2:00PM Water Cooler 11/14/2017

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Readers, I must apologize again for this being way too light. I’m still having teeth-grindingly frustrating workflow issues trying to transition away from Yahoo Mail, with mail hung up in the Outboxes of two new mail programs, and various other expedients, like Twitter or Apple messaging, failing or being stupid, and doing so slowly, too. All I want to do is send links from one email account to another. Why is this so hard? –lambert. P.S. No, I’m not going to use the [family blog] Cloud! And I think that’s one reason Apple hates me.



“Alabama Senate: One Hot Mess Moves to Toss Up” [Jennifer Duffy, Cook Political Report]. That’s a pretty sexed-up headline for Cook Political Report! More: “It’s hard to know whether Moore can or will win the special election. What we do know is that there is so much uncertainty surrounding the vote that moving the race to the Toss Up is the best way to describe where this race is today…. So what is the most important of these developments? [NRSC Chair Corey] Gardner’s statement, as he is speaking for the leadership. This puts the Republican Conference clearly on the record in their belief that Moore is unfit to serve, and means that they have enough votes to expel Moore should he make it to the Senate.”

“Just When You Think It’s Bad, Roy Moore Makes It Worse” [Charles Cook, Cook Political Report]. This headline, too! “…This is not to say that Moore will deflect this direct torpedo hit to the engine room….”


“Keith Ellison Believes Democrats Will Take Back the House and Senate” [The Atlantic]. “Ellison has been right before when others weren’t. In a now-famous viral television exchange from 2015, Ellison said that Donald Trump had momentum, adding,’we better be ready for the fact that he might be leading the Republican ticket.’

Ellison: Yes. My opinion is that any Democrat who is not responsive to the economic challenges of working Americans will not be able to win.

If Ellison is predicting Demcrats will win, then he is also predicting they will have responded to the “economic challenges” of “working Americans.” I’m dubious. (Although I certainly prefer “economic challenge” to “economic anxiety,” the nauseating centrist phrase that makes it all about feelings.)

“But after the [Republican] party escaped a spate of special elections this year, especially in suburban Atlanta’s 6th Congressional District, a competitive seat where Democrats invested tens of millions of dollars only to come up short, Republicans were brimming with optimism about escaping the midterm curse — or worse, an anti-Trump wave” [Washington Examiner]. “The first regular general elections on the president’s watch offered fresh evidence of voter dissatisfaction with his polarizing leadership, and proof that the Democrats can harness it. Anxiety about the damage Trump could do is on the rise.”

Trump Transition

“Justice Dept. to Weigh Inquiry Into Clinton Foundation” [New York Times]. “Although Mr. Sessions has recused himself from all matters related to the election, he and the deputy attorney general, Rod J. Rosenstein, will oversee the prosecutors’ decision to appoint the special counsel, the letter [to the House Judiciary Committee] said.” The actual reporting in this story is notably thin, even for the Times.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Bill Clinton: A Reckoning” [The Atlantic]. “[Bill] Clinton was not left to the swift and pitiless justice that today’s accused men have experienced. Rather, he was rescued by a surprising force: machine feminism. The movement had by then ossified into a partisan operation, and it was willing—eager—to let this friend of the sisterhood enjoy a little droit de seigneur… The notorious 1998 New York Times op-ed by Gloria Steinem must surely stand as one of the most regretted public actions of her life. It slut-shamed, victim-blamed, and age-shamed; it urged compassion for and gratitude to the man the women accused. Moreover (never write an op-ed in a hurry; you’ll accidentally say what you really believe), it characterized contemporary feminism as a weaponized auxiliary of the Democratic Party.” Plus çc change, granted for some definition of feminism (although surely the Beltway’s).

“Who Will Vote for Republicans Next Year?” [RealClearPolitics]. “‘The lesson — and it’s a very important one — is you cannot wrap your policy, or your philosophy, in one person. You’ve got to stand for something,’ [Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele] told the Washington Post.” A lesson both party establishments could learn.

“We’re still aghast at Donald Trump – but what good has that done?” [Thomas Frank, Guardian]. “They are aghast, almost every one of them, and they compete fiercely with one another to say just how aghast they are. It is a ‘parade of the aghast’, as an acquaintance calls it, with all the skills of the journalist reduced to a performance of perturbation and disgust.” And I would bet money very few of the aghast lost their homes to foreclosure in the crash, or lost their jobs, or lost a family member or friend to opioids. I bet they’ve all got dental. What in the world have they got to be aghast about?

Stats Watch

NFIB Small Business Optimism Index, October 2017: “The small business optimism index rose 0.8 points in October to 103.8, bouncing back, though less than expected, from a 2.3 point decline in September that took the index to the lowest level of the year as optimism retreated from 12-year highs set earlier in the year” [Econoday]. “Eearnings trends stubbornly remained the weakest of the components and became even more pessimistic in October…. Small business owners also became even more downcast about expected credit conditions… Weakness was also emerging in inventories… While falling somewhat short of expectations, the October bounce back shows small business owners retaining the highest level of optimism of the recovery, perhaps best exemplified by the one component that remained unchanged in October, plans to increase capital outlays.” And: “The NFIB Index of Small Business Optimism inches up in October as more owners expect better sales and say it’s a good time to expand” [Econintersect]. “Four of the Index components rose last month. Five declined slightly, while one remained unchanged. Outlook for expansion and sales expectations each jumped six points, while job openings increased by five points.”

Producer Price Index (Final Demand), October 2017: “A strong and welcome price gain for services fed an unexpectedly strong producer price report for October” [Econoday]. “Gains here hint at wide and emerging price traction in the wholesale economy in what perhaps is a harbinger for price gains at the consumer level. Legal services and health care showed special traction in the month.” Power surge for the 10%! And but: “The Producer Price Index again surged year-over-year” [Econintersect]. “This much gain in the Producer Price Index was not expected – and unless you are the twisted follower of the Fed – this increase is not good economically.”

Tech: “Under terms of a contract that has been seen by Recode, whoever acquires Yahoo might have to pay Mozilla annual payments of $375 million through 2019 if it does not think the buyer is one it wants to work with and walks away” [Recode].

The Bezzle: “Waymo Safety Report: On the Road to Fully Self-Driving” (PDF) [Waymo].

Five Horsemen: “Amazon takes a run at Microsoft’s lead” [Hat tip, Jim Haygood].

Five Horsemen Nov 14

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 53 Neutral (previous close: 59, Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 68 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed. Last updated Nov 12 at 7:00pm.

Class Warefare

“The Problem with Blaming Men for Not Working: A Comparison of Labor Market Outcomes for Men and Women” [CEPR]. “Researchers, partially in response to the slow labor market recovery from the Great Recession and the 2016 presidential election in the United States, are interested in why men, and particularly men without a college education, aren’t as likely to be working. Some explanations point to survey data on how leisure time is used to argue that men aren’t working because they would rather do something else (such as play video games, or engage in other online leisure activities). Other research points to how increasing opioid usage is causing men to be unable to work. One problem with these explanations is that within specific age and education groups, changes to women’s employment outcomes are often actually worse than men’s. That is, the ‘problem with men’ is not specific to men.”

News of the Wired

“How to Get Rich Playing Video Games on Twitch” [The New Yorker]. “Each month, a hundred million visitors watch their favorite personalities play video games on Twitch, spending an average of nearly two hours a day there. This audience is large enough to make the site one of the twenty most trafficked in the U.S., yet it’s perhaps more apt to measure Twitch against a different medium. With viewership numbers that rival those of MSNBC or CNN, Twitch is less like a conventional Web site than like a kaleidoscopic television network: thousands of channels at once, broadcasting live at every hour of the day.”

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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 (Hermes the Goat):

Hermes the Goat writes: “The fall colors that are continuing quite vividly here in Seattle, both were taken last weekend. The photo named ‘overgrown pollards’ is from a neighbor’s house about a half mile up the hill from mine, which I thought was just a fairly striking sight.” Yes, I think the rich colors and the detail are lovely. And shot right into the sky, too!

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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Readers: Water Cooler is a standalone entity not covered by the NC fundraiser. So do feel free to use the dropdown and click the hat to make a contribution today or any day. Here is why: Regular positive feedback both makes me feel good and lets me know I’m on the right track with coverage. When I get no donations for five or ten days I get worried. More tangibly, a constant trickle of small donations helps me with expenses, and I factor that trickle in when setting fundraising goals. So if you see something you especially appreciate, do feel free to click the hat!


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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. Deadl E Cheese

    Between Sessions deciding to go all-in on prosecuting Hillary and dorks like Chris Hayes and Jeet Heer straight-up saying that it’s time for a reckoning with Bill Clinton and sexual assault, the Clintons are in quite a pickle lately, aren’t they?

    It probably doesn’t mean much in of itself because the much more disciplined Obama faction is just going to take the helm (they’re the ones who installed Perez, after all), but the temporary disjunction does create opportunity for a hostile takeover or Whig-style collapse.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Yes but Bubba enjoyed the doigt du seigneur (or maybe le cigare du seigneur), maybe Her Feminist Highness was actually baking cookies at the time so she didn’t notice. Love the bit about Pappy Bush squeezing the tush, maybe he and Bubba compared notes over at Comet Pizza.
      And maybe America will finally come full circle like Italy, where 100% of people have known for centuries that 100% of politicians are 100% corrupt scumbags

    2. Marco

      Was forced to listen to NPR for several hours today and it’s all Moore all the time with much less coverage going to the GOP tax bill. Moore is doing them a favor and our elite media is more than happy to aid in the distraction.

      1. Octopii

        Whenever I tune in to NPR they’re always talking sadly about some third-world person in a war-torn area who has trouble getting this or that yet is still doing something inspiring like starting a small business. Or Middle East “violence.” It’s all just so irrelevant.

        Meanwhile they’re just up the street in that big shiny new building – a fact they neglect to mention when begging for money every six months. Can’t listen for more than about five seconds, unless forced to (as noted above), perhaps at my mother’s house. She’s dutifully listened to 88.5 dawn to dusk for I guess about forty years straight.

  2. Wukchumni

    I’m aghast at the idea that in real life if somebody you knew would lie if telling the truth was easier and did so repeatedly, why you’d drop them like a hot potato, but we’re not afforded the same opportunity with the leader of our country. And worst of all, we’ve become accustomed to the practice, so it’s no big deal.

    1. Deadl E Cheese

      Why? Because the proposed replacements are proven liars, too. If everyone is a liar, that just leaves partisanship to determine who will do what in politics. And once partisanship is the only thing left, the partisans not only start rationalizing their leaders’ lies but get downright angry when their leaders are called on by their lies by other partisans.

      1. Wukchumni

        When the nationwide head of the Boy Scouts has to contradict the President’s lie:

        “And I got a call from the head of the Boy Scouts saying it was the greatest speech that was ever made to them, and they were very thankful.”

        by claiming it never happened, and when in fact the only statement from the BSA was:

        “We sincerely regret that politics were inserted into the Scouting program.”

        …we’ve crossed a different kind of lie Rubicon.

        1. Pat

          Oh, I don’t know, Clinton remembering having landed in Bosnia under sniper fire when it didn’t happen is pretty much in the same zip code.

          Our misleadership class has often been about claiming to be dressed to the nines while wearing nothing.

      2. JBird

        The cliche, lies have consequences, is a cliche for a reason. We are now have reality being denied if it does not match the partisanship, which means seeing Reality coming over to shiv you becomes difficult. Just look at Climate Change or the Deplorables. We are slowly losing Miami, and are going to lose much of Florida, and the next Trump could be smart, and ruthless, enough to becoming an actual tyrant, if we do not acknowledge Reality and really start doing the necessary things.

        Maybe when a wheat crop, or California’s vegetable crop fail during the next drought that will wake people up. I can personally attest that hunger has a focusing effect. Of course there is always One Percenter Brand Long Pork™.

        Geese, between my poli sci courses and the news, I am getting morbid.

        1. RWood

          Cogdis has roots, in the opiod “inflection”, esse; in earlier times, “thick as a brick” and always the bashed’s black whirl did as well.

      1. Butch In Waukegan

        Hillary believes successful politicians should lie. She said that her having a public position (a lie) and a private position is Lincolnesque.

        1. Harold

          Funny you should mention that. Double tongue and double truth. How tiresome that hoi polloi are still so unrealistic as to resent being bamboozled. Quaint.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      I’m not. From “I did not have sexual relations with that woman,” through Iraq WMDs, through “hope and change” and “If you like your doctor, you can keep him” there’s rather a lot of lying been done.

      I’d note that, if you take the body count at your metric, the Iraq WMDs are by far the worst, and yet the President at that time is now being rehabilitated by exactly the same people who are most aghast at the current President. All this is before we get to the wannabe Presidents, too.

      Every so often I print this Thomas Nast cartoon: “‘Twas him!”

      Of course, now the circle of fingerpointing is bipartisan…..a

  3. Jim Haygood

    Venezuela update:

    Downgrading Venezuela’s sovereign rating to SD (“selective default”), Standard & Poors said that Venezuela had “failed to make $200 million in coupon payments for its global bonds due 2019 and 2024 within the 30-calendar-day grace period.”

    Separately, the swaps and derivatives association ISDA is debating today whether to declare PDVSA, Venezuela’s state-owned oil company, in default. PDVSA has actually paid up, but well outside the “grace period” for payments.

    If ISDA does declare PDVSA in default, this would trigger a “credit event” under which credit default swaps would pay out to investors.


    US sanctions have put Venezuela in a box where a swap of old debt for new is impossible. Venezuela also has no official relationship with the IMF. But the IMF wants to help:

    In recent months IMF staff have quietly crunched numbers for a potential bailout that, were it to happen, could be bigger financially and more politically complex than its much-criticised involvement in Greece. 

    “The market needs to be properly prepared for this,” said a senior IMF official. “This is going to be Argentina meets Greece in terms of complexity,” added Douglas Rediker, a former US representative at the IMF.


    Argentina meets Greece in Zimbabwe; hunger ensues.

  4. Anonymized

    If you have no job and not much money coming in then video games are a cheap(ish) way to spend time. Also, streaming porn. It would be interesting to see the usage statistics of streaming porn sites and on- and offline games plotted against economic indicators. Video games are just another way of numbing despair and hopelessness.

    1. Larry

      This is too broad a brush stroke. Affluent kids and individuals play video games. Gordon Hayward, the Boston Celtics multi-multi-million dollar man is a very avid gamer.

      Would you say that watching sports or movies is just another way of numbing despair? I would not. PLaying and watching video games is just another hobby for many, and one that supplants more traditional outlets of entertainment.

      1. Wukchumni

        Having not played a video game since a quarter was required…

        Why not combine porn and video games all in one?

        1. Anonymized

          Well, they do have those Japanese hentai games. They’re like dating sims except the end game is hard-core sex drawings.

      2. Anonymized

        Sure, sports or movies can be used as self-medication too and I don’t think millionaires and the well-off make up a large amount of the player base. It’s about turning off your brain and zoning out. If you’re working two temp agency jobs and driving for Uber on the weekends then you don’t have the time or energy for anything else.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          No time or energy for anything else….like time to protest or to get organized politically.

          Perhaps they are to be regulated as medicine, and not banned as an addictive substance.

      3. The Rev Kev

        Agreed. Lots of these games can be very relaxing to watch and many of these twitch players have YouTube channels which I have been watching a few lately. One such game is PUBG which pits 100 players against each other. You can see an example of this is at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OTa1EKZ4S4k (note: some language!) which has two talented players – an American and a Britain (who each have their own channels) teamed together.
        It is relaxing as you have two friends playing and chatting while having fun, you have the challenge of watching players out-think and outplay other players and not AI players, the constricts of the game itself plus an exciting finish. I could watch that or I could watch something like Law & Order. Hmmm, nope – I’d rather watch a good player on PUBG.

      4. Altandmain

        Movies are a lot more expensive than what you’d get from games.

        With Steam sales, games are often a fraction of their price and many can be played for hundreds of hours. A film by contrast even on Tuesdays when theatres offer discounts is expensive by comparison. Not to mention, popcorn costs add up.

        You own a game once you buy it and can play it for long hours.

    2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

      Im typing this from my PS4 aka video game console where i read naked capitalism, pirate movies, AND watch porn all from the safety of my Uptown New Orleans living room!

  5. bwilli123

    Facebook used to organize very large and profitable sexploitation rings.

    “While investigating the world of fake Facebook profiles, my colleague Marie-Eve Tremblay and I have discovered a massive network of fraudulent accounts that catfish their male victims using stolen photos of young women and adolescent girls. This is the story of the months-long investigation that allowed us to piece together the inner workings of this network of online bandits.”


    Useful comments also at HackerNews


  6. Deadl E Cheese

    Related: I think the moment when the Democratic Party completely embraced the ‘telling the truth empowers reactionaries’ ethos was when Gloria Steinem and the other 2nd-wave feminists covered for Bill Clinton on rape.

    So now the Democratic Party is in an uncomfortable spot right now where Trump can still wield power despite the ‘grab them by the p*ssy’ tape and the party can’t hit him on this because it’d involve relitigating the legacy of the leader of the post-Mondale Democratic Party.

    You know, just like how it can’t hit Trump or the rest of the GOP on warhawkery, banker collusion, lobbying/consultant corruption, or any of the other millions of sins of Reaganism.

    Someone cancel this useless party already.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Gov-sponsored primaries, many of which actually mandate that voters register as R, D or I, keep zombie legacy parties on permanent life support.

      Declaring oneself as A, M or V (Animal, Mineral or Vegetable) makes as much sense as R, D or I … which is to say, none at all.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Can a third party candidate runs as their party candidate in those states with more than 3 options, and switches (the next day if necessary) to Independent status for the other states with only 3 options?

        And if primaries in both types of states run on the same day, can he or she run, simultaneously as Independent and Third Party, whichever fits the requirement of a particular state?

        “This candidate is Third Party in state X, and independent in state Y.”

    2. BoycottAmazon

      While his fat fingers play like nice-
      Behaved and clean-licked sewer mice.

      His speckled orbs lurk deep and squat,
      Two sick thick toads in a pool’s rot.

      Before him on the platter lies
      A girl’s heart salt with miseries.
      – Louis Golding –

  7. JBird

    The concluding paragraph of Thomas Franks’ article is golden:

    Look at the grand sweep of history: this is an angry, populist age, and with every year – with every little tightening of the inequality index – it grows angrier and more populist still. To the satisfied and comfortable American pundit class, these are alien and deplorable sentiments, and so they fall back on high-decibel moral aghastitude. They scold and they scold and they scold. But if they really want to send Trump and the Republicans packing, they will make an effort to understand.

    It is not that I disagree with mainstream Democratic, and yes Republican, politicos, or the opinionators, it is that they will not see what is right before their blasted eyes.

    Oh well, a slight non sequitur, I am listening to a nice book on fascism by Robert Paxton. Dux wannabe Trump reminds me of an buffoonish version of Benito Mussolini.

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      I’ll try the essay again, thanks for the quote. Right now we have two anti-defenestration parties. The Republicans have been hit first because they fear their base. That ‘weakness’ could give it a lot of winning by failing–getting votes the current bagmen don’t appreciate.

      Re, Trump and Benny, have you tried out the phrase ‘Il Douche’?

      1. JBird

        For roughly 40 years there has been an effort to push the Republican Party right, with the ejection of the “RINOs” (Republican In Name Only). The banished ones are not the heretics. I say the current body of Republicans are the apostates from conservative thought much like the majority of the Democrats, the leadership especially, are apostates to liberal, nevermind leftist thought.

        The political leadership has spent decades turning the parties into facades.

  8. Code Name D

    Will the Dem’s win back congress? Maybe, but I doubt it. True, there is a lot of anger against the Republicans. What isn’t talked about is that there is just as much anger directed at the Democrts.

    What I fear is that Trump will open up the investigations into the Clintions, which will likly drag in much of the existing leadership.

    And Iam not sure hearings into Ruasha and white-washing the Clintion scandels will make for convicing ampain adds.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Why should we fear this? Why should we not embrace it? Perhaps some Trumpoonian investigations into Hillary will spread and spread and spread and a great wind will blow down and kill every rotten tree in the forest.

      The current leadership is what prevents any improvement. Let a Hillarygate Investigation commence and scour the habitat clean so that a whole new generation of political pioneer species can come in and re-vegetate the Left Side of the landscape in a better way.

      1. Code Name D

        What I fear is that Trump will not stop with just the Clinton cabal, but will also start pressing charges against any and all opposition. He will turn USA into a one party state, with Republicans all the way down.

        1. John k

          There are still elections.
          Bernie is most popular pol.
          I welcome a thorough investigation of her foundation and connections to, and payments from, the Russians, Saudis, and others.

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          Your fear may be correct and well placed. Yet, somehow I fail to feel it. To fabricate charges against any and all opposition would require charges so wild and crazy as to start smelling suspicious to large chunks of the big public. For the same reason that the release of the Nixon Enemies List made people suspicious in its day. As someone said of that occasion . . . ” Carol Channing? Why would Carol Channing be on an Enemies List”? ( Here is Carol Channing, for those too young to remember . . .
          Inventing charges against Bernie now would be like having put Carol Channing on the Enemies List then. It wouldn’t play in Peoria.

          I think a Special Counsel would be more careful than that. I think he or she would limit his or her attention to just the right aspens . . . the ones who are all connected at the roots and who all turn when one turns.

          I would love to know with Courtroom Quality Evidence and Proof just what Bill Clinton was doing down there at Epstein Pedo Island . . . and on the way there and on the way back. And who-all else was doing it with him.

          The Democratic Leadership is a problem. Let those of them who are indeed convictable of crimes be swept away. Let those of them who are brandable with public shame and humiliation be so branded.

        3. cm

          He will turn USA into a one party state, with Republicans all the way down.

          Why in the world would you think Trump is a Republican? Trump, like all millionaires, is above party politics… You know he’s donated money to Clinton, right???

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Trump will open up the investigations into the Clintions, which will likly drag in much of the existing leadership.

      NTDT, but you say that like it’s a bad thing!

  9. Wukchumni

    Real Estate Institute (REINZ) figures for October show median prices in Auckland fell by 3.2 per cent year on year to $850,000 – the biggest fall since December 2010.

    Every other region in New Zealand rose taking the median house price for New Zealand, excluding Auckland, to a record price of $440,000 (an 8.5 per cent increase).


    Imagine a housing bubble in the USA where the median price of a house in flyover was $440k?

    1. ocop

      I think those figures are in NZD; in USD that’s probably ~$300k–that’s at current exchange rates… PPP would be higher.

      For reference median sale price for new homes in the US is ~$320k and ~$250k for existing homes. Still incredibly high relative to median household income ($60k). That and student loan debt have to be killing home ownership for the bottom 70-80%.

    1. perpetualWAR

      This isn’t the only time Steinem had a questionable opinion:
      Girls only are supporting Bernie cuz “the boys are with Bernie.”

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        This theory of Steinem’s was right down there with SecState Albright’s statement that “Hell has a special place for women who don’t help other women.” Help them with what? Help them starve Five Hundred Thousand Iraqi Children to death with famine sanctions if that’s what Feminist Solidarity calls for?

        These are perfect expressions of Goldman Sachs Feminism, a strictly functional and operational approach without moral or ethical considerations, designed to help Professional Women of Class Privilege get their fair share of the Seats at the Oligarchs’ Table. It’s all of a piece with Clinton’s statement about “18 million cracks in the glass ceiling”. Who’s glass ceiling? Her glass ceiling. Her Tiffany Glass Ceiling

        What kind of person would vote against Senator SecState Clinton breaking through her Tiffany Glass Ceiling? One would have to be some kind of a Bernie Bro to vote against such a historic breakthrough for the Goldman Sachs Feminists. Or maybe some kind of a Stormtrumper.

        Only the vilest misogynist could vote against ” We came, we saw, he died!”

  10. ChiGal in Carolina

    Link to announcement of our VERY grass-roots, coalition-building event tonight (run on PNHP NC website).

    Apparently this group had its origins in the swell of Indivisible gatherings immediately after election, so it is NOT a clear dichotomy with Indivisible, corp Ds etc on one side, Our Rev, DSA on the other.

    Since this announcement additional cosponsors added to flyer include NAACP, DSA, and others.

    It’s about the people (and in our case the lack of any formal superstructure telling us what we can and can’t do)!


    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Apparently this group had its origins in the swell of Indivisible gatherings immediately after election, so it is NOT a clear dichotomy with Indivisible, corp Ds etc on one side, Our Rev, DSA on the other.

      I don’t think at the local level the dichotomy is clear at all. I think at the national level, it is clear. That’s one thing that makes the present moment interesting (and creates language problems, since we (including me) tend to take the national level as a proxy for all its members).

  11. Wukchumni

    I think back to Columbine and all the soul searching that went on in the aftermath, with innocents lost…

    …it’s been a little over a week since Sutherland Springs and it’s already forgotten

    It’s similar in a way to lying mentioned in the thread above, you sadly get used to it.

      1. Wukchumni

        The description of the area where the latest mass murder was, is similar to here, pretty rural.

        We hadn’t had a murder here since 1914-or thereabouts, when 4 years ago, rival Norteño & Sureño gangs shot it up on the river, with 2 dead & 3 wounded among the gang members.

        Not a person in town knew anybody involved in the shootings, but still it shook the community up quite a bit. Our town hall meetings are on a Monday and usually 25-30 people show up, but the one after the double murder had 150+ in attendance.

      2. jrs

        do NY or LA really have more? Doubtful per-capita, maybe gang violence and the like, but that’s not these lone crazy killers.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Sometimes, or perhaps often, we don’t even know what has transpired to forget it.

      I am referring to innocents lost in countries where bad guys roam.

    1. Wukchumni

      Humordor is a funny place, love those 2 Columbian cartels disagreeing to agree all the time, combined with nice weather 3 weeks a year.

      Must suck to be homeless there, no?

  12. dcblogger

    Let me voice my now unpopular opinion. The original allegations against Bill Clinton made by Geniffer Flowers, concerning allegations of a consensual affair, were based on a clearly doctored recording of phone conversations. You did not have to be an audio expert, it was that obviously doctered. Paula Jones was the girl friend of a notorious right wing operative in Arkansas, as documented by Murray Waas and others. I never looked into the allegations made by Juanita Broaddrick, but Joe Conason who has, does not think them credible. Ken Starr did not think they would hold up in court.

    Clinton seems to be into consensual sex in a big way. To his ever lasting shame he could not keep it in pants for the space of 8 years. He could not be nominated in today’s environment, and that is a good thing. But just because all these other guys are guilty does not make Clinton guilty. It has not to do with what you think of Clinton, just what constitutes a credible allegation and what does not.

    1. Big River Bandido

      You’ve addressed a single complaint (and none too convincingly) by one accuser. You mention two others, but dismiss their charges without evidence, because two right-wing stooges said the charges weren’t credible. What about all the other women who complained about Clinton’s lecherous behavior? And what of the ones bullied into silence by Hillary Clinton?

      And what about all those average citizens who had to stifle their own disgust at the man, and circle the wagons to protect him during his impeachment, because oh, the alternative was so much worse…?

      1. blennylips

        His fate may be sealed. With headlines like this two weeks ago on theduran.com:

        Kevin Spacey’s bromance with Bill Clinton aboard the Lolita Express
        Both men rode the plane all the way to convicted sex offender, Jeffery Epstein’s “Orgy Island”.

        The bernaze sauce works both ways…

        1. John k

          Wonder if any formerly underage girls on that plane or island are being paid to keep their mouth shut?
          Sweet if that wormy can opens up.

    2. lyman alpha blob

      I’m sure Roy Moore’s defenders have all the same excuses. Unless you know these people personally, I don’t know how you can be so sure the others are all guilty but not Bubba the Special Snowflake, who only ever wanted to be loved.

    3. nippersmom

      It is also extremely unethical to have an affair (even an ostensibly consensual one) with a much younger and clearly less powerful intern. I guarantee you so-called feminists like Steinem would have been appalled at the same behavior if indulged in by a political adversary.

    4. Partyless Poster

      1 of the cases (Paula Jones) was settled for $850,000, that doesn’t seem like something you do if your innocent. Not to mention he was in a position of authority with Monica Lewinsky which makes it much more inappropriate.
      I found the free pass given to Bill during the election truly nauseating and hypocritical.
      Just 1 of many nauseating and hypocritical issues with democrats.

      1. RUKidding

        Just 1 of many nauseating and hypocritical issues with democrats

        True, but it’s not like there’s not similar or worse with Republicans.

        At this stage, my take is that all people in positions of power should be held to much higher standards, and it would be helpful if we could agree on what those standards are. Plus determine what the real consequences should be IF certain behaviors happens, are found out and proven.

        To whit, I’m no defender of what Bill Clinton may have done (may have, as in, there’s not consensus on what actually did or didn’t happen, unless I’m missing something). But to defend what Roy Moore has done – as in there are credible women claiming similar behaviors – seems pretty egregious to me. Where are the consequences for Moore?

        1. Jim Haygood

          My take is that all people in positions of power should be held to much higher standards.

          People in power operate under the Weinstein standard:

          Under the current system run through the Office of Compliance, [Congressional] staffers must go through months of mediation and counseling with the employing office before they can file a formal complaint. They must also sign nondisclosure agreements.

          If staffers do go forward with a complaint, they can either file it in court or seek an administrative hearing that leads to negotiations for a settlement.

          Such settlements are paid out by a fund operated by the Treasury Department.


          They grope; we pay. And the guilty remain anonymous. :-)

    5. Aleric

      The first time I ever heard the name Bill Clinton was when his name came up in a group of Young Democrats (neither of which I am anymore) in 1990 or 1991 discussing candidates for the 1992 election. This was before any public announcement of his campaign. One young woman, who had been a delegate to the national committee, shook her head sadly and said something like – he’s OK, but you don’t want to be stuck alone with him.

    6. Jeremy Grimm

      I’ve read that power and money are powerful aphrodisiacs. And don’t women sometimes lie when it is to their advantage? I don’t know and at this point don’t care about the Clintons — not any of them.

      Given my jaded view of the world and the relations between men and women where large amounts of power and money are in play I hope I might be forgiven for my skepticism about some of the now snowballing claims of harassment and worse. I hope I might be forgiven for my skepticism about the now snowballing denials. But I am inclined to believe a lot of the beautiful people, the powerful, and the rich are scumbags.

    7. Mo's Bike Shop

      Bill Clinton lied to everyone, then told us he did, on TV. Focusing in on one little area where his lies bear him out is not going to change who he is.

    8. Lambert Strether Post author

      Yes, the anti-Clinton locals were real bottom feeders (many of them, IIRC, still outraged at Little Rock being desegregated). The national operatives who picked them up [***cough*** David Brock ***cough***] were bottom feeders as well. Just horrible people. And the entire Special Counsel operation was deeply contaminated by partisan politics (and Ken Starr’s prurience didn’t help, either).

      That said: I think Juanita Broderick is credible (and if “believe the women!” is your belief, you must, too). And to me, again, Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky is a straightforward case of workplace abuse, because of the power imbalance. If this was a CEO of a major corporation and an intern, we wouldn’t even be thinking twice about it. But because we all have — or had — so much invested in the Clinton Dynasty, he gets a pass (as issued by noted feminist Steinem).

      Adding, I don’t have a very sensitive stomach, but the Democrat virtue signaling on this is so intense, and so at variance with how they treat their own leaders (Teddy Kennedy, too) that it’s too much. They need to keep their own side of the street clean, and they don’t.

      1. Jen

        I said something of the kind when I unsubscribed to the state Democrat email list, after receiving this little gem yesterday:

        Kennedy Clinton Dinner

        Please join us for an event to support New Hampshire Democratic Party, named for iconic Democratic leaders, President John F. Kennedy and President William J. Clinton. We’ll be hearing from Congresswoman Grace Meng, Congressman Tim Ryan, and Congressman John Delaney, as well as New Hampshire’s incredible Congressional Delegation.

        Kennedy Clinton 2017: Great Things Grow in the Granite State

  13. none

    Lambert, I like fastmail.com a lot and recommend it over gmail/yahoo/etc if you don’t mind its cost (starts at $40/year now). It has a gmail-like interface, has a mobile app and supports generic ones (imap clients), has no advertising, gives actual human support responses, and you get the feeling that since you are paying the company directly. you are the customer rather than the product. I.e., they work for YOU. My main alternatives would be DIY approaches that I decided weren’t worth the hassle.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I finally got the Yandex app going (which unforturtunately isn’t so polished as the native iOS app). I think the issue is that Apple has dropped a dime on me as a spammer because I send a lot of links. So my account is on some sort of list. Even though I have a verified identity inside Apple’s walled garden!

    1. QuarkfromDS9

      So I read that and thought “That was a cute parody”. But then I saw the source, did a bit of googling…and realized that was illustrating an actual timeline of events. Uhm…wow. No words….

      1. The Rev Kev

        Reminds me of a recent story of a software engineer (!) battling to get his internet connected kettle working online. After about six hours he finally cracked it and had it working but then had to sit in the dark with his wife to have dinner. The reason? His internet connected lights were doing a firmware update and so could not provide light. True story.

        1. JustAnObserver

          IIRC the total time from unpacking the kettle to a cup of tea (he’s a Brit) was 11+ hrs.

          For those who missed this just search “internet connected kettle” on Twitter. Its hilarious.

        2. MichaelSF

          My understanding is that tea is a traditional RUSSIAN!!! beverage. Should we be quivering in fear that the RUSSIAN!! security services will be interfering with our elections through these potentially nefarious kettles? After all, there’s no proof that the RUSSIANS!! are NOT making plans to subvert Democracy with brewed beverages. Better safe than sorry.

          1. wilroncanada

            It isn’t Russian.
            It’s a native North American concoction, served up by plains tribes.
            Everyone knows: if you drink too much you can drown in your teapee.

      2. a different chris

        Yeah and the “container” I would bet didn’t have much to do with it. “5 years ago” they had this problem, and now (after working on it for 5 years) it is solved. Sounds like your normal software project to me.

        Except that your lights can no doubt now be hilariously hacked.

        Update: and even I didn’t react to how stupid the remote-light-bulb thing even is….just jaded, I guess

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      I didn’t get any content at the link you posted [my browser is as ancient as I am]. But “Light Bulb Jokes for Computer Programmers” [http://www.topedge.com/home/people/gaman/jokes/b15.htm] has quite a few.
      My favorite:
      Q: How many C++ programmers does it take to change a light bulb?
      A: You’re still thinking procedurally. A properly designed light bulb object would inherit a change method from a generic light bulb class, so all you’d have to do is send a light bulb change message.

    3. Daryl

      Kubernetes is an important piece of software, but I’m not sure why this involves Philips Lighting. Paid advertising I guess.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      One hundred percent 100%?

      Or 96% rounded up to 100%?

      By the way, I am not sure if there is anything that is 100% 100%.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      After their accelerator problems they might have learned something important about computer programs.

  14. Pookah Harvey

    I’ve read some good put downs on Trump and the repubs but this one from the National Review, yeah the National Review, is one of the best I’ve seen. Some excerpts:

    A big, beautiful wall paid for by the rascally Mexicans? No — though Trump might oversee the renovation of some existing fencing and let your grandkids pay for it. Whoopin’ on the Chi-Coms with currency-manipulator sanctions and punitive tariffs? Trump went to Beijing and kissed more a** than the extended Kardashian family has sat on.

    Imagine three sad-faced clowns sitting backward on a drunken mule and trying to march it sideways through a coin-operated carwash without any money and you’ll have a pretty good idea where the Republican tax-cut plan is right now.

    It’s worth a read.

  15. Elizabeth Burton

    I’ll go out on a limb and venture that when Keith Ellison says “Democrats,” he isn’t talking about the ones who turned him into a placeholder sop to the Bernie faction. He’s talking about the people running as Democrats because, at the moment, it’s the only way to ensure a shot at winning. Like the Democratic Socialists who did so well on Tuesday, and Lee Carter in Virginia.

    Granted a few of the Republican Lite types the DCCC and DSCC persist in running are likely to get a shot in districts where there are enough people sick of Trump to bother to vote, but I don’t believe those are the ones he’s referencing.

  16. Wukchumni

    It’s interesting to see advertisers scurrying away from Hannity, and yeah he’s the ‘fixer’ if you’re a white elephant in trouble and need some 23 mph fastballs pitched your way, but propping up an alleged pedophile isn’t working to Citizen Rupert’s advantage, is it?

  17. Big River Bandido

    The Caitlin Flanagan article at The Atlantic, while it mostly reads true, also contains some real banging-head-on-desk assertions, like in her closing graph:

    The party needs to come to terms with the fact that it was so enraptured by their brilliant, Big Dog president and his stunning string of progressive accomplishments that it abandoned some of its central principles.

    Another use of the term “progressive” which debases the word of any meaning. “Stunning”, too, for that matter…although I suppose one could interpret that word with irony. I certainly didn’t feel that way at the time about Clinton’s crime bill, or NAFTA, or “Defense of Marriage Act”, and I certainly didn’t feel that way when he signed the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act into law a little later. I think any “journalist” who tries to spin that heinous list into one of “progressive accomplishment” needs to have their head examined — and did at the time, too.

    1. JustAnObserver

      Their heads can only be examined after they’ve been withdrawn from their current – somewhat dark – abodes.

      Pity the examiner.

    2. John k

      Anyone who says that is no progressive. Further, he doesn’t know what progressive positions are. And clearly has no clue of the damage the big dog did to the deplorables.
      Granted, he might be one of the many that conflate progressive with liberal.

    3. Darn

      I guess raising the minimum wage and EITC count as progressive accomplishments, but can anybody name another in this “stunning string” of them? Serious question

  18. Plenue

    “How to Get Rich Playing Video Games on Twitch” [The New Yorker]

    I very much suspect a lot of this has to do with people being unable to find normal jobs.

    1. QuarkfromDS9

      As someone young enough to grow up with video games as an entertainment staple (I’m 28) and is a bit of a gamer myself (not as much as I used to be, I’m pretty busy nowadays), I never really understood livestreaming. But a *lot* of gamers like watching other people play video games, so I’m clearly in the minority. It’s also worth noting the most successful people on Twitch tend to be females, particularly ones that aren’t embarrassed to show a lot of cleavage.

      Oh and I’m not really sure it has anything to do with an inability to find “normal jobs”. Most of the ones I’ve seen probably can, they just are either lazy, or found out that you can make six figures (or more) playing video games in front of a web cam, if you have the personality and/or cleavage for it. The same dynamic existed on YouTube, where plenty of 20 somethings and some older decided to forfeit that whole job thing in favor of producing regular content on their YouTube channels for those Adsense bux. Then the “adpocalypse” happened and well, that’s pretty much over now. Know of one semi prominent youtuber who had to move from Seattle to Louisiana after the Adsense bux dried up.

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