2:00PM Water Cooler 11/10/2017

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“The fate of the Trans-Pacific Partnership without the United States is still an open question after trade officials meeting on the sidelines of the APEC meeting in Da Nang, Vietnam, issued conflicting statements on whether a deal had been reached” [Politico]. “Work will likely continue today to try to strike a political agreement with the aim of implementing TPP-11 in 2018.”

“Mr Trudeau failed to show up at a meeting late on Friday that was set to officially revive the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement that had been negotiated on the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in the Vietnamese coastal city of Danang” [Sidney Morning Herald].

“The Prime Minister’s Office insisted that the meeting was called off due to issues raised by Canada as well as some of the other parties. A spokeswoman said Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, the meeting’s chair, cancelled the event after a 50-minute face-to-face discussion with Trudeau” [Financial Post].


2016 Post Mortem

“Hillary Clinton to guest-edit December issue of Teen Vogue magazine” [Guardian]. Cf. Luke 17:2.

“Warren walks back claim Democratic primary was rigged” [The Hill]. The pushback must have been considerable…

Derangement is strong:

Chris Anderson is an Alternate Member, Los Angeles County Central Committee. That’s reassuring. (Oh, and @AngryBerner a.k.a. Peter Douche was a Peter Daou parody account that Twitter banned for “impersonation,” absurdly, since the account was never offensive — except to Clintonites, of course — and always witty. Not a good look for Twitter, especially considering who is not banned.)


“Booker over the years has talked a lot about love. “Consistent, unyielding love.” “An unbelievable amount of love.” “Crazy love … unreasonable, irrational, impractical love.” And for the better part of this decade, Booker has landed frequently on a particular phrase—the “conspiracy of love.” It’s a phrase he employs with an almost religious fervor—a combination of a guiding-light mantra and a permanent political slogan” [Politico] “He uses it to tell his story, from the suburbs of New York City to Stanford to Oxford to Yale. He uses it to tell the story of his family, from the poor, segregated South to the upwardly mobile comfort of the business and intellectual elite. And Booker uses it to tell the story of a country that has overcome its anguished, divided past by nurturing the bonds between white and black instead of stoking the dissension. Since at least 2011, he has used the phrase on panels and podcasts, in talks to credit union executives and furniture bosses, in campus lectures and at college commencements. He used it last year as an energetic surrogate and short-listed vice presidential possibility for Hillary Clinton. In his recently published book, called United, it’s the title of the first chapter.” “Love trumps hate” wasn’t believable for any number of reasons, except perhaps inside the Brooklyn headquarters (“we loved our candidate and we loved each other”). Perhaps Booker will do better with it. However, if he is serious about this, the bar is historically high; see, e.g., John 15.13.


“Mounting GOP retirements threaten House majority” [The Hill]. “All told, 29 Republicans will not seek reelection to their House seats, compared to only 11 for Democrats. Fifteen Republicans are retiring outright, rather than seeking other political offices or positions. Only two Democrats are doing the same…. In the 15 districts where members are retiring outright, Trump won six of them by 18 points or more.”


“Accusations Against Moore Put Race in Limbo” [Cook Political Report]. “With the December 12 special election just 32 days away, GOP strategists are scrambling to figure out their options…. The reality is that these allegations aren’t going to be ‘proven’ in the next 32 days. It is Moore’s word against those of his accusers. And, there is no way to actually remove Moore from the ballot, particularly since some absentee ballots have already been mailed. It is possible that a very credible candidate could mount a write-in campaign. And yes, appointed U.S. Sen. Luther Strange, who lost to Moore in the run-off in September, can run as a write-in since the state’s ‘sore loser’ law does not apply to special elections. But, is a write-in campaign a realistic option with just a month left?”

Alabama State Auditor Jim Zeigler defends Roy Moore: “Also take Joseph and Mary. Mary was a teenager and Joseph was an adult carpenter. They became parents of Jesus” [Vox]. The word “parents” is doing a lot of work, there; if I recall my Bible Study correctly, Mary was a virgin and the conception didn’t involve Joseph. The cases don’t seem parallel.

More on Virginia:

“Virginia voter: ‘It could have been Dr. Seuss or Berenstain Bears on the ballot – I would voted for them if they were a Democrat'” [WaPo]. The flip side of the “anti-Trump wave” trope, however, is the classic “They could have nominated a ham sandwich, and won.” Which, knowing the Democrat establishment, is exactly what they’d like to do, as long as weathy suburbanites and former Romney voters will choke down said sandwich.

“How a Socialist Beat One of Virginia’s Most Powerful Republicans” [The New Republic]. The whole article is a must-read. And speaking of ham sandwiches, Lee Carter ran as a socialist on the Democrat ticket — nice case of outside/inside, there — and won, without any DNC support at all. Oddly, or not, Carter’s victory is being completely written out of the conventional account of the Virginia election. “Carter’s victory is a testament to his own campaign and the work of outside groups, including the D.C. chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America, which caught the rising Democratic wave that swept even unlikely candidates into office on Tuesday.” So, when you hear liberal Democrats blathering about unity, remember that unity is very much a one-way street.

“Virginia was a huge victory for Democrats. But it also shows how elections are rigged in Republicans’ favor” [The Week]. “The big picture is that Republicans enter every election with some built-in advantages, and then when they get power, they alter the system to exaggerate those advantages and tilt the playing field even more in their direction. Democrats can overcome it, just as someone wearing ankle weights might be able to win a race against opponents not so encumbered. But that doesn’t mean it was fair.” And yet, the Democrats go for challenging Republican gerrymandering in the courts, which is slow, expensive, and chancy. (And remember from yesterday that populations are more dynamic than gerrymandered district lines, and what was once an effective gerrymander can quickly change.) Why then, does the Democrat establishment not make 24/7/365 voter registration a core party function and expand their base? The only answer I can see is that they prefer not to. They prefer fighting with the Republicans to pick up Romney voters.

“On its surface, it looks like the race was a Washington insider’s dream: a rebuke of Republican politics and a resurgence of the Democratic Party. But the county-by-county totals tell a more nuanced story” [RealClearPolitics]. “In Nelson County, just a 15-minute drive west of Charlottesville, Republican Ed Gillespie won by just four votes. Nelson County is one of 209 counties in the country that voted Obama-Obama-Trump in the last three presidential elections. If we dig deeper into the places that are wildly swinging between both political parties, a picture starts to emerge. What do nearly 80 percent of these ‘pivot counties,’ the Obama-Obama-Trump counties, have in common? The answer is that more businesses have died there than have been born. Despite a net increase in entrepreneurial activity across the country since the end of the Great Recession, according to the bipartisan Economic Innovation Group, the majority of pivot counties have seen a decline during that period. This includes all five pivot counties in Virginia…. The voters and counties that are flipping between parties want a vision of how their communities can be more dynamic and forward-looking. Obama and Trump provided those visions in different ways.” I don’t know what “dynamic and forward-looking” could possibly mean. I’d frame it as “change vs. more of the same.”

“Health care played big role in Democratic win in Virginia: Poll” [CNBC]. “Almost 70 percent of Virginia voters said health care was the most important or a very important issue in deciding whom to vote for as governor.” This too is being written out of the conventional wisdom. After all, that suggests that #MedicareForAll might be popular, and the donor class wouldn’t like that.

* * *

“Black Lives Matter activist in viral photo overwhelmingly wins Charlotte City Council seat” [Raw Story]. Another ham sandwich.

“Our Revolution Candidates Won Big Last Night” [The Nation]. More ham sandwiches.

And on “wave” elections;

Trump Transition

“Unbowed by the president’s criticism, CNN posed a question about to what degree do voters believe what they hear from the White House. Buried at the bottom of the news channel’s most recent survey, we find that 10 percent of voters believe ‘almost all’ of what emanates from 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, 20 percent believe ‘most of it,’ 37 percent believe ‘just some of it.’ Fully 31 percent of voters believe ‘nothing at all’ that they hear from this White House” [RealClearPolitics].

“Sen. Rand Paul was violently attacked a week ago. We still don’t know why.” [Vox]. Paul, however, denies the “lawn-based tensions” theory.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“America Breaks Down: The Anatomy of a National Psychosis” [Counterpunch]. Note the source.

Stats Watch

Consumer Sentiment, November 2017 (Preliminary): “Preliminary November consumer sentiment edged down” [Econoday]. “The losses however, were quite small as the sentiment index remained at its second highest level since January. Current conditions declined … An improving labor market was spontaneously mentioned by a record number of consumers in early November, and anticipated wage gains recorded their highest two-month level in a decade.” And: “This was below the consensus forecast” [Calculated Risk]. “Consumer sentiment is a concurrent indicator (not a leading indicator).” And but: “Note that this indicator is somewhat volatile, with a 3.0 point absolute average monthly change. The latest data point saw a 2.9 percent change from the previous month” [Econintersect].

Commodities: “U.S. farmers are harvesting grains in record numbers, but it’s unclear when the yield will get into global supply chains. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is raising its forecast for the corn harvest for the 2017-2018 year thanks in part to a record yield…, exacerbating a glut of grain supplies that has kept prices low” [Wall Street Journal]. “The extra supply could push corn futures lower still, and push farmers to stockpile more of the crops in hopes of stronger demand and higher pricing, particularly in foreign markets. That could extend a downturn in grain shipments in bulk shipping markets for several more months. Grain shipments on U.S. railroads were off 11.8% year-over-year in October, according to the Association of American Railroads.”

Retail: “The concern at restaurant chains like Subway are part of a broader challenge in the retail world, where a wide range of companies use special promotions to cajole, lure, push and prompt consumers to boost their buying. The marketing brainstorm may not match carefully-crafted supply chains, however” [Wall Street Journal]. “National chains rely on a sprawling network of suppliers set up to ship tomatoes, hamburger buns and other staples in regularly scheduled truckloads, and they’re not always equipped for a surge in demand for pumpkin-spice milkshakes or Nashville hot chicken.”

Retail: “Amazon.com Inc. is moving faster to blend its fast-delivery operations with its burgeoning physical retail space. The e-commerce giant is putting company veteran Steve Kessel, a central figure who oversaw development of Amazon’s digital strategy, in charge of the Prime Now operation, Amazon Fresh and its recently acquired Whole Foods busines” [Wall Street Journal]. “Amazon has started placing its delivery lockers for customers in its stores, and bigger, more aggressive moves could be coming with Mr. Kessel in charge of the delivery and store operations.” I dunno. Lockers in a story seem like a ridiculous idea to me, but perhaps it’s generational; I didn’t grow up with a “cubby” in day care, for example, and as an adult, I’ve never had a gym locker.

Retail: “Amazon faces fines following the death of a second warehouse worker in as many months” [CNBC]. “Amazon could face $28,000 in potential fines after an inspection by the state of Indiana found potential workplace safety violations at a warehouse where a 59-year-old worker was killed in late September.” Do the math…

The Bezzle: “A new report by the RAND Corp. argues that instead of waiting for near-perfect driving, we should start putting autonomous vehicles on the road as soon as they are even just a little bit safer than humans. After all, doing so would already lower the number of lives lost in car accidents—even if some of those self-driven vehicles still crash, and even kill” [Slate].

The Bezzle: “Inside the Underground World of Legal Art Forgery” [Architectural Digest]. “[Henry Bloch’s Renoir] is an example of the seldom-spoken yet widespread practice among institutions to forge famous pieces for collectors who’ve either donated or loaned the original works. In 2010, Henry and late wife Marion Bloch promised the Nelson-Atkins Museum their two-decade-old collection of Impressionist and post-Impressionist art. In 2015, two years before the Bloch Collection was slated to debut, the museum began duplicating the works, some in-house, some with external help.” What could go wrong?

The Bezzle: “Uber loses workers’ rights appeal in huge blow to gig economy model” [Daily Dot]. “The London Employment Tribunal shot down its appeal against a previous ruling from last year that judged Uber drivers should be treated as workers, not self-employed. The ruling entitles the 40,000 or so drivers in the U.K. and Wales to a minimum wage, holiday pay, and paid time off.”

Supply Chain: “A growing handful of online brands are taking [the transparent supply chain] model another step. They’re cutting links from that global supply chain, selling from the source straight to consumers and making sure the story gets told. That story might feature Mongolian goat herders—as Naadam’s does—or the artisans in Morocco who weave traditional rugs on the website The Anou. It could be Ethiopian textile weavers who help create the chic clothes at Cienne NY. Or it could be Italian craftspeople producing traditional luxury goods, including those on the artisan marketplace Rossi & Rei, or the shoe brand M. Gemi” [Quartz]. “The point is that the brands believe this information matters, and that in addition to the usual traits of quality and good value, their customers also crave an emotional connection in what they’re buying.”

Five Horsemen: “Our Fearless Five peer over the ragged edge of the Permanently High Plateau into the abyss beyond” [Hat tip, Jim Haygood].

Five Horsemen Nov 10

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 54 Neutral (previous close: 54, Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 69 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed. Last updated Nov 8 at 7:00pm. And post-election day.

Health Care

“Trump officials to allow work requirements for Medicaid” [The Hill]. “The remarks by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) administrator Seema Verma would signal a significant departure from the Obama administration’s approach to such requests. Several states have already proposed work requirements, and Verma’s comments indicate a willingness to fast-track those approvals. The Obama administration repeatedly said work requirements were inconsistent with Medicaid’s mission of providing health care to low-income people. According to Verma, allowing states to impose work requirements is an essential part of granting them more flexibility. Making Medicaid beneficiaries work will ensure they bring themselves out of poverty.” Oh. OK.


“When will the Earth try to kill us again?” [Ars Technica]. Depends on how ticked off Gaia is, I suppose. I’d guess She’s pretty ticked off.

Class Warfare

“Over the last thirty years or so, for example, about 3,000 companies in the United States have entered into settlements with the federal government to resolve criminal investigations” [Corporate Crime Reporter]. “About 2,500 of them have pled guilty. The vast majority of the companies forced to plead guilty are smaller less powerful companies. The remaining 500 companies have been given deferred and non prosecution agreements. And those companies are the large and more powerful companies. They get to sidestep the guilty plea.”

“Top 10 Things Unions Can Do Right Now to Address Sexual Harassment in the Workplace” [On Labor]. “Unions are in a unique position: they have the power to influence how employers address harassment in workplaces where they have collective bargaining relationships or where they are organizing.”

“The Canton Speech” [Jacobin]. This is the speech that Progressive icon Woodrow Wilson jailed Debs for. “The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and all to lose — especially their lives.” Happy Veteran’s Day!

News of the Wired

“Senators push to ditch Social Security numbers in light of Equifax hack” [TechCrunch]. “Multiple times throughout the hearing, Brazil’s Infraestrutura de Chaves Públicas system of citizen IDs through digital certificates came up as a potential model for the U.S. as it moves forward. In this model, a certificate lasts for three years at maximum and can be used to issue a digital signature much like written signatures are used now. Unlike its counterpart in the U.S., these identity accounts can be revoked and reissued easily through an established national protocol.”

“There’s no reason to feel remorse for disinvesting affection we sank into artists who are later revealed to be criminals or abusers. There’s no reason to have qualms about stamping their work ‘Of Archival Interest Only’ and moving on to something new — not just new work, but a new paradigm for relationships in show business, and all business” [Vulture]. “Disinvesting” seems a curious word. But it might be the right one.

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Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are 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 (AF). Buttoning up the garden (more like this, please):

AF writes: “I snapped this picture while planting garlic (the raised bed covered in straw). This was last weekend, November 5th, and I was still picking carrots, onions, peas, kale, spinach and lettuce, in central Maine.”

Readers, I’m doing OK on fall foliage now, but I’m so fascinated to learn that this map is off, I’m going to leave the request up just to see what there is to see…

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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. Vatch

    The word “parents” is doing a lot of work, there; if I recall my Bible Study correctly, Mary was a virgin and the conception didn’t involve Joseph.

    I don’t believe that Mary was a virgin. That fable is based on a mistranslation of the Hebrew word “almah” in the Septuagint version of Isaiah 7:14.


    Almah (עַלְמָה‎ ‘almāh, plural: ‘ălāmōṯ עֲלָמוֹת‎) is a Hebrew word for a maiden or woman of childbearing age who may be unmarried or married.[1] It does not, in and of itself, indicate whether she is a virgin, for which a different Hebrew word betulah is used. The Septuagint version of the Old Testament renders both Hebrew words almah and betulah as the same Greek word parthenos. The term occurs nine times in the Hebrew Bible.

    1. Synoia

      Ah but it’s good PR to reach about the Virgin Birth, because getting pregnant involves the holy spirit , which is an aspect of God.

      The three aspects of god, in that Dogma, are God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. I spent much time in detention after pointing out that the Church Ignored the history when there was only God the Father and God the Holy Spirit, and used the words “child abuse”.

      And yes, in that School System, Divinity or Bible Study, was a part of the curriculum, and I do believe that school should include that broad a syllabus.

      1. Vatch

        school should include that broad a syllabus.

        Well, okay, so long as the Tripitaka, the Upanishads, the Koran, Sextus Empiricus, Plato, and Aristotle are included along with the Bible. Apologies for my inevitable omissions.

        1. clinical wasteman

          thanks Vatch for the philology. Don’t know biblical Hebrew or ancient Greek so can’t claim an opinion on the translation, but curious not to have seen this raised in persecution/defence of ‘Arianism’ (antitrinitarian doctrine according to which Christ was human Son of God but not simultaneously God the Father, implied in Milton’s Paradise Lost, according to some readings, eg Christopher Hill’s great ‘Milton and the English Revolution’ (Faber & later Penguin; sorry couldn’t find US edition except Am*zon/K*ndle)). Do you know of any doctrinal controversy over this implicitly big deal, historically speaking? I ask because I’d actually be interested if that exists, not as a convoluted way or criticising your interpretation.
          Anyway, at least until until reading your comment – & maybe still in terms of Ziegler’s likely target audience – his offhand biblical exegesis struck me as a breathtaking synthesis of heresy and euphemism, and probably a direct product of the monstrous verb “to parent”, implied in the now commonplace but still nonsensical coinage “parenting”.
          Also wondered about “adult carpentry”, but if that’s the euphemisitc sense of “adult”, the idea is too unpleasant to think about for long.

          1. Vatch

            I don’t know how much influence the almah/parthenos question had on Arianism, but I do know that Arianism was a huge controversy in the early Church from around 300 C.E. until around 500 or 600 C.E. The Council of Nicaea was held in 323 to settle the issue. It was settled against the Arians, but after Constantine’s death, his son Constantius II was at least partially an Arian, so I guess the issue really wasn’t settled yet. Some of the Germanic tribes that flowed into the Roman empire, such as Goths and Vandals, became Arians when they converted to Christianity.

            I strongly suspect that Arianism influenced Socinus and the early Unitarians during the Reformation.

          2. Vatch

            In chapter 21 of “The Decline and Fall”, Edward Gibbon makes a nice wisecrack about the Arian schism:

            The Greek word which was chosen to express this mysterious resemblance bears so close an affinity to the orthodox symbol, that the profane of every age have derided the furious contests which the difference of a single diphthong excited between the Homoousians and the Homoiousians.

            You can find the chapter here:


        2. clinical wasteman

          forgot to add just now: also very much agree that multiple traditions of religious thought should be taught in schools as component of history — which would mean discussing them in historical/social context too. But perhaps even worse than overt pushing of a single doctrine exclusively is the ‘soft’ form of a single doctrine — especially that of a state church with the emphasis, historically, on ‘state, eg. Anglicanism — as a quasi-Ethics or quasi-‘Civics’ in state schools anywhere.

          Setting aside the question of overtly religious private schooling (don’t even want to start on whether that should be parents’ choice on kids’ behalf, or conversely on the way Orthodox Jewish schools in my area get liberal criticism when Church of England ones don’t), it’s seriously galling that churches are allowed to run or heavily influence compulsory state schooling in otherwise secular states like the UK (Established state Church but with little influence outside schooling) or Italy, France (constitutionally secular, except: Concordat) and Germany (similar embedding of Catholicism/Lutheranism according to local whim of 16th century princes).
          I hope it’s clear to readers with religious belief that I say this NOT out of anti-religious zealotry (count me 100% in with despisers of Dawkins!), but at least in part because I object to the dilution and disguising of religious history and doctrine that happens when it’s taught as something like a ‘common sense’ branch of ‘civics’. Or worst of all (as in UK) as ‘civics’=’National Heritage’.

          1. Procopius

            I despise Dawkins, too, but for his pushing his conclusions way beyond what his arguments actually support. It infuriates me that he claims to “prove” there is no god, when all he actually succeeds in doing is raising doubts. He knows better. Anyway, I’m not sure which I dislike more, the state Church, as in Anglicanism, or the Church as superior to the secular state, which was getting to be the case by the time of the Reformation. That seems to be what people like Roy Moore want. Greedy scum eaters.

    2. Henry Moon Pie

      You’re such a skeptic. Don’t you know that the LXX is as perfect as the original Hebrew? Seventy scholars in seventy rooms come up with seventy versions that are identical? What an inspiration!

    3. Darthbobber

      Well, but while the “prophecy” in Isaiah didn’t require a virgin birth, the Christians, whose Hebrew was generally less than awesome, and whose Greek was little better, thought that it did. So the Gospels quite explicitly made her a virgin. So in terms of the Xian canon, she’s a virgin, though in terms of the Hebrew one she didn’t HAVE to be.

      1. Vatch

        The Christian New Testament is written entirely in Greek (although it is possible that portions of it are translations from Aramaic). The early Christians used the Greek language Septuagint as their Old Testament. I don’t have much to say about the validity of the prophecy in Isaiah, except that the claim of a virgin giving birth is either a mistranslation or a fairy tale. Christians who believe in the virgin birth should revise their belief — why is Mary’s virginity so important? This particular belief reduces the credibility of the entire religion.

        1. Procopius

          When I was a kid in Sunday School, Mary’s virginity was terribly important both for being a visible miracle and, I think more importantly, because it showed the validity of prophecy. Let’s face it, it’s pretty implausible that the only god should pick a wandering tribe of sheep herders to be His Chosen People, so the apologists through the ages have struggled to find arguments in support. “I know Jesus loves me because the Bible says so and I know the Bible is the word of god because it records men and women saying things before they actually happened and I know this because I can find things in there that almost say what I want them to have said.” I think I was seven when the invalidity of that became clear to me. Maybe eight.

          1. Vatch

            Oh my. If Nate Silver accurately predicts the 2018 election results, would that mean that he is a chosen prophet of God? :-)

  2. Scott

    A ham sandwich is too working class to get nominated by the Dems, unless it was raised without antibodics, has arugula instead of lettuce, and is on organic whole-grain bread.

  3. Synoia

    we should start putting autonomous vehicles on the road as soon as they are even just a little bit safer than humans

    How, pray, do we measure “little bit safer ?”

    This appears as “throw the code out there, and fix the bugs later,” a well know software release strategy.

    1. cojo

      I think there are a lot of ethical implications in this. For instance, it would be interesting to break down current traffic fatalities in two categories, depending on whether the fatality was a driver at fault or was an innocent bystander. We should not be arguing that slightly fewer fatalities is necessarily better in all cases. Protecting people who would would have died due to their own reckless actions (drunk driving, speeding, texting) for the sake of killing a few more innocent bystanders is not a fair trade in my book.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Anybody heard of any plans to mark an automatic car as being so in the same way that learner drivers have an “L” plate on front and back? That way, regular drivers could keep a watch on them the way they do for learner drivers. Also, I have yet to hear of a fail-safety built into those automatic cars so that if there are problems, that they will pull over to the side of the road and call for help.
      I was thinking that a distinctive mark on the car would help other drivers be aware of it. Just until it finally becomes proven technology, you know. Perhaps a series of black concentric circles would make it stand out but then I thought that might not be such a good idea in places like Texas.

  4. Elizabeth Burton

    Who would use Amazon lockers? People who hate shopping. People for whom interacting with store clerks is emotionally challenging. People who don’t have a lot of time, so popping into the store and grabbing their wares from a locker is helpful.

    My husband, who falls into one of those categories if not more, had something shipped to a locker and called it good. Most packages these days are left at the apartment complex office, so if he works past their closing time he has to wait another full day. Not an issue, necessarily, unless you’re running out of something important.

    HEB Markets now offers curbside service—place your order online then swing by and pick it up. It’s fairly new so no idea how well it’s working. Still, what Amazon is doing isn’t all that original, and maybe something other major chains might consider doing.

    1. Kokuanani

      A couple of months ago I was in a Safeway and saw that they had installed a bank of AMAZON lockers. So Safeway is assisting in its own demise? [Folks order groceries from Amazon, have them delivered to the lockers. No need to shop at Safeway.]

      Well, I guess it’s better than letting Amazon in to your place to deliver groceries and steal your furniture.

    2. Lee

      I experience sensory overload in large stores. OTOH, I like to physically inspect items I intend to buy. I do use Consumer Reports to choose some items, then go to a particular store and further check it out. I’ve noticed that big box stores generally have the crapified versions of what I want readily available on their floors, while the higher rated brands and models have to be ordered. I have never used Amazon, preferring whenever possible to deal directly with other outlets and manufacturers. But avoiding Amazon is becoming more difficult lately.

      1. MtnLife

        I’ve been fairly successful at avoiding Amazon but only because most of the things (read: tools) that I buy are highly specialized (arborist equipment), high quality (Felder, Festool, Woodpecker woodworking equipment) , and/or are dealer only (Stihl). Their refusal to crack down on fake products only cements my avoidance behavior – who wants to risk buying imposter PPE? A couple dollars isn’t worth me plummeting to the ground.

        1. Lee

          Thanks for the Woodpecker tip. While familiar with other names you listed, my Stihl chainsaws made me very good money in my youth, Woodpecker is new to me. It’s been awhile since I did any serious woodworking but it is definitely something I intend to return to. Sadly, both the local providers of high quality fine woodworking equipment went out of business. Our area is filling up with people who don’t know how to work with their hands, which is generating business for my son and his friends but at the same time can be pretty pathetic. We had a new neighbor whose dog kept escaping from his backyard. We caught the dog, and then repaired the fence with four nails and a hammer. The owner didn’t own these simple tools and didn’t know how to use them.

          To paraphrase Red Green Show, we may not be rich, charming or handsome, but we are handy.

            1. Jeremy Grimm

              Consider the many uses of duct tape in the Martian. I recall something like “Duct tape is god.” If it works on Mars …

    3. HotFlash

      Yes, it’s very useful to have someone/somewhere to intercept that delivery since you aren’t always at home. Canada Post does that for us here in Canada — but wait, wouldn’t a for-profit company do it *better*?

    4. QuarkfromDS9

      “People for whom interacting with store clerks is emotionally challenging”

      I don’t mean to be a jerk, but if interacting with a store clerk for a minute is emotionally challenging for someone, that person has some really big issues that need to be addressed.

  5. Lee

    Readers, I’m doing OK on fall foliage now, but I’m so fascinated to learn that this map is off, I’m going to leave the request up just to see what there is to see…

    We don’t get much in the way of fall color change here in the SF bay area. An exception is the non-native ginkgo, of which there are some particularly spectacular examples on the UC Berkeley campus.

    As to the map: am I correct in assuming that temperature is the primary driver in determining the autumnal color change? Botanists weigh in, please.

    1. MtnLife

      Yes to temperature. It’s the reason Vermont has such a screwed up foliage season. We were 7-10 degrees above normal since roughly September and slightly colder at the end of August. This led to a very early start and a very protracted season to the extent that we never really hit “peak” foliage – the early changers had already dropped their leaves by the time the mid range changed. Oaks were still green two weeks ago while 75% of the rest of the forest foliage was on the ground.

      1. wilroncanada

        We on the ‘wet’ coast of Canada, on the other hand, coasted into autumn colour with substantial warmth, but clear skies and very little rain or wind. The result was, along with daytime warmth, nights which were cooler than normal, bringing an almost east coast show of colour that maintained itself for several weeks. Now on to normal wet season.

  6. Louis Fyne

    …“Hillary Clinton to guest-edit December issue of Teen Vogue magazine”..

    WT___? 1. teen vogue is still around? 2. i’m sure that 70 y.o. Hillary has much in common with someone born in 2002.

    this smells like an easy way for Conde Nast/a friend of Clinton to write Hillary a check in exchange for “work”

    1. Pat

      I don’t know if you have noticed, but NC has linked to Teen Vogue a lot in the last several months. They were actually doing some decent reporting not seen in the major media outlets. I was beyond saddened to see that they have been brought into the fold. I expect them to be as useful as the Washington Post in enlightening the public regarding the state of the country going forward.

      And it isn’t just as guest editor she will be cashing a check. Clinton will be selling her book and her bull at the Teen Vogue Summit in Los Angeles (she will be in conversation with Yara Shahidi). Others appearing will be Rowan Blanchard, Ava DuVernay, Amanda Stenberg, and Sophia Amorusa. Tickets for the two day event start at $299 and go up from there.

      (I would be distinctly interested in a demographic breakdown of attendees, age and income alone would be enlightening as I can think of few teens who weren’t born on third base being able to attend.)

      1. Vatch

        Clinton will be selling her book

        Oh, oh, oh! That reminds me! Yesterday, Nov. 9, she was scheduled to be in Wisconsin as part of her book tour. As most NC readers know, she did not visit Wisconsin even once during the general election campaign, and she lost the state. Does anyone know whether adhered to her schedule and appeared in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, yesterday?

        1. Tom

          She did appear and as she basked in a one-minute standing O as she took the stage, she quipped: “Should’ve come back sooner.”

          She spoke for 65 minutes, was not asked about why she skipped Wisconsin, was not asked about Brazile’s recent comments about the agreement between the HFA and the DNC and took no questions from the audience.

          At one point she bashed Trump, saying:

          He was the first reality TV candidate, and I was the candidate of reality and it was, you know, it just wasn’t as entertaining.”

          The hour-long interview was moderated by Bradley Whitford, the actor who starred in “The West Wing.”

          Fun fact: Depending on the venue, Hillary charges attendees up to $377 for regular tickets to her book tour. At the Wisconsin event, $500 got you a front-row seat and a signed copy of What Happened.

          Reckless assertion: I’m surprised she doesn’t charge people an exit fee once the talk is over.

          1. Jim Haygood

            Must be humiliating to descend from $500,000 speeches to flogging book-tour seats for $500.

            By next year the threadbare Clintons will be showing up at county fairs, offering photo ops to the plebes for five dollahs.

      2. Procopius

        I have to say, when I see people paying that kind of money, that there is a serious disconnect between the stories I hear of the middle class being hollowed out and what is treated as ordinary activity in the press. I kind of feel the same way over at Eschaton, when I see people talking about what they’re cooking. These are not people who are food insecure.

  7. Tom

    RE: Rand Paul’s Gated Community Grudge Match. I don’t know what’s going on down there in Kentucky, but they sure could use a little more lawn order. Sheesh. Talk about a turf battle.

    1. Arizona Slim

      And what, pray tell, is so awful about not speaking to one’s immediate neighbors? I haven’t had anything to say to mine in quite some time, and that’s okay by me. They’re, shall we say, not the most reputable of people. The less communication we have, the better.

      1. Clive

        I agree wholeheartedly. While there’s nothing intrinsically wrong with most of mine, just the usual English mix of snobbishness, prejudices, class-consciousnesses (not in a good way), slight tendencies to pettiness and only the one lot a few doors down who are a bit on the odd side — so I’d feel a bit perturbed if they were any different because at least they’re all the usual familiar types — I don’t go out of my way to interact with any of them.

        A cheery “hello… yes, fine thanks, and you? good, well, must dash, got a stew on…” is about the most I am comfortable with. Just because they’re there doesn’t mean you have to be fast friends or something. A garden party or barbecue when there’s an excuse of a Royal wedding every few years or so is about as much as I’m willing to put up with.

        1. fresno dan

          Arizona Slime & Clive
          November 10, 2017 at 4:34 pm

          That is just sad – I just moved into my new (old) house, and my next door neighbor and the one next to her both gave me stuff to eat – pumpkin scones in the first case and home made biscotti’s in the second. Yum-yum! so much for my low carb diet….

          I cut some roses (I have NEVER seen a rose bush that had more thorns on it) from my garden for them in return.

          1. el_tel

            family blog so doubt what us Brits really mean is repeatable!

            One of my best male friends & his husband moved into a very Conservative rural village a few years ago. Turns out the neighbours were far more bothered they had “respectable” jobs (they’re both GPs so “yes”) than their sexuality. The main neighbour is a clearly lonely widowed stockbroker who never misses a chance to chat across the fence about cars, his petunias or his gamme leg!

          2. Waitwhatno

            British oddness = bodies buried in the back yard because whenever one of those cases hits the news invariably the neighbours all weigh in with: “Well yes they were a very quiet couple. Kept to themselves and all, but really a bit odd if you ask me…”

            1. Clive

              Yes, that’s about right in the realms of British oddness. For the curious (and to put Lambert out of his misery!), the “odd” household I referred to have never been out of the town (let alone the county) which is, well, odd, here as most people have to travel somewhere for work even if it’s just to the next town a few miles away. And the husband and the wife can’t stand each other and have this bizarre avoidance strategy whereby when one of them gets back to the house, the other goes out. Eavesdropping, we’ve heard their children say that the husband is on the point of walking out and, so they talk, say he’s just going to “disappear” to Australia, or Spain. Or Florida. So that last possibility clearly shows irrationality. But when the lady of the house engages in conversation with the neighbours, it’s all made out to be happy families.

              One of their sons has got involved with a girl who has no obvious job, is round their house all the time, but wears expensive clothes, designier accessories, has what another knowledgeable neighbour advises me is a £150 a month maintenance hairstyle and drives a late model convertible car despite not having any viable means of supporting herself. The son himself has been fired from every job he’s ever gotten after a few months at the most.

              So, yes, it’s all a bit odd.

              But I do so agree in principle with Fresno Dan — it would be lovely to have really nice and like-minded neighbours. I’m all in favour of it in theory. If I could have, say, Dan, Flora, PlutoniumKun, Smithers, Lambert, Yves, maybe Polecat if she didn’t swear too much, Jim Haygood so long as he would keep his economic theories too himself and a few others as neighbours, that’d be great.

              Well, maybe great for a little while. Until we all discovered, horrified, just how odd everyone else was. And how that reprobate Lambert lets his lawn grow too scruffy. Talk about lowering the tone. And what’s with Dan and his roses? Can he not leave them on the plant ? And I hate them as cut flowers, always dropping their petals on the carpet. And how you have to peep out the front window before leaving your house in case you get nobbled by Yves — once she gets started about CalPERS, you’re stuck there for half an hour, honestly, you’d think we’d nothing better to do…

              1. Tom

                This is hilarious — an alternate Naked Capitalism neighborhood. Now all we need is a Basil Fawlty type to run the whole show. Call it Fawlty Scholars.

  8. Pat

    As much of a mess that we have using Social Security numbers as identification (yeah, lets just admit that the prohibition on doing that has been ignored almost as long as they have been around), I find myself beyond unwilling to submit to a new form that is 1.) digital, 2.) needs frequent renewal and 3.) which the government can scrap at will.

    Just call me cynical enough to see a whole lot of deplorables (whomever the elite believe are deplorable at the time) disappearing into the ether. Identities wiped away as if they were never there.

    1. flora

      Imagine all the now 80-year-olds who don’t have computers or smart phones and would never be able to do this. Or imagine all the very poor people just squeeking by on social security retirement benefits. I’m thinking of India’s experiment in demonatisation.

      Here’s a better idea for Congress: do not associate the SSN with credit cards and loan requests. Or do away with the credit reporting agencies like Equifax, that serve no real function beyond unaccountable “gatekeeper”.

      1. Jim Haygood

        No need to imagine; it already happened:

        In July 2016 the Social Security Administration announced it would implement multifactor authentication to comply with Executive Order 13681. But the agency’s original plan, which involved sending one-time passcodes via SMS, came under immediate fire. It required all users to have a mobile phone.

        Additionally, a user had to have a mobile phone with a U.S. number, excluding expats and at least 500,000 benefit recipients living outside the country.

        The new plan increases accessibility. But it still assumes that users have an email account, which some seniors may not have.


        Sounds like a Congressional junket to Brazil is in order, to find out how they manage digital certificates.

        1. JBird

          Wanting to save money, especially as the budget for the Social Security Administration has been steadily cut and/or frozen, and the inability to see that most Americans aren’t like their family, friends, co-workers, neighbors with six figure salaries and a college degree.

          1. MichaelSF

            I retired from SSA, and I’m glad I got out when I did as it sounds like things are continuing to get worse (and worse, and worse . . .)

            The large majority of my coworkers were smart and dedicated to doing a quality job (there are always exceptions) and the “just do more with less” mantra got very old.

            It did appear that the much higher ups (at the political appointee level) were keen on seeing all the old-timers leave along with their institutional memory of “you know, we tried that 15 years ago and it didn’t work then and it is very likely to still not work”.

            A friend of mine came up with one of those statements in a staff meeting to be told by our supervisor “there you go, being cynical again”. No, it didn’t work before, no change since then, and no reason to believe we needed to try the same thing a second time.

            I sometime had thoughts of all the local/state/Fed civil service employees saying “fine, you think we’re all useless time wasters, how about we walk off the job and see how long it takes for the country to grind to a halt?”

            But that would hurt too many innocent people.

  9. False Solace

    The crapification of Amazon?

    I’ve noticed lately that “two day” shipping frequently ends up being 3 or 4 day shipping. “Free one day” shipping usually turns into 2 or 3. And no, they don’t give you any kind of refund. (Maybe you have to waste valuable time complaining if you expect them to live up to their advertising.) In particularly bad example last week, items that should have been delivered on Friday went missing according to Amazon, and I was instructed to apply to customer service, but the items arrived 5 days later. The shipper was listed as “Amazon Logistics” (“AMZL”) instead of UPS or Fedex. Is AMZL their new fleet of planes?

    Amazon recently updated their Kindle Reader Android app. It gets worse with every version. For several months it routinely failed to save the page I was on when I left off a book. Can you imagine a reading app that doesn’t remember what page you last read? Anyone would consider that to be bare minimum functionality. The latest update is unbelievable: all the books in my library have blank titles and no cover art, and when I try to open any of them, the app crashes. I have a flight tomorrow and I guess I’ll be bringing my 5 year old Nook.

    I routinely come across people on Reddit and other discussion sites who profess their love of Amazon and how good the prices are and “you can’t beat free shipping”, but Amazon Prime now costs $99/year, the 2 day shipping isn’t, and I routinely find much cheaper prices at Target or Best Buy. And if I buy something from eBay there’s a much better chance the item I receive won’t be a fake.

    Seems like time to Move On from Amazon…

    1. Vatch

      Now that they’ve achieved market dominance, they have no incentive to continue pretending that they care about their victims customers.

      1. clinical wasteman

        not a question that ever seems to have arisen regarding [“victims”] warehouse workers. (Does anyone know an NC-compatible OS X (not “i”) shortcut for strikethrough?)
        Fortunately, some of the precarious logistical class decline to be victims:
        (apologies for second or maybe even third link to this site within a year or so, but it’s regularly updated & highly recommended even if you already saw the other ones a few months back)

        1. Vatch

          “strike” in angle brackets followed by forward slash “strike” in angle brackets (no quote marks). Does this fail on some systems? Is it deprecated?

    2. Carolinian

      Perhaps off topic but if your library supplies books via the Overdrive system then try their excellent browser reader (option: “read in browser”). This does keep your place in the book and can be used offline by bookmarking the book like a webpage and using the “read offline” option in the settings. It then downloads the book into the browser cache. I read books this way on my laptop.

      You can also of course find older out of copyright books and read them on a wide variety of reader applications that are better than Kindle. While most libraries now allow ebook loans via the Kindle website, why would you do that given the spyware aspect of Amazon in general? Bezos doesn’t need to have his tentacles around everything.

      1. clinical wasteman

        Also, physical Kindle machine (relatively old, non-colour versions anyway) does this reliably. And although physical books don’t (except with the advanced ‘physical bookmark’ app), they’re a lot quicker to flick through/open at roughly the right place.
        Aside from obnoxious labour practices, difficulty of moving back & forth within a book seems maybe the most annoying Kindle design flaw. Almost as though it never occurred to them that some people might read collections of poetry or essays non-sequentially, or refer back to passages in books read years earlier.

  10. jsn

    Making Medicaid beneficiaries work will ensure they bring themselves out of poverty.

    So they think poor health causes jobs?

  11. clarky90

    Re “Our Pervasive Fake Culture”. I see outright lying everywhere and all the time. It is shameless!

    Reichsfilme – Das Leben Der Juden Im KZ Theresienstadt (full documentary, german)


    The Nazis forced “Kurt Gerron, a Jewish actor-director, to make a short film about the Theresienstadt Concentration Camp to show audiences that the inmates … were not being abused. In return, the Nazis promised that the director and actors would live.

    However, shortly after Gerron finished shooting the film, he and other cast members were “evacuated” to Auschwitz, where they were gassed upon arrival”.


    Notice how even words are fake. “Evacuated” means murdered.

    I shed tears of joy when “The Hollywood” Progressive, Obama, was first elected. (Change you can believe in).

    Or when “The Hollywood Feminist”, Harvey Weinstein (producer of films like “Shakespeare in Love”) marched at the Women’s March in Park City, Utah.

    Or seeing the nuanced performance of Kevin Spacey in “American Beauty”.

    All of these bastards moved me to tears. And, It is not because I am stupid. It is because I am trusting.

    Everyday, we trust that our food is safe, that other drivers follow the road rules, that health guidelines are scientific, the “News” is accurate, that our bank accounts are not being pilfered, that supplied electricity is the correct voltage, that there is not lead in our water………

    When we stop believing in our everyday lives, it is freaking upsetting. We are on our own. This is extremely unnerving, for very social animals, like human beings.

    1. JBird

      Some people/families/corporations have spent a lot of money to destroy both that trust and the ability of others to protect us.

  12. Jim Haygood

    Venezuela squeaks through till Monday:

    Bondholders say that the Depository Trust Company has finally confirmed that PDVSA has belatedly made a full $1.1bn bond payment that was due last Friday, and the money is expected to arrive early next week.

    But with PDVSA’s payment now on its way, the ISDA “determinations committee” has decided to punt the issue to a follow-up meeting to be held on November 13, presumably to see if the money has been distributed in full by then.

    Venezuela’s haphazard payment caused a bizarre quandary for the ISDA committee, which had to consider a situation where the bond is repaid in full and bondholders decline to declare a default, but CDS holders want a default ruling over the late payment in order to cash in.


    Might as well buy a case of Polar beer to celebrate this temporary good fortune … while supplies last.

  13. fresno dan


    The pro-life group had a permit for a demonstration and also the ultimate permission in the form of the First Amendment, to offer their viewpoint on campus. That didn’t stop Thatcher from erasing their chalk messages and telling the students, “the whole idea of free speech is that we have a free speech area here on campus.” He added, “Free speech is free speech in the free speech area. It’s a pretty simple concept, okay? This does not constitute a free speech area. Okay?” Toward the end of the exchange, he summed it up, “College campuses are not free speech areas.”

    Thatcher claimed the messages should be allowed only in a designated “free speech area” on campus, and says in the video that “college campuses are not free speech areas.” Fresno State does not have a designated free speech zone, and the university said after the incident that “our entire campus is open and supports freedom of expression.”

    The pro-life students did not agree with the condescending professor’s view of free speech and sued. Now the court has come down on the side of the students. Thatcher will pay Fresno State students Bernadette Tasy and Jesus Herrera $1,000 each in damages and pay $15,000 to the Alliance Defending Freedom which filed the lawsuit.

    But the best part is this: Thatcher will have to spend 2 hours receiving remedial First Amendment training from the Alliance Defending Freedom.

    Well, if the whole university is a free speech zone, that is some progress…

  14. D

    Doing an Amazon warehouse search on those deaths at a news aggregator (NewsNow [UK]), I found it interesting that neither of those Amazon warehouse deaths, were even covered by a major news outlet until over one month later (the 2nd death was on September 24th, the first September 9th), and even then very, very few of them have picked it up.

    A further interesting side result of that search was a huge Amazon warehouse fire on November 5th, in the UK, and again, it looks like no major news outlets even mentioned it, not even in the UK:

    11/10/17 Amazon Rugeley Warehouse Fire Likely Caused By Arsonists, Firefighters Warn – It took fire crews several hours to tackle the blaze.

    A blaze tore through Amazon’s flagship Rugeley warehouse this Saturday Despite the fact that up to 1,600 permanent and 3,400 temporary Amazon staff are employed at the warehouse depending on the time of year, no-one was injured in the incident following a mass evacuation.

    Police are now treating the case as suspicious after a fire investigation found evidence to suggest the blaze set deliberately.
    The fire comes less than a year after another serious fire at the Rugeley site in 2016.

    The warehouse also hit the headlines earlier this year after HuffPost UK revealed that some of its staff were earning less than minimum wage after being effectively forced to pay a third-party for the “benefit” of a special bus service to the site.

    It came to light that employees of the American giant were pocketing as little as £6.80 an hour after paying to get to the remote rural location.

    From this piece, the fire started at 2:00AM November 5th:

    Amazon’s huge Rugeley warehouse on fire weeks before Christmas – More than 1,000 workers evacuated in 2am blaze

    More than 1,000 Amazon workers at the online delivery giant’s Midland warehouse were evacuated in the early hours of Sunday as a fire ripped through the depot.

    Around 1,100 employees were ordered out of the firm’s massive Rugeley base as a blaze tore through the first and second floors just after 2am.

    For the life of me, I’ll never understand why anyone who really needn’t, when confronted with how horrid Bezos is, how these employees are treated, and how many brick and mortar small businesses have been destroyed, uses Amazon. I confess I’ll be thinking of them with much anger when the drones start delivering in already congested areas and there’s not a store around to purchase needed goods from but Amazon.

  15. Samuel Conner

    re: Why then, does the Democrat establishment not make 24/7/365 voter registration a core party function and expand their base? The only answer I can see is that they prefer not to. They prefer fighting with the Republicans to pick up Romney voters.

    Perhaps another way of putting this would be to hypothesize that “they prefer to not try to govern in a way that would best represent the interests of those additional voters and so prefer that they not vote.”

    Sort of a Hamiltonian take.

    1. Jeff W

      “they prefer to not try to govern in a way that would best represent the interests of those additional voters and so prefer that they not vote.”

      Absolutely—I agree with that. It’s why you hear only about Democrats winning over “the Trump voter” (62,979,636 of those) and never about getting some of the 91,885,186 people—a 45% larger pool—who were eligible to vote in 2016 but didn’t—to come out to the polls.

        1. Procopius

          Well, half of them make more than $70,000 a year, which I believe is well above the median family income. Those are the ones the Democrat leadership are interested in. The ones you see in interviews are outliers, chosen for their amusement factor.

  16. dearieme

    “The ruling entitles the 40,000 or so drivers in the U.K. and Wales to a minimum wage”: you must mean England and Wales, surely?

  17. dearieme

    “… Progressive icon Woodrow Wilson jailed Debs for.” Harding released him. Isn’t that worth a mention?

    “The master class has always declared the wars; the subject class has always fought the battles. The master class has had all to gain and nothing to lose, while the subject class has had nothing to gain and all to lose — especially their lives.” It’s ironic that in WWI that proved to be quite wrong, certainly for Britain and presumably for Germany too. The losses for the sons of the master class were proportionately higher than for the sons of the subject class.

    1. makedoanmend

      Of course the wholesale slaughter of the innocents in that abjectly senseless of all wars massively outweighed the losses of the “master” classes. There’s a rather good contrast between the earlier poetry of, say, Rupert Brooke with its appeal to patriotic flavours and that of Wilfred Owen from more humble circumstances with its rather jaded take on the those same patriotic flavours. An excerpt from Owen’s Dulce et Decorum Est:

      “If in some smothering dreams you too could pace
      Behind the wagon that we flung him in,
      And watch the white eyes writhing in his face,
      His hanging face, like a devil’s sick of sin;
      If you could hear, at every jolt, the blood
      Come gargling from the froth-corrupted lungs,
      Obscene as cancer, bitter as the cud
      Of vile, incurable sores on innocent tongues, —
      My friend, you would not tell with such high zest
      To children ardent for some desperate glory,
      The old lie: Dulce et decorum est Pro patria mori.”

      A tragedy that keeps on giving to this very day.

    2. BoycottAmazon

      I’d be interested in some hard stats about those claims of losses per class in both countries.

      As to the UK, if true, then it probably was a blessing in disguise as the empire was about to implode. No need for children raised on the fields of Rugby to go overseas and continue bashing the lower classes, ie colonial persons, into place. In Germany, much of the Vons and industrial class that were not gotten rid of prior by the Nazi, but rather rode them to slave labour heaven, did rather well for themselves.

  18. Big River Bandido

    Lambert, what did you mean by “consider the source” regarding the Counterpunch article? Was that a snarky reference to Counterpunch being listed by the PropOrNot fraud? Or was it a reference to John Whitehead and some aspect of his history of which I’m unaware? Been trying to wrap my head around that since last night and can’t figure it out.

    I found that article to be spot-on, particularly vis-a-vis how so many people are easy marks for the ginning up of vague fears as a distraction from the failures of the regime; and how they so easily forget even the most recent history and events in the rush and under the duress of constant scare threats hype.

    I have not (willingly) watched teevee in over 20 years, and I only (reluctantly and warily) read mass-information news organs when I encounter them through the filter of curated sites like NC. So by the time I read a piece from the NYT or WaPo — which is rare, indeed, as I have little use for stories about how to speak to a nanny — my guard is already up. As a result, I’m downright cynical about what the Wurlitzer considers “threats”. I think the bigger threat comes from what Whitehead identifies as the general public’s response to the constant elevation of fear, and its willingness to accept more and more “police power” from government and private interests. I find, furthermore, that I’m cursed to remember past events, and I see through so many of the inconsistencies in the mainstream “narrative”. The constant lying and changing stories infuriate me enough to consider taking up drinking…

  19. D

    Lambert, Re:

    NewsNow[UK], which I accessed those links from, can be quite useful when you get used to it; though searches only go back about 3 months prior, and are usually limited to a two word maximum. I.e. my results were from Amazon Warehouses, not, unfortunately, Amazon Warehouse Deaths). It’s been noted as the second largest news aggregator after Google, which I refuse to use. If you click on the World News category on the top menu bar, you can then use the left sidebar to narrow down to Continent/Vicinity, or to specific Country news pages.

    On the larger subject, Amazon’s Inhuman Warehouses, arson indeed, at 2:00AM, on a Sunday morning – perhaps by someone(s) who lost family members there – though knowing Bezos, it’s equally likely that there were significant fire hazards, never corrected from the 2016 fire there. Just can’t help but wonder how those September warehouse deaths, and that, not insignificant warehouse fire (1,600 permanent plus 3,400 temporary employees sounds like an enormous warehouse) news was kept so silent during the Campus Bid Process, lest the citizens who might be subject to the new Monstrosity look to their duplicitous State and Local legislators and ask: why would you subject us to this?

    God knows what else has been kept under wraps in the last two plus months regarding Amazon, since the New Campus maneuver, let alone historically.

    Lastly, re: the 2016 Holiday Season, 2:00 AM, Sunday Fire(s) (oops!), emphasis mine :

    11/13/16 Amazon warehouse in Rugeley evacuated after fire – More than 1,000 Amazon workers at the online delivery giant’s Midland warehouse were evacuated on Sunday as a fire ripped through the depot.

    Around 1,100 employees were ordered out of the firm’s massive Rugeley base as a blaze tore through the first and second floors just after 2am.

    Up to 20 firefighters were at the scene throughout the night and Staffordshire Police officers were also there.

    There was a small fire in the Rugeley fulfilment centre in the early hours of this morning which was quickly extinguished.”

    – Amazon spokesperson


    It has also emerged there was a small fire at the same depot last Wednesday, the cause of which is also being investigated.

    (Wish I remembered how to use font coloring, and too lazy to look for my notes, would have colored that priceless Amazon Spokesperson quote in red for FIRE.)

  20. D

    Oh my, I just noticed – revisiting that search I linked to in my above comment – that in my haste to put together a post yesterday in a timely matter, I missed yet another suppressed, post New Campus Bidding Early in the AM tidbit, emphasis mine:

    10/20/17 Staff evacuated from Amazon warehouse in Gourock due to bomb threat – Workers at the Amazon warehouse in Gourock have been evacuated

    Emergency services were called to the warehouse on Cloch Road at Faulds Park in Gourock, Inverclyde, following the alert at 5.15am on Friday, STV reported.

    Hundreds of staff are understood to have been evacuated from the depot.

    A Police Scotland spokeswoman said: “At around 5.15am, police received a report of a suspicious package found at a depot in Gourock.

    Ah, have some of the perpetually tracked, ‘tracked’ the Trackor Predator:

    Police confirmed that the suspicious package found at Amazon in Gourock turned out to be “some sort of tracking device”.

    A spokeswoman said: “Police Scotland can confirm that the suspicious package sent to a depot in Gourock is not a viable device.

    “The item appears to be some sort of tracking device.

    Perhaps Bezos is not well loved in the UK?

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