2:00PM Water Cooler 11/13/2017

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Readers, I’m sorry this is a bit light. I’m having enormous workflow problems trying to transition away from Yahoo Mail, and I have all sorts of material hung up in Outbox limbo. (iOS has the pleasing UX characteristic of simply leaving mail it can’t send in the Outbox without alerting you in any way, ever). Hopefully I’ll get this sorted soon. –lambert


“Led by Japan, the TPP-11 trade ministers issued a joint statement on Saturday outlining their plan for bringing the deal into force under the new name of “Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.” That includes a list of 20 provisions that would be “suspended” now that the United States is no longer part of the pact” [Politico]. “But the documents also referred to four more issues that must be resolved before countries are ready to sign the revised accord. Those include an issue on state-owned enterprises related to Malaysia; a commitment on coal affecting Brunei; a dispute settlement provision involving trade sanctions connected with Vietnam; and a cultural exception issue related to Canada.” CanLit rules, eh?

“[Trump] encouraged Vietnam to buy more from the United States, adding: ‘We make the best equipment, we make the best military gear and planes and anything you can name. The missiles are in a category that nobody even comes close'” [Politico]. If by missiles Trump means drones, I’m not sure he’s right. If he plans to sell Vietnam ballistic missiles, that would be quite remarkable.


2016 Post Mortem

UPDATE ‘The One County In America That Voted In A Landslide For Both Trump And Obama” [Cook Political Report]. “Howard County, Iowa (population 9,332), stands out as the only one of America’s 3,141 counties that voted by more than 20 percentage points for Obama in 2012 and Trump in 2016. Democrats can’t credibly blame Howard County’s enormous 41-point swing in just four years on a last-minute letter to Congress, voter ID laws or Russia-sponsored Facebook ads…. Last month, [Laura] Hubka resigned her post as [Democrat County] chair and published a scathing blog post about Democrats’ aloofness to voters in places like Howard County and the party’s failure to come to grips with the election result. ‘Can we just stop and admit we’re part of the problem?’ she vented to me. ‘People who were longtime supporters didn’t want to hear what we had to say anymore.'” Right. What they want to hear about is Russia, Russia, Russia! Also, Facebook.


“Biden 2020? It’s Not as Crazy as It Sounds” [Albert Hunt, Bloomberg]. “After three-and-a-half years of Trump, what will swing voters be looking for? A grown-up who is committed to getting things done by trying to bridge the bitter partisan divide. A person with experience in governing, savvy about the ways of Washington and wary of national-security booby traps. A reputation for incorruptibility to drain the ethical swamp of the Trump years.” I’m totally certain that the Senator who condemned a generation of college students to debt slavery by making student loans non-dischargeable in bankruptcy can reinvent himself to appeal to millennials, even at the age of 74. In other words, Biden 2020 is exactly as crazy as it sounds.

“Yet Clinton is also looking forward, having started a new slush fund that could easily become a campaign super PAC. It’s called Onward Together, and she cited it in a volley of tweets where she claimed credit for the Democrats’ wins in the New Jersey and ­Virginia governor’s races” [New York Post]. Or, as the Twitter-banned Peter Douche rehashtagged it; #OwnedTogether. Here’s the Tweet:

So, if you want to know who the Clintonite front groups are, they are: @RunforSomething, @EmergeAmerica, @IndivisibleTeam, @ColorofChange (Philly only), as well as @theDemocrats, @EMILYsList, and @TheDLCC. I wonder how many of these “progressive” groups support #MedicareForAll? @IndivisibleTeam most certainly does not.


“McConnell Says He Believes Roy Moore Accusers, Calls on Him to Quit the Race” [NBC]. “McConnell said Republicans are exploring a write-in option in Alabama. ‘That’s an option we’re looking at — whether or not there is someone who could mount a write-in campaign successfully,’ McConnell said.”

The centrist war on the left continues:

Neera’s tweet:

Centrist coat tails, a novel concept.

Trump Transition

“Polling shows that the president will need to do a slick sales job to convince the public that they’ll benefit from tax reform. A recently-released NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows just 25 percent of registered voters approve of the Trump plan, while 35 percent oppose. A 40 percent plurality have no idea what’s even in the emerging tax proposal. These numbers, suggesting public unfamiliarity with a crucial White House initiative, are eerily similar to the early numbers on the failed Obamacare rollback” [National Journal]. “Even more worrisome for Republicans: By nearly a 2-to-1 ratio, more voters think the plan will actually raise taxes (25 percent) than cut them (14 percent). Republican politicos desperately want to sell a “tax cut” to their constituents, but good luck making that case when tax cuts are being paired with the removal of deductions popular among many middle-class families.”

“Trump dominates the GOP base. Party leaders live with the consequences.” [WaPo]. “Republicans have been dealing with a split between their establishment wing and a populist insurgency for some time. This is a function of the widening socioeconomic coalition that now comprises the Republican Party, a coalition that includes what used to be called country club Republicans; evangelical Christians, who became a powerful force inside the party beginning with Ronald Reagan (and who are no longer a monolithic political force); and a 21st-century version of what once were called Reagan Democrats. Trump has added an additional layer…. Candidate Trump ran roughshod over those issues and questions. He attracted his own coalition, found a path through the states in the upper Midwest that secured his electoral college victory, and along the way rewrote the rules for how a Republican could win the presidency.” A useful summary.

“Democrats, cut the cheer” [WaPo]. “whatever strength Democrats have gained from identity politics appears to have reached a natural ceiling. Candidate Trump built his campaign on his willingness to offend people. He bashed immigrants, linked Mexicans to violent crime, dog-whistled to white supremacists. Yet when the votes were counted, Trump outperformed 2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney among African American voters and matched Romney among Latinos.” We’ll see how this plays out in a post-Weinstein world. I’d speculate that if Democrats do nothing more than create a 10% vs. 10% fight, and take down some celebrities and media figures — as opposed to that supervisor at Walmart — the current moral panic will make no difference at all in 2020. (Roy Moore figures are a separate issue.)

Realignment and Legitimacy

“A convicted felon-turned-environmental activist registered as a Democrat but running as a Republican defeated the black female Democratic incumbent in York’s mayoral race on Election Day last week” [Washington Examiner]. “And he did it with a local coalition of Bernie Sanders and Republican supporters and a breakdown of trust in the leadership of the incumbent mayor.” To be fair, this is an outlier.

DSA delivering concrete material benefits:

“Trump’s real constituency isn’t the white working class at all” [E.J. Dionne, WaPo]. “Rather than just celebrate the good news, Democrats and anti-Trump Republicans should move next to undermine Trump’s key asset. He needs to be exposed as a fraud whenever he says he has the backs of the “forgotten men and women” whose living standards have been shattered in the new economy. Admittedly, doing this will be harder for conservatives than for progressives.” Dionne neatly lumps liberals and the left under “progressives.” In fact, “doing this” is easy for the left, because putting the working class first is what the left is all about it. “Doing this” is nearly impossible for liberals; see Thomas Frank.

Stats Watch

Today is a very dull day for official statistics.

Shipping: “Some 82 percent of all assets have a random failure pattern, [Ralph Rio, vice president of Enterprise Software of ARC Advisory, a leading technology research firm for industry and infrastructure] said” [Logistics Management]. “That probability of failure can be reduced through increased IoT examination of these patterns to better do preventative maintenance in trucks, railroad cars and other transport assets, he said.”

Shipping: “Heathrow’s jubilant announcement that cargo volumes are up some 10% year-on-year has been tempered by severe congestion in the cargo area” [The Loadstar]. “One forwarder told The Loadstar this week: ‘Heathrow is screwed currently, due to queues and congestion. They just started turning all vehicles away – which is not conducive to speeding-up already delayed air freight movements.'”

Shipping: “Freight volumes and rates are busting out all over. Shipper-carrier discussions are focused more on securing capacity than on pricing. Transport assets are now in big-time demand” [DC Velocity]. “Even the humble domestic trailer on flatcar, written off several years ago as an anachronism in a containerized world, has come roaring back to life. The equipment is experiencing double-digit traffic gains due to a shortage of containers in the U.S. trades and concerns that shippers and intermodal marketing companies will need a safety valve in the event truck capacity is inadequate on key lanes.”

Retail: “Fewer major retailers have announced large-scale hiring announcements so far this year, which reflects the drop in the number of October employment gains in the sector. Gains fell 8 percent from last year to 136,700, the lowest October gain since 2011, when the sector added 134,200 jobs” [Econintersect]. Compensated for in warehousing and trucking, one hopes. Which it isn’t, really, labor not being fungible.

Retail: “The turmoil [in changing technology and shifting consumer buying patterns] has been evident at U.S. seaports, where imports of traditional toys slumped 5% in September, according to trade analysts Panjiva, while videogame shipments rose 40%” [Wall Street Journal].

Retail: “Alibaba racked up more than $25.3 billion in sales in [the annual Singles Day promotion] 24-hour sales period, 42% more than a year ago, while JD’s $19.1 billion in sales were up 50% from last year” [Wall Street Journal]. “Alibaba added incentives, including pushing preorders, marketing games and fresh promotions that produce big numbers but also come at a cost to margins. And the sudden spike in shipments can jam logistics operations.”

Supply Chain: “Researchers at Texas A&M reported as part of a study for analytics group Inrix that driving times for U.S. commuters have been relatively constant over the past decade but the congestion has spread out beyond the traditional morning and evening busy periods. The WSJ’s Jo Craven McGinty writes the delays are mounting, and Inrix’s annual scorecard shows congestion now costs each U.S. drivers a total of nearly $300 billion” [Wall Street Journal]. “The expanding congestion clock is putting more pressure on distribution channels, complicating efforts by truck and delivery drivers to operate outside the busiest traffic windows.”

Labor: “Which Firms Create More Jobs: Startups or Older Firms?” [Federal Reserve Bank of St Louis]. “Dvorkin and Gascon found that the startups accounted for most of the net job creation from 2011-2014.” ZOMG!! Start-ups!!!!! Except: “Almost all the US jobs created since 2005 are temporary.”

Honey for the Bears: “Still no sign of a rebound” (FRED chart of commercial and industrial loans, still cratering) [Mosler Economics]. And this handy chart:

Thanks, Obama!

The Bezzle: “Tesla Approaches Terminal Decline” [Seeking Alpha]. Normally I wouldn’t run a piece like this, but this seems well-researched. See especially section “4. Management” for personnel attrition. Readers, typical for the genre, therefore a steep discount to be applied? Or a good take?

Rapture Index: Closes down 1 on volcanoes. “There has been much rumbling, but few eruptions” [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10 2016: 189. Current: 184. That comment: I didn’t know evangelicals did Zen.

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 59 Greed (previous close: 54, Neutral) [CNN]. One week ago: 66 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed. Last updated Nov 9 at 7:00pm. A modest swing toward greed before the weekend.

Health Care

“On the first day of enrollment alone, Nov. 1, one source close to the process told The Hill that more than 200,000 people selected a plan for 2018, compared with about 100,000 last year. More than 1 million people visited healthcare.gov that day, compared to about 750,000 last year, the source said” [The Hill]. “It is still early in the process and it is unclear how the final sign-up numbers will come out. Sign-ups early in the enrollment season are often people renewing their coverage, not new enrollees.”

UPDATE Kevin Drum goes triumphalist, as ObamaCare reaches (roughly) 50% approval ratings: “After all, what’s wrong with decent health care at a decent price for everyone, especially if it hasn’t turned America into a socialist hellhole where we all have to wait months to see our government doctor?” [Mother Jones]. Kumbaya, Kevin…

Big Brother Is Watching You Watch

“The “PreCheck” program is billed as a convenient service to allow U.S. travelers to “speed through security” at airports. However, the latest proposal released by the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) reveals the Department of Homeland Security’s greater underlying plan to collect face images and iris scans on a nationwide scale. DHS’s programs will become a massive violation of privacy that could serve as a gateway to the collection of biometric data to identify and track every traveler at every airport and border crossing in the country” [Electronic Frontier Foundation]. “Officer, where does it say I can’t wear my Nixon mask a public space?” Or my “adversarial,” “perturbed” luggage, for that matter.

Our Famously Free Press

“THE BLOG NOBODY NEEDS. It’s Wonkette” [The Outline]. “If you ever wanted to know how liberal bloggers in the MySpace era would have reacted to the news that Donald Trump would one day be president, [senior editor Evan Hurst] spells it out: ‘Trump’s First Days In Office Were Epic F!ck Show, And We Can’t Stop LOLing.'”

News of the Wired

“Searx is a free internet metasearch engine which aggregates results from more than 70 search services. Users are neither tracked nor profiled” [Github]. I tried it out. Google News search has gone from merely bad to practically useless (and from an agnotological standpoint, actively malevolent):

So I’m looking for alternatives.

“Seriously? I paid 80$ to have Vader locked?” [Reddit]. Top comment is said to be “The most downvoted comment in Reddit’s history” (-368K points as of this writing).

“Patterns and Privilege, East and West: Jeffrey Milstein’s LANY” [Lens Culture]. Gorgeous aerial photography. (All the pictures take a bit to load, though some appear right away.)

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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 (Bob):

Bob writes: “Not a great fall for pictures. It got very cold, then summer started. Lots of washed out browns on bright, hot days. Not the best for pictures.”

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. diptherio

    In the UK there’s a crowdfunding campaign going on to create a cooperative version of Uber.


    Together with trade unionists, tech partners and passengers, we are at the core of a group of socially minded people who know they can build something better than Uber – a driver-owned alternative that is just as convenient and competitive on price, but treats its passengers and drivers with respect.

    The New Economics Foundation (NEF) is the UK’s people-powered think tank. We are the home for new ideas to secure real change in our economy, to enhance the quality of people’s lives and protect our environment. We’ve worked with drivers in Leeds and Bradford to explore a worker-owned platform, and are now ready to take this concept to the capital.

    1. Elizabeth Burton

      They might want to get in touch with the ATX Coop Taxi group. It launched as an alternative for owner-operators when the Uber/Lyft invasion began as a response to the (usually Uber-sponsored) complaints about lack of availability of traditional cabs.

  2. Jim Haygood

    Thug meets thug:

    MANILA — President Trump said on Monday that he had a “great relationship” with President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, making little mention of human rights at his first face-to-face meeting with an authoritarian leader accused of carrying out a campaign of extrajudicial killings in his nation’s war on drugs.

    Mr. Duterte’s spokesman denied that the subject of rights was ever broached, even as the Philippine president spoke about the “drug menace” in his country.

    As journalists shouted questions about whether Mr. Trump would press Mr. Duterte on human rights, the Philippine president quickly silenced them.

    “You are the spies,” he told the reporters, as Philippine security personnel jostled some of them roughly. The remarks elicited a hearty laugh from Mr. Trump before the journalists were led out of the room.


    Duterte’s death squads recall the US-funded death squads of Guatemala and El Salvador, which produced floods of Central American refugees in the US and violent gangs such as MS-13.

    That Trump has no problem with Duterte’s death squads suggests that he’d have no objection to them here in the Heimatland either, should they prove “necessary.”

    1. Jim Haygood

      “Human rights obviously not a priority in @POTUS’s meeting with Duterte — again, sad,” Sen John McCain wrote on Twitter.

      When you’ve lost John McCain …

          1. JBird

            McCain did tepidly opposed “inhanced interrogation” better known as torture. I think when he did it in some public forums he actually got booed by the Republican audience.

            I think he is a bit of a fraud but that mocking of a military vet and multi year torture victim when he says it is unAmerican to torture people was really troubling.

    2. clinical wasteman

      Most directly, Duterte’s death squads resemble those of Thaksin Shinawatra in Thailand a couple of decades back, which also slaughtered thousands of presumed/users of illegal drugs. Worth noting that in both cases, despite the countries’ respective status as something like entrepots in the South-East Asian heroin cartel system (see Cockburn & St Clair on the US-centric geopolitics of that), the death squads mostly went/go after local, working class consumers of cheap amphetamine-type stimulants, i.e. drugs that enable WORK when an onslaught of it that few of us could imagine — especially once unwaged work is factored in – is imposed on pain of personal and family starvation, eviction, etc. The FT among others has occasionally reported almost sympathetically on what Duterte offers as a pseudo-amnesty — again, not for trafficking mafiosi but for users trying to survive — namely, labour camps of course. Almost “good old-fashioned”, like in North Korea where it’s bad, but with physical withdrawal compounding the punishment. A special place in hell for these “mavericks” would be far too good.*

      *The most jarring political cognitive dissonance episode I remember experiencing in recent years was when huge numbers of Thailand’s working & “peasant” class stood up to the perpetual landowning/military/royal ascendancy (whose “yellow shirt” thugs used golf clubs as weapons before standing aside for the army), but did so in the name of wretched, bloodthirsty, class-splitting Thaksin. (Sorry editors for creating more moderation work with those adjectives if that’s what happens. I hope it’s clear that this is in good faith.)

      A few years later I still think the “red shirts” were probably mostly heroic, though doomed in their hope for a messianic-capitalist saviour from capital. (And for what it’s worth — i.e. next to nothing — probably Th*ksin & certainly his sister were “illegally” deposed by the last Vietnam/Laos war army standing). It’s telling that TS was several continents away at the time and didn’t, as far as I’ve ever seen, run a “grassroots” cadre system trained to organize a revolt. So the “red shirts movement” seems to have been self-organized in spite of him, and this is important, but it’s also clear that a great many active participants didn’t see it that way.

      If there’s any sense to be extracted from all that, I guess it’s that those politicians, cops & capitalists who “get half of the working class to kill the other half” (attributed to John Pierpoint Morgan; reference here to reported ‘popular support’/participation in Thai & Filipino anti-drug-user lynchobs, not “red/yellow”) are the vilest and most dangerous of all. There seems to be a lot of that around at the moment. And the idea that it’s a monopoly of “populists” rather than also standard Centrist policy (“Law&Order” as carefully cultivated votewinner, Support Our Troops, etc etc) is a joke.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      Indeed. Fortunately, Obama has put all the machinery for that in place with his kill list disposition matrix, and actually whacked a U.S. citizen with no due process, so we know it works. Well played, all.

  3. Big River Bandido

    Amazing that after 30 years, Al Hunt still manages to get himself off with those fetishes of “getting things done” and “bridging the partisan divide”. And of course, he throws in the “grownup” thing, just for good measure.

    Thank Dog for gridlock. May it forever keep Hunt and his ilk on the outside.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      It will be like Hillary 2020 but without any token or nostalgic appeal.

      “Biden 2020: If you thought Hillary was too good for this country!”

      “Biden 2020: Obama passed over Evan Bayh and Tim Kaine for Joe!”

    2. Elizabeth Burton

      The utter state of oblivion by the Democratic establishment to the fact no person living in the real world thinks there’s a hoot in h***’s chance of “bipartisanship” in a Congress where one side has a plutocrat-provided playbook to follow is stunning.

        1. Kurt Sperry

          I assumed the “one side” here referred to the R/D duopoly. There is no “partisan divide” when it comes to servicing plutocrats, they take turns doing the “servicing” for couch change.

      1. Allegorio

        “Bipartisan” is the code for the plutocrat playbook! Biden is the establishment’s answer to Senator Sanders grandfatherly gravitas. It will be one interesting contest. Hopefully Sanders will not pull his punches as he did with Clinton.

  4. Pat

    I’m assuming it was on the Today show, but Yahoo earlier was really pushing the Biden claim that he would not have replaced Clinton. Mind you this was among the stories that it wasn’t possible for Brazile to do that (not understanding that she was considering the possibles if Clinton really was collapsing physically and that the Board would certainly have replaced her on the ticket if there was no hiding that.) Now I might have to go seek out the video on this because I want to see how Biden said it with a straight face and how the interviewers didn’t burst out laughing when he said it. Especially since he is clearly now setting up another failed fun at the Presidential nomination.

      1. clinical wasteman

        one enormous gasp, perhaps lasting years, while the reader absorbs the idea that someone deliberately plagiarized Kinnock. Plagiarsm of Paul Ryan is the closest analogy I can think of, but didn’t he win some sort of an election some time?

    1. Tom

      Agreed. Biden is running. He started a 19-city book tour this morning with a 4-hour marathon appearance on the Today show, where he lost no time in declaring that “I haven’t closed the door” on making a presidential run.
      His first stop on the book tour is tonight at the Lincoln Center in New York. The tour is called “American Promise Tour; Finding Purpose in a Time of Uncertainty” and the promo material says Biden will be “In Conversation with Stephen Colbert.” (!) After the Lincoln Center gig, Biden is scheduled to appear on Colbert’s Late Show Monday night at 11:35 PM ET.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Pricing: “From $76.” Of course, those are the cheap seats. There’s also this:

        VIP Ticket includes meet & greet and photo opportunity with Vice President Biden; Signed copy of Vice President Joe Biden’s new book PROMISE ME, DAD; Reserved premium ticket within the first 5 rows. The VIP meet & greet will take place either immediately before or after the performance. VIP ticketholders will receive an e-mail approximately one week prior to the show with a detailed itinerary listing out all timing & instructions. For more information, please contact VIPEXP@caapremium.com

        Wouldn’t want the smelly proles getting too close!

        1. Tom

          Clinton also offers “Meet & Greet” tickets at stops on her book tour, where she charges up to $1,000+ depending on venue. The most expensive city on her tour is, for some reason, Vancouver, where a 2-ticket package that includes Meet & Greet/photo op/signed book will set you back a whopping $3,000.

          Most of the venues Biden and Clinton use for their book tour seem to offer a seating capacity in the 2500-3000 range. If tickets average $100, that’s a gross of $250,000-$300,000 for about an hour’s work — which is right in the wheelhouse for Hillary if you compare it to the heady days of her Wall Street speeches. I don’t know what percent the house gets or what her other travel expenses are, but it’s probably a breeze for Hillary to do a talking tour than a listening tour.

          1. Stillfeelinthebern

            I’m sorry, this really makes me angry. HRC was in Wisconsin last week on one of these. Saddest was seeing people who worked hard on that campaign PAY to see her. She couldn’t ever show up in this state for FREE during the campaign. Tell me why she needs the money? When will the grifting STOP

    2. marym

      Biden was asked about his role in the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings. The video doesn’t load for me, but there’s quotes. Blah blah blah he feels bad that Anita Hill doesn’t feel the process worked. Feelings. Also a tweet with photos of the person asking the question and the audience reaction to his answer.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Perhaps that video and those tweet pictures could be weaponised and stored up for dissemination if Biden shows signs of getting somewhere.

    3. Darius

      Democrats need an actual agenda, not nothing, which they have now, or BS, which they throw up to fake an agenda. Biden doesn’t have an agenda. He would run on being your personable uncle who was Mr. Cool’s VP. That won’t cut it. And neither will, “Uh, um…Bipartisan! And also, uh…Bipartisan!”

  5. Livius Drusus

    Dean Baker tweeted this study today to counter the argument that men without college degrees are dropping out of the labor force because they are dysfunctional.

    The Problem with Blaming Men for Not Working: A Comparison of Labor Market Outcomes for Men and Women


    The main point is that working-class women have not fared much better than their male counterparts. It is interesting that the media keeps pressing the “working-class men are dysfunctional” meme. Is the purpose to stoke a gender war between working-class men and working-class women?

    1. Hana M

      Thanks for this link, Livius Drusus. This seems to be the latest version (in white) of Welfare Queens and Superpredators. Nothing like coming up with fancy statistics to give your arguments that Ivy League gloss.

  6. Pat

    Oh and in case anyone is interested in what Chelsea is up to these days, here is what she was doing last night:


    John Hope Bryant explaining poverty with her help. Fun.
    Here is the opening of Bryant’s bio from that space:

    Named by American Banker as “Innovator of the Year” in 2016, and one of Time Magazine’s “50 Leaders for the Future” in 1994, John Hope Bryant is an American entrepreneur, author, philanthropist, and prominent thought leader on financial inclusion, economic empowerment and financial dignity.

    His COO is another hedgie, Jason Stewart, and the other two named are both from ARES.

    At one time I would looked at this and thought, “wow isn’t this great!”, now I look at it and wonder what is in it for these guys (and Clinton). I may not know what’s behind the curtain or even where that curtain is, but I know there is one and behind it is not pretty.

    1. flora

      It’s OK to be a neoliberal as long as you’re a progressive neoliberal.

      “[Bill] Clinton was the principal engineer and standard-bearer of the ‘New Democrats,’ the U.S. equivalent of Tony Blair’s ‘New Labor.’ In place of the New Deal coalition of unionized manufacturing workers, African Americans, and the urban middle classes, he forged a new alliance of entrepreneurs, suburbanites, new social movements, and youth, all proclaiming their modern, progressive bona fides by embracing diversity, multiculturalism, and women’s rights. Even as it endorsed such progressive notions, the Clinton administration courted Wall Street. Turning the economy over to Goldman Sachs, it deregulated the banking system and negotiated the free-trade agreements that accelerated deindustrialization. What fell by the wayside was the Rust Belt—once the stronghold of New Deal social democracy, and now the region that delivered the electoral college to Donald Trump.” -Nancy Fraser


      1. flora

        ‘The result was a “progressive neoliberalism” that mixed together truncated ideals of emancipation and lethal forms of financialization.’ -ibid

      2. Big River Bandido

        progressive neoliberal

        I would nominate this for Oxymoron of the Year, but oxymorons technically describe things which exist, not things which cannot exist.

  7. Hana M

    I’ve been having good luck with Unbubble, which bills itself as a European Search Engine:
    Neutral search results
    Strong privacy – no surveillance
    Family-friendly, anonymous and customizable
    Hosted with Green Energy in Germany

    I got over a fifty results including Lambert’s excellent recent news round-up from PR (ranked #15). I’ll have to try customizing it to get non English language results but so far it’s more promising than PROMESA!


    1. Whoa Molly!

      “Searx is a free internet metasearch engine which aggregates results from more than 70 search services. Users are neither tracked nor profiled”

      Tried Searx and it is quite good. Found some new links on a medical project I have been researching for several months.

      I find myself using Google less and less. Their search results feel less and less applicable to most of my projects.

  8. Henry Moon Pie

    Personally, I find this statement quite inspiring:

    Last night was a great reminder of what’s possible when we come together and fight for what we believe in. So I wanted to take a few minutes to celebrate the extraordinary successes of a few groups I—and Onward Together—proudly fight alongside.

    Two things:

    A faint recollection of a Wesley hymn perhaps?

    Onward together,
    Marching with Jesus.
    Onward together,
    We’ll be!

    La da, da da da…

    The other:

    The Pantsuits crowd marching on the White House carrying big posters, like a Chairman Mao poster, but with the image from Hillary’s Twitter account instead.

        1. Darthbobber

          On the plus side, the ranks of the true believers seem to have shrunk considerably. Even over at the orange satan they get more pushback than nods. Perhaps because establishment Democrats believe that the essence of Clinton/Blair/Macron puffery can be better pushed WITHOUT the Clintonite personal grievance carnival.

        2. Henry Moon Pie

          Nice job of pulling the new attacks together here:

          MSM still Russian trolling Bernie Sanders

          Another piece cited in gjohnsit’s post is from the WP. That’s no surprise. I think Bezos gets a new pimple on his butt every time Bernie says “billionaire.” If Bernie runs again, the King of the Amazon won’t be able to sit down.

          But the Sasha Stone piece is the best example of the placard-carrying Hill zombie. The inadvertent self-description here is hilarious:

          Whatever caused their bitterness and failures (and trust me, they will blame anyone but themselves) the worst iteration of their movement has become as much about their hatred as that of Trump’s #MAGA jackals — perhaps it always was. As autocrats have always known, if you can unite people in a shared hatred, you can make them do anything. The hate is non-stop, as though the election never ended and not a single surrogate, not a single leader on Team Bernie says a damn thing about it, as though they are still using hatred of her to drive their movement, just like Trump is doing.

    1. nippersmom

      I’m not familiar with the hymn you quote, but Hillary’s comments did bring this one to mind:
      Onward, Christian soldiers
      Marching as to war

  9. Scott

    A mainstream publication finally criticizes how the Democratic Party protected Bill Clinton in the 90s.


    The soft handling of Clinton’s treatment is the big reason why I found the criticism of Trump’s treatment of women so disingenuous. Yes, it was (and likely still is) horrible, but the driver of the criticism was Trump rather than the acts and words themselves.

    1. TroyMcClure

      I firmly believe this Clinton sychophancy is what drove Christopher Hitchens to the right in the early 2000’s. His book on the Clintons was ahead of its time.

      1. DJG

        Troy McClure: I wish he hadn’t gone over the edge. No One Left to Lie To (great title) explained the Clintons to me.

    2. voteforno6

      For the hardcore Clintonistas, I doubt this will have much impact. They’ve already coined the term whataboutism, to wave away people pointing out the hypocrisy of criticizing Republicans’ sexual crimes while defending Bill’s. As the election last year and its aftermath has proven, they’ve chosen their Hill(ary) to die on…

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        If you’re going to weaponize an *ism, you’d better have standing to do it. I don’t see that the Democrats do; either Bill Clinton, or Hillary (his enabler). They’re all swanning around going “Believe the women!” Except, of course, when the man is one of their own.

    3. Carolinian

      That’s a good article. Of course there is a big difference between cheating on your wife–the thing Clinton was was widely believed to have done–and rape which is the thing Clinton was accused of doing but was never proven. There was a rabid oppo effort at the time to take him down just as there is today against Trump and in Clinton’s case it was because the rightwing–jokingly–saw him as some sort of liberal threat. It’s too simple to say that Dems were purely hypocritical for defending him (many holding their noses while doing so).

      Still, in retrospect, his personal behavior may have said a lot about his political dishonesty. If nothing else the recent revelations seem to show that the establishment “left” shares many of the same character problems as their supposed opponents on the right.

      And that’s a good thing. Lock them all up.

      1. Oregoncharles

        “in Clinton’s case it was because the rightwing–jokingly–saw him as some sort of liberal threat. ”

        I don’t think so. I think it was because he insisted on stealing their “ideas” and – the part that mattered – their funders.

        That was, after all, the avowed purpose of the DLC. Worked, too: Democrats’ fundraising now often exceeds Republicans’. That used to never happen.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        The Republicans framed it as Bill Clinton cheating on his wife so they could take the high ground morally [***cough*** Dennis Hastert ***cough***].

        I didn’t see that as an impeachment issue and still don’t.

        However, I do this case as a straightforward case of workplace abuse. The boss shouldn’t [family blog] the help, because of the power imbalance (not to mention the ill effects on the firm), which is exactly what Bill Clinton did. The Republicans, alas, didn’t make that argument, presumably because they’re not in favor of empowering anybody in the workplace, let alone women.

    1. Arizona Slim

      If she has Gloria Allred on her side, she has a real fighter for a lawyer. Look out, Roy, you are going to lose and lose big.

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        What was interesting is that Beverly Nelson was (a) quite believable and (b) said she and her husband both voted for Trump.

    2. cocomaan

      I’m not sure I understand all the attention on Roy Moore. I’d never heard of him until last week. Now the focus is on him all the time, but he’s apparently just a state level politician running for national office.

      There are celebrities and former statesmen being called out all over the place, why is this guy getting the press?

      Edit: Oh, right, because of the special election.

      1. WobblyTelomeres

        AND that he’s stark raving mad (or, as Lambert puts it, more kindly, a swivel-eyed loon). He’s been elected chief justice on the state supreme court twice and twice he has been booted from office. But, he waves his bible as often as he can (which he can strangely quote at great length at an auctioneer’s pace) and the people keep electing him.

      2. Summer

        Everybody’s getting called out all over the place. But I’m not going to be quick to think “things have changed” because of internet outrage.
        If this is about entrenched power being held accountable, I can’t help but think of police brutality – caught on tape and within statute of limitations – and the slow, slow road to accountability.
        We’ll see how many visit the inside of a courtroom…

        The way so many turn to PR, there is still a level of denial that wants to believe all the turmoil can be dealt with as organizational and personal crises. However, PR can not address institutional crises.
        What institution is not in crisis (not just talking about sexual assault) today?

        1. DJG

          Summer: Thanks. I’ve been wondering about this for several days now. In the case of Weinstein, the women who he raped are being lost in the fog of social media. And there is a tendency in the ever-puritanical U.S. of A. to use sex as a stand-in when it is power that is the issue here. (I’m not making light of sexual violence.)

          As you say, unless power is being divided up in a new and healthier way, has anything changed?

      3. FluffytheObeseCat

        “I’d never heard of him until last week.”

        I realize many westerners and northeasterners do not cultivate awareness of the rest of the nation, but this is not something you want to announce as though it indicated Moore’s irrelevance…. rather than a gap in your understanding.

        Moore has been a significant state pol in Alabama for decades (twice elected chief justice of the state supreme court, among other posts). He gained national notoriety for his efforts to place ten commandments statues onto state property ~15 years ago, in defiance of the law. He is one of the better known names in the deep South, and is likely to become the next U.S. senator from Alabama in December.

        He’s also a self-dealing cheat, and quite probably a serial abuser of teen-aged girls. He’ll get away with both by first stonewalling, and then, in response to the few incidents that are well-corroborated, by claiming the sexytime only happened before he was ‘saved’. He is a fairly average southern Republican, just a little on the flamboyant side. Many very publicly virtuous Alabamans find him more entertaining than their secret porn stash.

        1. Arizona Slim

          And, when it comes to the consumption of porn, doesn’t the South lead the nation? ISTR reading that.

        2. edmondo

          True but the Senate is composed of about 99 corrupt individuals who would (do) sell their souls and their country to the highest bidder. One would think an accused child molester would be quite comfortable in their company (and vice versa).

          Didn’t Caligula appoint his live horse to the Roman senate. All we get are the brain-dead posteriors.

        3. Plenue

          “but this is not something you want to announce as though it indicated Moore’s irrelevance”

          “Moore has been a significant state pol in Alabama for decades”


          1. FluffytheObeseCat


            If only. Each state in the union has 2 senators. Nine of those states are in the South, and a few more like Missouri have…. significant cultural affinities. However, your peace of mind may be best served by “not noticing” as their senators eliminate your tax deductions. Because at this point, that’s a done deal.

        4. cocomaan

          Moore has been a significant state pol in Alabama for decades (twice elected chief justice of the state supreme court, among other posts).

          I couldn’t name a single supreme court justice in any other state other than my own. I’m fine with my ignorance on that count.

      1. Spring Texan

        So I searched for my own real-life name on unbubble and there were only two results, one from linkedln and the other useless. google OR duckduckgo would have dozens of hits, revealing my job, salary, affiliations, home address, letters to the editor, opinion pieces, etc. Seems very lacking!!

        I also searched on unbubble for ‘student loan deductibility’ and found some fairly reasonable results.

        I’ll keep to duckduckgo.

        1. ratefink

          I have switched over to qwant.com, also found it to be good (also for PROMESA); I like that the front page shows pics, and finds in social media on a separate list, plus not supposed to be keeping logs, selling info.

        2. Fiery Hunt

          All of those “hits” you found on google are there BECAUSE (drumroll…here goes my educated guess…) you use gmail/google plus!

      2. clinical wasteman

        I use DDG too, mostly because of need for an “infinte scroll” to find the obscurities I’m looking for. Think I miss AltaVista but internet connection was so sketchy back then that I can’t really be sure.
        Obvious relative problems with DDG are:
        1 Google algo apparently reproduced (please say so if I have this wrong). Workable-around unless you’re attempting to search under very broad, generic terms (eg “socialist website” not wsws, in latter case only confusion is with World Society of Weed [not that sort] Scientists or something). But still galling every day. &
        2. within that, lack of genuine language neutrality: even when set to “all languages”, both Ggle & DDG put page after page of vaguely similarly spelled anglophone stuff above precisely what was searched for. This is a major nuisance with European languages anyway; I’d be interested to hear what happens with searches entered in Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Arabic etc., & also languages with mostly/Latin script but non-latinate phonemes like Malay, Vietnamese, Somali, Swahili, Turkish, Pasifikan languages. (Come t think of it I should retry searches in Te Reo Maori & report back here: these always used to direct straight to language-learning type sites, ok for my feeble knowledge but infuriating for the many thousands who are fluent readers/writers/speakers.)

    1. xMidway

      I have used Ixquick (www[dot]ixquick[dot]eu) for years.
      It has a larger sibling (www[dot]startpage[dot]com), which does aggregation (including Google).

  10. John k

    ‘…Doing this will be harder for conservatives than progressives…’
    Exactly right, whether the conservatives are dems or reps.
    It’s actually very easy, and conflict-free, to be a progressive.

  11. Marco

    The Philip Soos chart. Bill McBride always brings up the “changing demographics” of the workforce. Curious if Soos in controlling for “prime working age”??

  12. epynonymous

    Firstly, it’s disgusting headline on the racism piece in Boston. The piece is well written, but they buried the racists comments actually happening among BPD. Apparently, their readership is more interested in the aura of pseudo-science than real people.

    Much like that whale.

    Second, I read the comments on the EA Reddit downvotes. (Orville fans will see the irony among Star Wars fans.) Commenting is disabled on the post now, which is a shame because there was real discussion happening there.

    Here’s a highlight.

    “I recognize that you are a front-line level employee in a multi-billion dollar entertainment conglomerate, and that you likely have no say in the message you’re giving. Likely, your manager and your manager’s manager don’t have the right to call into question the strategic business decisions that get made by the highest levels of the company.

    So please understand that when I say this, I am not saying it to you. I feel for you, because you have a lonely, thankless job, trying to do your best to rehabilitate the public face of an incredibly hated company. I don’t resent you at all, I don’t resent your manager, and I respect the person behind the keyboard.

    But f*** EA. I don’t buy your games anymore”

    > The same thing is happening with Rockstar Games. They made cash intentionally scarce in Grand Theft Auto, just to make people buy game cash with real cash.

    It earned them $500 million and that is the future of their franchises now.


  13. ewmayer

    In “innovative products that showcase the greatness of America” news, over on today’s Links a reader posted a bit about Black Rifle Coffee Co.

    Allow me add my own entry, gleaned from last night’s installment of Insomnia TV – the Potty Putter. Rather than post the link, I’ll let interested readers find it for themselves – hopefull the advert is out there in form of a Utube clip. I liked their “for the man (or woman) on the go!” slogan. Maybe also consider “make America’s #2s number one again!”

  14. audrey jr

    Biden, the incorruptible?? From the tax haven aka as the State of Delaware? Where you, too, can share a business register address with our heroes Trump and Clinton? Oh, yes, by all means, sign me up. Argh. Stupid really is the gift that keeps on giving.

    1. Summer

      In 2012, the NYTimes pegged Delware as having more corporations than people:

      “Nearly half of all public corporations in the United States are incorporated in Delaware. Last year, 133,297 businesses set up here. And, at last count, Delaware had more corporate entities, public and private, than people — 945,326 to 897,934…”

      By 2016 the population of people and corporations may be close to even?:
      Population estimates, July 1, 2016, (V2016) 952,065
      People Population
      Population estimates, July 1, 2016, (V2016) 952,065
      Population estimates base, April 1, 2010, (V2016) 897,936
      Population, percent change – April 1, 2010 (estimates base) to July 1, 2016, (V2016) 6.0%

  15. audrey jr

    “Last night was a great reminder of what’s possible when we come together and fight for what we believe in.” Meh. What exactly is it that we believe in? OMG. Who in hell would still be giving money to that harridan?
    Makes me doubly glad I sent that nasty unsubscribe comment to Tom Perez last week.

  16. anonn

    Re: the trucking industry expanding hours to “beat” traffic, I can certainly testify to that from the Inland Empire part of Southern California. Warehouses have sprouted up all along the 10 freeway in San Bernardino Country. It seems like every acre of former open space within 10 blocks of the freeway from Ontario to Redlands is now occupied by gargantuan warehouses. These things are usually built with tax abatements so extreme that they’ll never pay a dime.

    Five years ago the rush hour in this part of So. Cal. was basically 4:30-6:00. Now it’s jam-packed from 6 AM to 8 PM. This 4 lane freeway has been reduced to 2 lanes usable by tax-paying people, with the 2 right lanes perpetually occupied by near-stationary trucks.

    My commute has gone from 15 minutes to 45 minutes, unless I work until 8 PM. Even better, since the wear and tear from trucks is so high, these roads need to be re-built almost as soon as the previous round of rebuilding is done.

    The laid back lifestyle, cheap homes, and easy traffic were the only reasons to live here and they’ve ALL been ruined by neoliberal capitalism. But what is the destruction of the quality of life for 4 million people compared to the well-being of Amazon?

    1. MichaelSF

      A good friend drives a delivery (semi) truck on a regular route in the Inland Empire. He works midnight to 9-10AM, and while he doesn’t like having to work graveyard, he doesn’t sound like he’d be keen on having to do the route during the day. At least now he can get his route (a couple hundred miles round trip I think) done with some expectation of not putting in significant unplanned overtime.

      1. anonn

        It’s absolutely brutal. I worked a driving job decades ago and it was stressful back then. It’s ruined the quality of life but nobody can talk about it because minimum wage warehousing work is the only thing keeping the construction and commercial real estate industries afloat.

        Whenever I pass by truckers I check out where they’re from. I can only imagine the horror they feel, coming from some lonely place in flyover country, getting to the bottom of the Cajon Pass and realizing that they won’t even be in LA county for another 1 or 2 hours, that getting to the ports is going to take somewhere between 2 and 6 hours. All must suffer for Jeff Bezos and co.

  17. BobW

    Supply Chain: “…congestion now costs each U.S. drivers a total of nearly $300 billion.” Each? Pretty steep!

  18. Larry

    While I understand the wariness of having the TSA/DHS running biometric tests for a little fast pass in the airport, doesn’t all the ticketing and security alone mean that the authorities know exactly what cities I’m going to?

    The more concerning thing to me is the grifters that are now popping up as a privatized TSA pre-check.


    Because of course even a program like this needs to be further privatized so that rents can be extracted from the security theater.

    1. habenicht

      Recently found myself at disney for some family vacation. I discovered that using the convenient wristband passes for park admission comes with a fingerprint scan at the park entrances. Further, at space mountain I was surprised after disembarking how much the ride knew about me. Walking out of these rides, its common to see photos of your self speeding by the camera with all sorts of unplanned expressions. Different about space mountain however was that they had additional screens with some novelty text customized with the first name of each of my family members!

      …Reading our names on that screen was by far the scariest part of the ride.

      1. clinical wasteman

        Man hat uns nicht gefragt
        als wir noch kein Gesicht
        ob wir leben wollten
        oder lieber nicht

        (‘Nobody ever asked us / before we got a face / if we want to live / or would really rather not’
        – Friedrich Hollander, ‘Wenn ich mir was wuenschen duerfte’, sung by Marlene Dietrich)

        If that’s the next five historical minutes, lieber nicht, thanks

  19. Plenue

    >“Seriously? I paid 80$ to have Vader locked?” [Reddit]

    Now it’s at negative 553k. Ahahahahaha, oh man. This may be peak Electronic Arts, and that’s really saying something.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I don’t think we’re supposed to understand what’s going on.

      I’m afraid if I did understand what’s going on — what I might learn would be worse than the worst I imagine.

  20. clinical wasteman

    haven’t tried Promesa, but confused about the conflicting notices: “aggregate of 70+ search engines” / all time/date stats show last Google News update. I’ve never even looked at that, but it must be an even more “curated” subset of Google, right? i.e. LESS than standard GGL search? But even if it’s another word for the latter, seems to contradict the “multi-engine aggregator” claim outright. Or am I missing something blazingly obvious about internet on phones?

  21. Oregoncharles

    ““Dvorkin and Gascon found that the startups accounted for most of the net job creation from 2011-2014.” ZOMG!! Start-ups!!!!! Except: “Almost all the US jobs created since 2005 are temporary.””

    To Be Fair, there’s a direct connection between those. Startups have no way to know how many people they’ll need or for how long – most startups fail. So jobs are temporary BECAUSE they’re at startups.

    Insofar as there are temporary jobs at established firms, it’s partly to keep the workforce hungry, and partly because nobody quite believes in the present economy.

    1. ewmayer

      Right – in other words, startups account for most job creation but they also account for most job destruction, when it’s the *net* that really matters (in addition to the average quality of same). Rather like the MSFM blathering about corporations sitting on “record piles of cash” without noting the accompanying records piles of debt induced by being able to issue same at near-0% and use the proeeds to fund share-price-boosting buybacks as a gimmick to “increase enterprise value”.

  22. Bill Carson

    OMG, Yahoo mail is driving me CRAZY!! I have to keep using my cellphone to log in to two accounts–like several times per day. Ugh!!!! There has got to be an alternative.

  23. Chauncey Gardiner

    Just noticed that the InterContinental Exchange has adopted reader Jim Haygood’s list of several large cap tech stocks featured here on Water Cooler in a comparative performance chart almost daily, edited the list, and created a futures contract of a basket of stocks called the “NYSE FANG Plus”. What’s that old saying about imitation being the sincerest form of flattery?


      1. Chauncey Gardiner

        Not Jim Haygood, but perhaps given the timing and its unique composition, the ‘FANG-Plus’ futures contract was in part created to enable the Swiss National Bank and other sovereign ‘institutional investors’ to quickly and unobtrusively hedge their portfolios of US equities against a drop in market prices (in the SNB’s case, stocks purchased with Swiss francs that the Swiss central bank itself created)? As a citizen of that beautiful country, it must be comforting to know that your nation’s currency is backed in part by stocks of U.S. corporations that include Apple, Alphabet (Google), Microsoft, Facebook and Amazon as the Swiss central bank’s five largest in a total $88bn US stock holdings at Sept 30.

        Maybe the gnomes of Zurich really do know outcomes, but couldn’t any money that’s destroyed in a (prophylactically labeled) stock market “correction” be quickly replaced by Switzerland’s central bank? Or are the optics deemed unacceptable?

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