prevalent in the 16th century (and apparently in those places where they never have) people walked with a different gait, pushing onto the balls of our feet instead of rocking forward on our heels.

    I’ve lived in Africa for a considerable part of my life, where the locals walk barefoot. I didn’t notice this.

    And I personally was barefoot for much of home life until 10 years old. Barefoot as in able to run across a gravel driveway.

    Questionable assertion – show me the films!

    1. Wukchumni

      We were in Christchurch NZ for a spell about 10 years ago, and it wasn’t common among adults, but i’d guess 30% of the kids were barefoot walking in the city. I suppose once you’ve toughened up your skin enough, no biggie.

  20. audrey jr

    Thanks so much, Lambert, for straightening out for me exactly why it is that the “Onion” is no longer funny. I was under the mistaken impression that it was because John Stewart had pilfered all of the best writing talent from the “Onion” for “The Daily Show” back when he was the host and that show was funny. Univison. That ‘splains’ everything.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > John Stewart had pilfered all of the best writing talent

      He may have done, but a functional creative organization would be able to renew itself with new writers.

  21. audrey jr

    I’m taking bets on the Zuckerberg run. Will it be Feinstein’s Senate seat? I doubt it since she’s planning to run again. She’s 84 y.o. I guess she wants to be our Strom Thurmond or Jessie Helms. We’ll have to pry her shriveled carcass from the chair before she’s done with us.
    Or will Zuck run for Governator? I’ll have to put on my “Cui bono” cap and do some real critical thinking on where his best chances are. This state is full of suckers. Zuck’s a shoe-in for office in this state.
    O/T: my beautiful hometown of Santa Rosa is on fire. The brand new Sutter Hospital off of Redwood Dr is gone and Kaiser hospital has been evacuated and may well succumb to fire. There was a lovely little neighborhood of homes built during the 1950’s-60’s called Coffey Park in the northern part of the small city. It is completely gone. My kids were raised up there and many of their friends spent last night sleeping in a parking lot due to evacuations. My heart goes out to the most beautiful and fun place I’ve ever lived. Also to any and all NC readers who live or have family in the area.

    1. ewmayer

      Zuck is a Silicon Valley Billionaire-boys-club megalomaniacal Besserwisser — you need to think much grander. I mean, fellow SiVal douchetard Elon Musk is busily planning the colonization of Mars, for cryin’ out loud.

      Anyhoo, there would be little point in showily visiting all 50 states (or however many Zuck and his crack PR squad have showily visited to date) and suffering the odd smells, weird techno-skeptical hangups and vastly inferior intellects and morals of Les Deplorables in places like the Rust Belt if Mr. Sugar Mountain were aiming for anything less than the presidency.

  22. Wukchumni

    “Officials had previously said that gunman Stephen Paddock, 64, of Mesquite, Nev., shot Mandalay Bay security guard Jesus Campos after Paddock had started shooting at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival from his 32nd-floor hotel suite on Oct. 1.

    Officials had previously credited Campos, who was shot in the leg, with stopping the 10-minute assault by turning the gunman’s attention to the hotel hallway, where Campos was checking an alert for an open door in another guest’s room.

    But on Monday, the timeline changed.

    “Mr. Campos was encountered by the suspect prior to his shooting to the outside world,” Lombardo said at a Monday news conference.

    Police officers who started searching the hotel after the shooting began didn’t know a hotel security guard had been shot “until they met him in the hallway after exiting the elevator,” Lombardo said.

    Charles “Sid” Heal, a retired Los Angeles County sheriff’s commander and tactical expert, said the new timeline “changes the whole perspective of the shooting.”

    Heal said that if police had known immediately that a guard had been shot, they would have rushed the room while the gunman was still firing. He said it seemed to signal a breakdown in communication.

    “It doesn’t say much for hotel security,” Heal said.”


  23. Wukchumni

    Sheep thrills…
    “So yes, I guarantee you, we are in an ICO bubble. It’s not driven by fundamental value creation. It’s driven by unsophisticated investors with no clue, who are really excited about the prospect of getting rich quick, and by a separate group of very sophisticated investors and founders very skillfully exploiting the unsophisticated ones, and making a lot of money in the process — this time completely legally.”

      1. Yves Smith

        I was in Sydney a couple of times when the bush fires were bad. They weren’t close to where I was but it was obvious they were on. Dirty haze and you could even smell the smoke a lot of the time. But Australia is very prone to this due to how dry it is plush having lots of eucalyptus, which ignite easily and burn like torches.

        Having been to Napa a couple of times in the last two years, it looked like a fire waiting to happen. Everything looked parched: grass, trees, shrubs. It seems as if no one had firebreaks. They might not have been enough to stop fires, but you’d have to think they might have reduced the spread and potentially the death count.

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