2:00PM Water Cooler 11/20/2017

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“The New TPP May Sink Trump’s Other Trade Dreams” [Foreign Policy]. “The revived TPP includes less restrictive — not more restrictive — rules on where automotive components can be made. Since both Canada and Mexico are in that pact, they’d be hard-pressed to adopt different rules just to deal with the United States.”

“The fifth round of talks has two days left, but there’s little hope for major progress after three days of meetings in Mexico were marked by little fanfare. Round 5 formally kicked off on Friday, and negotiators continued to meet over the weekend for talks on issues including government procurement and temporary entry visas; but they found little room for movement on hot-button areas where the U.S. has refused to back down” [Politico]. “‘Things are moving very slow — there’s not a tremendous amount of progress,’ a Canadian source told Morning Trade. ‘But there aren’t any fireworks, either.'”



“In blue-leaning delegate seats, GOP incumbents’ personal appeal failed to insulate them from voters’ anti-Trump mood, even against weak, under-funded and self-described socialist opponents. Republicans held onto just two of their 17 seats in districts Clinton carried, and are headed to a recount in a third. The results suggest Northern Virginia Rep. Barbara Comstock (VA-10) is the single most vulnerable GOP incumbent in the country” [Cook Political Report]. “Taken together with results from four 2017 House special elections in red districts, where Democrats outperformed Clinton anywhere from one point (GA-06) to 13 points (KS-04), the balance of evidence suggests Democrats would be the ever-so-slight favorites to reclaim the House if the elections were held today.”

“If 2018 Is Like 2017, the House Will Be a Tossup” [Nate Cohn, New York Times]. “Republicans have important structural advantages. They enter the cycle with the advantage of incumbency and a highly favorable congressional map, thanks to partisan gerrymandering and the tendency for Democrats to waste votes with overwhelming margins in heavily Democratic urban areas. As a result, it’s not obvious that the building Democratic wave will be enough to flip control of the House.” And: “[M]ore generally, strange results happen a lot more often in special elections. Low turnout is a big reason for that. Many ultralow-turnout special elections this year appear to have favored Democrats heavily.”

“Lindsay Menz told CNN that she walked away as soon as the photo [with Al Franken] was taken, without saying anything to the then-first term senator. When she reconnected with her husband moments later, she told him: ‘He totally grabbed my butt.’ Jeremy Menz described that conversation the same way to CNN” [CNN]. So we have another opportunity to find out whether, for Democrats, the “Believe the women!” talking point is for real, or weaponized sanctimony.


“Democrats pick Conor Lamb to run against Rick Saccone for vacant House seat” [Tribune Live]. “Only county committee members from the 18th District, which includes parts of Allegheny, Washington, Westmoreland and Greene counties, could vote, according to party rules. Democratic party leaders said 554 committee members participated” (background).

2016 Post Mortem

Susan Hennessy is a Brookings Fellow, not a card-carrying Communist, so this is worth noting:

There’s so much chum and churn and bookselling being done on this issue it’s hard to keep track, so it’s good to have Hennessy’s summary. Anything’s possible, of course, but we’ve been at this a year…. And–

“Here are some of the biggest myths of the Russian-collusion story” [New York Post].

New Cold War

Weaponized identity:

“House votes overwhelmingly to pass $700 billion defense bill” [AP]. “Rep. Adam Smith of Washington, the top Democrat on the House Armed Services Committee, voted for the bill while also criticizing Congress for refusing to come to grips with its out-of-control approach to budgeting. Smith said it’s inconsistent for Republicans to push for billions of dollars more in defense spending while also advocating tax overhaul legislation that will deepen federal deficits over the next decade.” Profiles in courage….

Trump Transition

UPDATE “Bush administration alums rising in Trump’s orbit” [AP]. “Trump has installed more than three dozen veterans of the Bush administration, putting them in charge of running agencies, implementing foreign policy and overseeing his schedule. While hiring from the last administration controlled by the same party is common, Trump’s staffing moves are notable given his pledges to change politics-as-usual and the frosty relations between the current and former Republican standard-bearers. The Bush influence has only grown stronger recently, as Trump nominated Alex Azar to lead the Health and Human Services Department, where he served under the Bush administration, and tapped Jerome ‘Jay’ Powell to be chairman of the Federal Reserve. Powell served in the Treasury Department under President George H.W. Bush.” Nothing more appealing to wealthy suburban Republicans than some of their own in positions of power, when they’re talking things over at the club…

“The show so far, a continuing series” [Marginal Revolution]. I don’t agree with Tyler Cowen on much, but it’s an interesting assessment of the Trump administration so far.

“Donald Trump takes the bait, and LaVar Ball’s Big Baller Brand wins again” [USA Today]. Honestly, I’ve never seen a politician who’s more able to turn an opportunity for a gracious positive into a clumsy negative with more alacrity than Donald Trump, and I’ve followed Hillary Clinton for years. With the caveat that my defintion of “gracious positive” may not be everyone’s. But Lordie. Rise above, Donald! Rise above!

“Trump Economists Say Opioid Crisis Much Bigger Than Envisioned” [Bloomberg]. Good to see Democrats all over this. Oh, wait….

Realignment and Legitimacy

Second straw in the wind:

“What Democratic civil war? The left already won.” [WaPo]. Nonsense. If that were true, Perez wouldn’t have purged the DNC Rules and Bylaws committee of Sanders supporters.

“Americans Aren’t As Divided As You Think” [Politico]. “I traveled into some of the most economically depressed areas of our country and met coal miners without coal mines and mill workers without mills. It didn’t seem so deplorable that many of them were angry that the economies of their communities and the health of their families were in a three-decade freefall, and were eager to protest a government and a political and media establishment that were willing to accept their pain as a necessary byproduct of free trade or the fight against global warming. Over the course of a year, I traveled from churches to conservative think tanks to NASCAR races and even to tea party meetings, and I was almost always able to find more points of agreement and commonality than I thought possible.”

“Trump’s recklessness is magnifying the military’s political power — and independence” [Ezra Klein, Vox]. NTDT, but if Trump were that reckless, wouldn’t we be at war already? I mean, more than we already were under Obama? I don’t like a government run by generals any more than Klein does, but I’m not sure there’s a direct, causal link between that and war. Remember Libyan war-monger Hillary Clinton‘s BFF Madeleine Albright: “What’s the point of having this superb military that you’re always talking about if we can’t use it?”

Stats Watch

Leading Indicators, October 2017: “A swing higher after a swing lower is October’s hurricane result as the index of leading economic indicators hit Econoday’s high estimate at 1.2 percent. September was initially posted as a 0.2 percent decline and, in another positive, is revised to a 0.1 percent gain” [Econoday]. “Unemployment claims were the biggest swing factor between the months…. Hurricane effects made their mark on the LEI and the net message from September and October together is year-end acceleration for the economy.” But: “Because of the significant backward revisions, I do not trust this index” [Econintersect]. “As a comparison to the LEI, ECRI’s WLI (which Econintersect reports on weekly) is now in expansion showing weak growth and trending down.” OTOH: “The U.S. economy is doing just fine. Growth has topped 3% for two quarters in a row and the fourth quarter could also reach that mark. If so, it would be the first time since the current expansion began in mid-2009 that growth hit 3% or more for three straight quarter” [MarketWatch]. Assuming arguendo that this holds up and that perception is reality, it’s hard to see even Trump fumbling this advantage away in 2018. Plus, the Republicans will be campaigning against the Democrats.

Commodities: “The world is facing a global sand crisis” [The Conversation]. “The complexity of this problem is doubtlessly a factor. Sand is a common-pool resource – open to all, easy to get and hard to regulate. As a result, we know little about the true global costs of sand mining and consumption.” Hmm.

Commodities: “The nickel market is learning that there is a difference in believing you are the next big thing in battery metals and the reality that you are actually still beholden to the Chinese steel sector” [Reuters].

Retail: “Inside the Secret World of Global Food Spies” [Bloomberg]. “In demand by multinational retailers and food producers, Inscatech and its agents scour supply chains around the world hunting for evidence of food industry fraud and malpractice. In the eight years since he founded the New York-based firm, Weinberg, 52, says China continues to be a key growth area for fraudsters as well as those developing technologies trying to counter them. Statistically we’re uncovering fraud about 70 percent of the time, but in China it’s very close to 100 percent,’ he said. ‘It’s pervasive, it’s across food groups, and it’s anything you can possibly imagine.'” Anecdotally, many Chinese fly to Australia to buy baby formula in bulk.

Retail: “According to a Deloitte survey taken in October, the average holiday season spend this year is expected to be $1,226. For the coming weekend, the average shopper plans to spend $427 (34.8% of the average total) between Thanksgiving Day and Cyber Monday and nearly 90% expect to stay within the budget they had set earlier in the season” [247 Wall Street]. $1,226?! That’s a lot of money! (And when did “spend” become a noun, anyhow? [checks OED] OK, OK, the Late Seventeenth Century, but you know what I mean.

Debt: “An alarming number of shoppers are still paying off debt from last Christmas” [CNBC]. “During the 2016 season, boomers proved most likely to take on debt to finance their purchases, with 63 percent of respondents copping to the habit. Other generations took on debt as well, including 58 percent of Gen-Xers and 40 percent of millennials. What’s alarming about this pattern is that many Americans are still carrying last year’s debt as they head into yet another holiday season. Millennials are the worst culprits here: 24 percent still haven’t paid off credit card debt incurred during the 2016 shopping season, while 16 percent of Gen-Xers haven’t and only 8 percent of boomers haven’t.” Note: In this story, the average “spend” is $660. So…

Shipping: “Top national lenders Deutsche Bank and Commerzbank are stepping up efforts to offload distressed shipping loans, finance sources said, as the German banking system grapples with US$100 billion in toxic debt from the sector” [Channel News Asia]. “German banks are estimated by shipping finance sources to be holding at least US$100 billion in distressed shipping loans and shipping finance sources say much of this debt is unlikely to be recouped in full, meaning heavy losses on investments. Banks in Germany were particularly exposed to container shipping, a market that has been weak for years.”

The Bezzle: “We Can’t Trust Facebook to Regulate Itself” [New York Times]. “I led Facebook’s efforts to fix privacy problems on its developer platform in advance of its 2012 initial public offering. What I saw from the inside was a company that prioritized data collection from its users over protecting them from abuse.”

The Bezzle: “Some big truck operators are going to give the Tesla Semi a spin in their supply chains” [Wall Street Journal]. “With the real-world use still a couple of years off, the more immediate impact of Tesla’s rollout may be in driving other truck makers to speed up their work on electrification and automation.”

The Bezzle: “The Outrageous Story of the Dale, A 1970s Three-Wheeled Scam” [Road & Track]. “The Dale was, in theory, a hyper-efficient, innovative vehicle come to save the day in the wake of high gas prices. It had weird, futuristic styling, and a three-wheeler platform built with motorcycle parts. The Dale raised over $30 million in investments in the hope it would revolutionize the industry. Except, the whole thing was a sham. In the wake of high promises and questionable backstories, Car and Driver investigated the Dale to see just how much of it was true. They found a car with no steering wheel, no accelerator pedal, and a motor from a lawnmower in the engine bay.”

The Bezzle: “Three shady — and all too common — things that digital health startups do to make money” [CNBC]. “There’s a complex web of regulations that govern how medicine is practiced. Many start-ups will violate these rules, knowingly or not.”

The Bezzle: “[Skedaddle] is launching an Initial Coin Offering, or ICO, in January to fund a side project that aims to eliminate tipping in the service industry” [Business Insider]. “The “Kudos Project” will run on the Ethereum blockchain, allowing customers to rate any transaction they make, Skedaddle co-founder and CEO Adam Nestler told Business Insider. Those ratings, for anyone from your Uber driver to restaurant server to grocery supermarket cashier, are then instantly published to a decentralized database that allows anyone using the system to see the ratings that then follow an employee from one job to another throughout the full gig economy. They also function as a ‘reward’ for the worker in lieu of a tip.” So, not only do you not get any money, one chilly look at a customer with an ill-behaved child could follow you round for the rest of your life.

Tech: “Apple Inc.’s new HomePod is supposed to help consumers do a lot of things, but it can’t help them predict when the smart speaker itself will be ready to ship. The device that was supposed to head into retail distribution channels in December is being pushed off until early 2018” [Wall Street Journal].

Honey for the Bears: “A key recession indicator is getting closer to the danger zone — and the Fed can’t ignore it” [Business Insider]. The inverted yield curve. But does it apply any more in our crazypants “new normal”?

Mr. Market: “A good cyclical indicator that it would be useful to track is the ratio of penalty to reward for financial misconduct. Banks were fined untold billions of dollars for mis-selling mortgages in the lead-up to the financial crisis, but a lot of people believed, with some justification, that those fines were “just a cost of doing business,” and were small relative to the size of the dishonest-mortgage-selling business. (Certainly they were small compared to the harm done by the financial crisis.)” [Bloomberg]. “But after the crisis, that calculation changed. The fines for the Libor scandal seem to have been much bigger than the gains that banks made by manipulating Libor.”

Rapture Index: Closes down 1 on drought. “Drought conditions have declined with winter rains” [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 183.

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 49 Neutral (previous close: 44, Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 53 (Neutral). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed. Last updated Nov 20 at 11:35am. Today!

Health Care

“Make Obamacare better with Medicare-X” [CNN]. Democrat Senators Michael Bennet and Tim Kaine hijack Medicare’s branding to head off Medicare for All with the so-called public option. Liberal Democrats always do this when single payer threatens to gain traction; and then, its purpose served, the public option goes away, to await the next deployment.

“Obamacare Shopping Is Trickier Than Ever. Here’s A Cheat Sheet.” [Kaiser Health News].

“Brokers Are Reluctant Players In A Most Challenging ACA Open-Enrollment Season” [Kaiser Health News]. “Licensed insurance broker John Jaggi of Forsyth, Ill., said he and his daughter, Anne Petri, also a broker, often spend the first 35 minutes of appointments just helping clients figure out the math to determine if they can get a premium subsidy…. By that point, clients are exhausted and don’t even want to talk about the details of the plan, Jaggi said. And he’s paid “almost nothing” for his efforts.” And this is an credentialed expert, mind you.

“I.R.S. Says It Will Reject Tax Returns That Lack Health Insurance Disclosure” [New York Times]. “Next year, for the first time, the I.R.S. will reject your tax return when filed electronically if you do not complete the information required about whether you have coverage, including whether you are exempt from the so-called individual mandate or will pay the penalty. If you file your tax return on paper, the agency said it could suspend processing of the return and delay any refund you might be owed. The agency’s new guidance for tax professionals seems to contradict Mr. Trump’s first executive order, on Inauguration Day, which broadly instructed various agencies to scale back the regulatory reach of the federal health care law.”


“South West Water charges the people of Devon and Cornwall [in the UK] some of the highest bills in the country. The company says this is necessary to improve the service. But an investigation by Corporate Watch has found it is paying out more to owners and financiers than it is investing in the water and sewerage supplies that residents depend on” [Corporate Watch].

Guillotine Watch

Biggest employers by state:

Hmm. Looks like college debt is propping up some blue states; and Wisconsin, even today!

“Former Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew is joining a midmarket New York private-equity firm, adding his name to the long list of high-ranking government officials entering the sector in recent years” [MarketWatch].

Class Warfare

“President Donald Trump is by far the wealthiest member of the U.S. government, with an estimated net worth of $1.7 billion. While Trump is far from the typical U.S. politician, he is not the only extraordinarily wealthy government official. Most U.S. members of congress are millionaires” [247 Wall Street]. “Eighteen of the 25 are members of the House of Representatives and the rest are senators, and the wealthiest members of congress are fairly evenly split between the two major political parties. Thirteen are Republicans, and the wealthiest person on this list is a Democrat.”

“Congratulations to Electronic Arts on Having the Most-Hated Comment in Reddit History” [New York Magazine]. “The controversy centers around how the game unlocks new playable characters for users. Battlefront’s multiplayer system revolves around a system of unlocks and semi-random “loot crates” that bestow bonuses among players. Save up enough rewards from playing online and you’ll earn enough in-game currency to spend on a playable classic Star Wars character. So, if you want to play as Luke Skywalker or Darth Vader — according to one Redditor’s numerology — you’ll need to play for roughly 40 hours.” It’s almost like there’s some larger, more systemic issue involved….

“Fixing the Journalist-Fixer Relationship” [Global Investigative Journalism Network]. “‘Fixers’ are local people who work behind the scenes helping foreign correspondents get their work done. They serve as interpreters, set up hotels and drivers, book interviews and secure access to locations. They largely work in the shadows, often uncredited. This leaves the public in the dark about how foreign correspondence is done, and who may have influence on the international reporting itself…. Subsequent interviews with fixers who participated in the survey indicated underlying tensions that often remain hidden in professional interactions. A fixer with more than a quarter century of experience working with one of the American news networks put it bluntly: ‘Unfortunately they still look at us as ‘brown’ people with funny accents, and though I have reported and done some of the most important and daring stories for (the network), it is a struggle to get a producer credit. Meanwhile, white kids – years my junior – get their names up (in the credits).'”

News of the Wired

“My Apology to Naomi Wu and the Make Community” [Make]. This is a real apology and far better, sadly, than Louis CK’s. (I followed Wu on the Twitter before this controversy blew up, and she’s clever and interesting, despite my old codgerdom.)

Word of the day:

I’m vulnerable to this, because, magpie-like, I tend to collect bright shiny subjects, many anecdotal. Always hoping to stay on the informing side of the street, not the conveying one!

News you can use:

“Call routing based on the caller’s mood” [Google Patents]. Google is way ahead of the curve…

“Google Maps is getting a colorful redesign and some handy new features” [Daily Dot]. Shorter: They’ve made Google Maps modal, siloed by function, a structure which, by Conway’s Law, would be isomorphic with Google’s corporate structure. “The search giant explained in a blog post on Wednesday that Maps will now show different destinations based on what service—navigation, transit, drive, or explore—you’re using. For example, if you are driving using Android Auto, Maps will show more relevant stops, like gas stations and rest areas. Likewise, when you are on the “transit” tab, the map will highlight train stations and bus stops.” Heaven I should want to explore while I’m riding public transit! Readers, any of you who are are crazy or naïve enough to own cellphones, am I being too cynical?

“Discourses and Realpolitik on Monotheism and Polytheism” (PDF) [Katsuhiro Kohara]. “[N]umerous experts on Japanese culture consider polytheism superior to monotheism. In Japan, monotheism is often criticized as being the cause of wars, confl icts, and the destruction of nature. On the other hand, we occasionally hear voices praising the understanding of nature found in polytheism and animism as a solution to these types of problems. Th e idea that the problems of war and the destruction of nature could be resolved by dispensing with monotheistic thought and undergoing a shift to a polytheistic approach is so simple and understandable that such an idea has captured the hearts of many people.

What a time to be alive:

A Faraday cage for the whole family!

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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 (GP):

GP writes: “Last weekend at Zion’s National Park on the trail to the mostly unknown and vastly underrated Northgate Peaks. There was a brush fire a couple years ago that most of the trees survived and only sacrificed a few lower branches. This fellow burned up completely and almost took his older brother with him.”


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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. Altandmain

    I am wondering if the Democratic Establishment thinks that their articles of impeachment will go anywhere.


    Then again the Plutocrats seem to want him gone as well, presumably in favor of Mike Pence.

    Knowing the corporate Democratic Establishment though, there’s a very high probability that they will rig the Primary against Bernie Sanders supporters again.

    Then there is the matter that in 2020, it is still open to debate if a oligarch like Andrew Cuomo, Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, or some other Democratic stooges can beat Pence or Trump or whoever the GOP runs.

    1. neo-realist

      If none of the potential democratic stooges that run in 2020 message effectively, are unable to sell themselves effectively to the battleground/swing states, and do not advocate for policies outside of neoliberal orthodoxy, then they will be hard pressed to beat a Pence, or a Trump, or maybe a Kasich.

    1. Altandmain

      What is alarming about this is the fact that these companies are not the type that are going to be paying middle class wages.

      Sure there may be some back end corporate headquarters work, but otherwise these are the companies that are notorious for their poor employee treatment and low pay.

      Healthcare is a mixed bag. There is a ton of administrative bloat compared to the rest of the developed world. Yes, many healthcare jobs are absolutely critical, but the HMOs and pharmaceutical industry are parasites.

      That leaves universities. Enrolment rates are down for 5 years straight and likely 6 when we find out next month or early 2018.


      Universities have become a lot more neoliberal too. Adjuncts are the reality now and they don’t make much money at all. Ordinary staff are under siege from the reforms as permanent jobs with benefits gives way to temporary jobs. Blue skies research is being cut, which is a big problem. Meanwhile, pay at the top, in corporate fashion, goes up.

      The takeaway is that the US is not going in a hood direction. Maybe for the top 10% or the ultra rich, but terrible for the rest of us.

  2. John D.

    “Honestly, I’ve never seen a politician who’s more able to turn an opportunity for a gracious positive into a clumsy negative with more alacrity than Donald Trump, and I’ve followed Hillary Clinton for years.

    He’s like an overgrown toddler. Just like his buddy, Kim Jong-un. Ol’ Trumpy is honestly incapable of letting any perceived slight go by, no matter how petty or small or insignificant. We can debate till the cows come home as to how much of his shtick is an act or exaggerated, but this part, at least, is %100 genuine.

    And it would be an easily exploitable weakness if American liberals weren’t useless. And if what passes for ‘leadership’ in the Democratic Party wasn’t utterly feckless and worthless.

    1. jsn

      I’ve been watching him behave this way, be called infantile and get exactly what he wants for 30 years now.

      I submit it is a superb tactic for dealing with coalitions of people who already feel superior to you.

      While today’s offendee’s hair burns, you pick the pocket of one of his partners. When its time to pick his, you set his partners hair ablaze.

      Look at the courts, look at regulation and look at Blob foreign policy and you see this play again and again in just the last year.

    2. John k

      No, no. The donor class has a keen assessment of who is, and is not, worthless. Those leading the dem party, such as Clinton’s, obama, pelosi, schumer, and Perez, are of considerable value to them… otherwise the donations would stop on a dime.

      Worthless to middle and lower class workers? Yes, certainly.

      I used to think we have the best gov money can buy, but seems like the ones previously bought at least pretended to care about workers.

      1. RWood

        I’m on one side or the other of fake news, but I think somewhere (contra Tyler Cohen and all goops of two pages) Trump played the his barbaric patriarch/paternal to Abe, about Japan’s economy (‘good, beautiful’) and US’s, ‘But ours is better, okayy?’

        Hair-ember raising?

        1. drexciya

          Not necessarily so in my experience. Some people are so narcissistic, that they don’t have a clue as to how other people interpret what they’re saying or doing. I had a manager some time ago, who was a fallen upwards sales manager who thought he was awesome. But I easily spotted his defects (to me that was so hard not to see, that it was very frustrating), and I wondered why he didn’t have a clue as to why we worked around him. It’s a bit like Trump really.

          I think it’s also connected to how many sycophants people manage to collect in their environment. If people never speak out against you, you start to believe you are really awesome.

          1. el_tel

            Whilst I would in general agree with Yves that most narcissists are good at making a good impression I’d qualify this with “at first” (in order to get people to work for them, etc) – a narcissist I worked for most certainly didn’t make a good first impression with some people – it comes down to how powerful they are and how much people want to work with them come what may.

            So this doesn’t rule out the Trumps of this world, who are indeed clumsy but whose perceived “success/power” (whether real or feigned) causes people to want to work with them. I’d agree most narcissists don’t ultimately understand what people think of them – their empathy is only “skin deep” and ultimately causes them to be “found out”.

        2. cnchal

          clumsy? That’s because he is full of it. The Presidency is his object now and has found out, it’s not entirely his to do with as he pleases, hence tantrums.

  3. Anon

    Re: EA Controversy

    Fortunately, after the backlash, they walked it back, first with the claim that the cost to unlock Vader/Skywalker would be dropped by 75% or so and then walked back even further by not implementing the ability for people to buy the credits in the game (for now, anyway).

    A small win for the customer? I expect EA to pull this off in some other, lesser franchise that they own – one can never take off their cynicism hat too early when it comes to them!

    1. Jason Boxman

      Random EA anecdote… In Maitland, FL is their EA sports development, where many of the QA members are (of course) contractors. A friend worked in QA as a contractor for years there. Maybe that’s why EA games tend to be so buggy? It’s not like QA is important, or for software generally. Doing the same sports moves over and over again to test for issues would drive me insane.

    2. Kurtismayfield

      The whole system.is designed about you purchasing more loot boxes. If you need evidence, here is an article about a patent that sets up people that pay for loot boxes against people who don’t. This way you are “encouraged” to purchase them by seeing other’s with cosmetic gear, or just getting your butt kicked.

      Loot boxes are designed to get people addicted. See this link.

      I wouldn’t let my kid near multiplayer gaming today until they are adults.

    3. Altandmain

      EA is notorious in the gaming world for their terrible business practices.

      Their business model is to buy studios for their intellectual property, milk them like crazy, and then shut them down once they have destroyed the goodwill associated with that franchise leading layoffs. Then they repeat the cycle again.


      I heard that they don’t treat their developers any better than gamers.

  4. flora

    re: 2017

    ‘ “Democrats pick Conor Lamb to run against Rick Saccone for vacant House seat” [Tribune Live]. “Only county committee members from the 18th District, which includes parts of Allegheny, Washington, Westmoreland and Greene counties, could vote, according to party rules. Democratic party leaders said 554 committee members participated” ‘

    So, super delegates at the District level. The Machine… It’s alive!

    1. flora

      Note to Dem Rep Smith: The GOP does not care about deficits. They’ve said directly that deficits don’t matter except as a wedge to attack safety net programs and social spending. The next time the Dems have the majority, pass Medicare-for-All, pass college loan debt forgiveness or its discharge in bankruptcy, pass raising the minimum wage, pass real infrastructure spending and not public/private partnerships. Those things would do a lot of good for the real economy.

      It’s not the US deficit that matters, it’s what you use it for that counts. You need to learn how to use it to better the lives of the 99%, not just the 1%.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        A good way to handle college loan forgiveness is to give everyone, including those who did not borrow, and those who did not attend (and no need to borrow nor to pay), a fixed amount of money.

        That way, those in debt can pay it off (or most of it off, or even have some left over, depending on one’s debt and the fixed amount given to everyone) and those who didn’t go to college, for example, can now use that money to also get a college education in, say, China or a branch Chinese university in Africa. It’s possible they get a better deal there, or in India, Russia, Spain, etc.

      1. BoycottAmazon

        Perhaps the use of that book’s title could qualify for the favorite word of the day: synecdote.

  5. FreeMarketApologist

    re: The Skedaddle “Kudos Project” , allowing… “anyone using the system to see the ratings that then follow an employee from one job to another throughout the full gig economy.”

    One of the commenters at Bloombergview.com said it best:

    Remember that “permanent record” we were threatened with in K-12? Yeah. It was a bluff. It turns out that your typical employer doesn’t care that you put glue in Cindy’s hair when you were both in 3rd grade. But Silicon Valley is diligently working to fix that and make it a reality!

  6. eugene linden

    Ms. Hennessey makes a meaningless statement in saying that Trump was elected because more people voted for him in the critical states. The unanswered question is why they did. Was it because of the FBI investifation of Hilary’s emails — the announcement of which was supposedly triggered by a Russian-planted fake news story about Clinton’s meeting with the AG on the tarmac, and then compounded by the eleventh hour announcement that the investigation was reopening? Or was it by any of the other Russian fake news stories that rocketed through the noosphere? Or was it because voter suppression successfully lowered minority turnout in some key cities? Her assertion only holds water if it specifically refers to hacked machines.

    1. britzklieg

      Please explain why Hennessey’s “statement is meaningless” but yours is not.

      Her tweet is based on simple math.

      Your conjecture is based on propaganda.

    2. Pat

      Let’s see, were Clinton’s work emails on an unsecured laptop used for trying to line up virtual sexual encounters? Never denied. Would this be a problem if this was done by anyone not named Clinton (or Bush or Obama)? Absolutely. Was it being investigated? Never denied
      Did Bill Clinton meet with the Loretta Lynch in her plane? Not only not denied but called problematic in Senate testimony.

      Gosh those wiley Russians, they apparently not only were geniuses at buying Facebook ads more effectively than any political consultant out there, they hacked Hillary’s private server (you know the one that Hillary and her people SWORE was never hacked) and put her emails on her aide’s husband’s laptop AND hid the real Lynch and Clinton while having doubles play them in full view of both federal and local security in a manner that fooled the FBI. We really are paying a whole lot of people too much to be corrupt and incompetent. Many of them hired by one or both Clintons and Obama.

      Seriously if you believe half the stories out there about Russia, you should also be questioning the people who ran our security services for the last several decades.

      Hate to break it to you, but running the most hated politician in America for President who hired people who couldn’t remember that the electoral college count elects the President not a few excess million votes in California was more influential on the election than any of the imaginary acts attributed to Russia.

    3. Vatch

      Trump won in several critical swing states because members of a significant segment of the electorate were experiencing financial and medical desperation, and had been betrayed by Obama. Of course they hadn’t been treated any better by Republicans, but the Republicans hadn’t controlled the Executive branch since Jan. 20, 2009. Clinton worsened her situation by refusing to campaign in the swing state of Wisconsin.

      The story about Bill Clinton’s meeting with Attorney General Loretta Lynch wasn’t fake news, by the way. It really happened, and it was highly inappropriate.

      1. Kathy

        Yes, thank you, Vatch. There’s a reason why Dante put those guilty of betrayal and treachery in the ninth circle of hell.

    4. lyman alpha blob

      I will answer the why for you – Clinton was a terrible candidate who was and still is absolutely loathed by a large percentage of the voting population.

    5. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Her assertion only holds water if it specifically refers to hacked machines.

      That’s hardly “meaningless,” as you aver; IIRC, 40% of Democrats had been brought to believe that voting machines were hacked, and Stein’s lawyer in her election lawsuits bought into the theory. So, now that myth is cleared away, and that’s no small thing.

      Second, Hennessy says there’s “zero evidence.” Your comment boils down to claims that there could be evidence. You do see how your claim doesn’t refute hers?

      1. Tony S

        Hennessey’s carefully worded statement that “sufficient number of Americans in the right localities actually voted for” Trump covers exactly half the equation of a bipolar election. It entirely leaves out that those who opposed him in “the right localities” were prevented from voting against him, in massive numbers. Taking her statement to its logical conclusion, if they’d prevented absolutely all of his opponents from voting, Hennessey’s statement would be true even if the presidency were won with only 5 votes (as in the 2000 election).

        As for the New York Post link, I must admit Rupert Murdoch has lost some credibility with me as bearer of the argument that Trump was legitimately elected. Very closed-minded of me, I know.

  7. Chris

    Anecdotally, many Chinese fly to Australia to buy baby formula in bulk.

    A bit more than anecdote:

    So much for ‘free trade’…

    1. The Rev Kev

      Actually, I see this as real capitalism and not the ‘regulated’ type we see that only benefits certain segments of society. There are about 40,000 people buying stuff for Chinese called “daigous” who can make a good living as buying agents for not only baby foods but other products as well. Gee, making quality products that meet government health standards actually sells. Who know? A few more links on this idea-

    1. Ted

      Yeah, the category error got me too. The I realized it was a smear against states that vote red. Walmart=redneck=deplorable. QED.

      Lazy, lazy propaganda for the 10%. Good news is that Morgan Freeman is available to do the voice over. Good to know.

    2. VietnamVet

      Yes, the map is picking on Walmart. Department of Defense is first in Virginia. Walmart is second. This was a reward for Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox. Boeing in Washington State is the only manufacturer listed. All the rest provide services; retail, universities or health care. The next economic shock will collapse the system. Americans today cannot pay off their student loans or afford the $10,000 per person per year medical bill. Food and shelter are becoming more and more unaffordable. Homelessness and despair are engulfing mid-America. The destruction caused by this year’s hurricanes and fires will not be completely rebuilt with more to come and rising oceans.

  8. Livius Drusus

    Re: Bush administration alums rising in Trump’s orbit, the mainstream media now tells me that Bush was a wonderful if misunderstood man and that we should be nostalgic for the era of Good Guy Bush so I guess I should be happy about this. Iraqis, Afghans and people from New Orleans might not feel so happy though but who cares about them.

  9. AngryUndergrad

    RE: Russia myths

    Glad that this was finally written. Whether or not vote tampering happened, the idea that Russia is behind it is a dubious claim.

    I’ve been trying to more closely follow the ‘Russia-gate’ story lately. Mainly because I think it’s unfounded propaganda and a justification for de-legitimizing the election by the DNC/HRC (Ironic, considering the reaction to Trump’s declaration of de-legitimacy if he lost). I’ve noticed that there seems to be a hyper-focus on either vote tampering or social media influence; and rarely both among those I’ve talked to. No matter the method of tampering, it’s always starting with Russia blame and then finding justification post-hoc.

    This new Red Scare is pretty upsetting to me. I see it as a story being used to draw attention away from actual stories such as Puerto Rico, and several friends of mine can only talk about politics through this Russia-centric lens.

    1. Ted

      And yet … the absurd declarations just don’t seem to go away. What does Morgan Freeman charge anyway to be a voice if propaganda? Please god, I hope he charged them something.

  10. clarky90

    Re Charter Schools and the Sackler Family.

    When my kids were little, I was occasionally a parent help at our primary school. The teachers were teaching my children to sit still. “We are not going to the swimming pool until every child (25 kids!) is sitting still!” I was appalled. To me, it was like finding out that the little kids were being taught to roll cigarettes. Very bad!

    Twenty years later, older people (like me) are oblivious to what children are being taught in schools today. Yet, in 10 years, those children will be grown up and behaving in (party?) line with what they were taught as children.

    Economic and Spiritual Decline


    by Mordecai Lipe Gorin
    Translated by Hershl Hartman

    “The first time I visited Slutsk as an American citizen in 1927-28, Slutsk had already been under Bolshevik rule for ten years. The communist upheaval was to be seen and felt everywhere.

    Gone was Czarist rule, represented by the drunken, bribe-taking constable, the city cop, the bailiff. There was no longer authority, respect for religion and older people, for the rabbi or for the old, well-off householders. The new government apparatus functioned through the Communist Party whose membership consisted mainly of young people. Discipline was iron-clad. The party line, determined and issued by the Central Committee in Moscow, was the sole moral and political commandment for the local population, to be upheld and followed as the Torah of Moses, may they not be compared.

    I found Jewish life in Slutsk, as in all Soviet cities, to be in the worst of conditions. As mainly traders, merchants and small handicraftsmen in their economic lives, they were considered declassed under the new “Set Table.” Almost all of them were as if suspended in mid-air, having lost the earning-ground beneath them. The situation was miserable, tragic, because Bolshevism, as a new, fanatical religion, was mercilessly horrible. Its hand sliced through the formerly stable, conservative classes.

    Most of the stores in Slutsk stood empty because private trade was destined for liquidation. Merchandise was in the hands of the government, which established cooperative stores. Private trade, under the burden of heavy taxation, was unable to compete and had to be liquidated.

    Householders and luftmentshn [those who “starved by their wits”] were arrested on suspicion of dealing in foreign exchange, in black-market merchandise. Their fate was bitter and dark. There is no income because they are not fit for labor. And though the family’s mouths need food, it is not available. Leaving Russia is impossible because the iron curtain had been lowered – no one leaves and no one enters.

    Almost all the synagogues, houses of study, were converted into amusement places, theaters, movie houses or warehouses for grain and merchandise. The [main] House of Study, the Investors’ Synagogue, as well as the Tailors’ Synagogue, the large, beautiful Cold Synagogue – all became military storehouses for army supplies.

    The same happened to churches. The smaller ones were signed over to the State after the costly items – icons, gold serving pieces, works of art – were removed and sent to the Religious Cult Ministry – in Minsk.

    Along with all the yeshives and khedorim [respectively: schools of higher Judaic learning, and of elementary subjects], the Greek Orthodox Christian seminary, the hundred year-old monastery with its monks and nuns, were abolished.

    Only a few synagogues and the large “Mikola Cloister” remained open for the few aged people who came to pray. The young people no longer came to synagogue to pray. Those few synagogues lacked a prayer-quorum [ten adult males].

    The decline of the middle class

    “If not for the packages, the aid from limited American dollars that are sent by our relatives, may they be blessed, we and many others of our fellow-Jews would perish from hunger. We cannot emigrate, because it is forbidden here, and America does not permit us entry, so it has become a closed world – no one leaves and no one enters. This shows that worse times will apparently arrive. First of all let there be peace – but war is in the air; Germany is sharpening its slaughter-knife against ‘red’ Ivan and also against us Jews – I hope that I’m lying.” So said my observant and observing sister, as a tear fell from her pain-ridden heart.

    “In addition, our children are being taken from us. They want nothing to do with their parents. Serving communism – the Party – and they don’t need their parents,” sobbed reb Leyzer Zalman, the abandoned former rabbi of Timkowicz, now a [private] teacher of small children……”

    This account from 90 years ago, reminds me of a video, linked in NC, about one week ago.

    “This is not a free speech area”

    “A professor at Fresno State lectured our pro-life leader erroneously on free speech, recruited students to wipe away pro-life chalk messages, and then scrubbed the chalk away himself on video.”


  11. Chromex

    Again, I think back of all the handwringing ( I voted for neither candidate and did not regret it) Hennesy’s “summary” is idiotic. Where you lose the popular vote to the losing candidate by the widest margin in history it calls into question the entire electoral system . It is “legitimate” only because our abysmal and profoundly antidemocratic “electoral college” said so. It is like saying that Jim Crow laws were nothing to complain about because they were the law. I would not join people in the street wanting Trump out and Hillary in because the Russians “stole” the election. I MIGHT join a street protest against the electoral college. If we continue to elect presidents who got far fewer votes than the “losers” we are asking for it.

    1. AngryUndergrad

      I feel similarly. Ultimately the election was only “legitimate” in the sense that the system worked as it was built to. Russia, whether they tampered or not, are not to blame for what happened last year.

      1. John Merryman

        I would like to see Facebook/Twitter do a similar analysis of every other country in the world, applying the same criteria as was used to distinguish the Russian input.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Ultimately the election was only “legitimate” in the sense that the system worked as it was built to.

        I’m not sure what other standard of legitimacy is being proposed here. Both sides knew the rules going in; one side won playing by them and the other did not. If the Clinton campaign had allocated its resources according to the those rules, they might well have won. Instead, they racked up votes where they didn’t need them.

        1. BoycottAmazon

          Indeed: Trump’s campaign in Alabama was a master stroke. A state that he didn’t need to win as it was already his, yet it gave him huge crowds at an early stage, and sent a race based dog whistle heard around all the fly over states. Maine was another pick, which not only got Trump an unexpected EC vote, but was another message on protectionist trade policy to ignored parts of larger states that they mattered. It was all a lie, but then so was everything Hillary did, but Trump’s lie had the benefit of at least shining a light where it was needed.

    2. ChrisPacific

      I would happily join you in the streets for that one (if I still lived in the US). But the electoral college didn’t become antidemocratic in 2016. It always has been – for example, it was antidemocratic in Bush/Gore 2000 as well, and for a similar reason. If Democrats really cared that much about it, they have had 16 years to do something about it. The reason they don’t is the same reason the Republicans don’t – because the electoral college system is one of the key factors guaranteeing the two major parties a stranglehold over US politics.

      If you want to see an impressive show of bipartisanship from two parties who are otherwise implacable enemies, propose a change to a proportional representation system for elections and see what happens. Actually both parties are so widely hated right now that it might have a decent chance regardless, but you still face the Catch-22 of needing to get it implemented via the rigged legislative system that they control.

        1. ChrisPacific

          But right now only the Senate mitigates against that. Congress is already proportional to population, as are the electors for the Presidential election. And large states have figured out that they can create massive swings by assigning electors in winner takes all fashion, even if they only won by (say) 51% to 49%. That then gives them a disproportionate amount of influence, even more than you’d expect from their population, unless they are solidly in the tank for one side or the other (California). There is a reason why we hear so much about Florida and Ohio on election day. I would argue it’s actually worse than a simple popular vote for ensuring small state concerns are represented (even assuming that that can be done via as blunt an instrument as a binary vote for President).

          1. BoycottAmazon

            er, no. Simple percentile maths shows this. A vote in Wyoming is 4 times as powerful as a vote in California for president. What makes campaigning in Wyoming un-attractive is the over-decided political situation.

            However, as I’ve point out elsewhere, the whole campaign has become a Trojan horse to get the Constitution Amendment Convention started while the majority of state governments are controlled by Republicans.

            1. ChrisPacific

              Oh, I hadn’t realized that you got an elector for each senator. My mistake (mental note: never assume anything regarding the US electoral system even if it seems like common sense).

              That does provide a boost to small states then. Although I suspect it’s still dwarfed by the impact of winner takes all elector assignment heavily favoring large states that historically run close. When Florida (for example) can swing over 5% of the national tally even on razor thin margins, it’s always going to be difficult for smaller states to get any kind of influence.

    3. John k

      But not possible to change, so protesting is a time waster.
      EC exists because it was the deal that enticed smaller states to become part of the original 13. Today’s small states will of course not agree to a change.
      On balance it was imo well worth it.

    4. BoycottAmazon

      If you think an electoral college put that rot known as Congress into office, then you’re living in the 19th Century. Pin your hopes on a president alone is voting for strong man rule, hardly democratic.

      Getting rid of the electoral college will do nothing, and is a scam promoted by the 0.01 and their minions to revise the Constitution to make the system even less representative of the will of the masses.

    5. John Wright

      It does not follow that Clinton would have won in a “only popular vote matters” election as the Republicans would have allowed for the different set of rules and campaigned differently.

      Why in the world would the Democrats choose the privileged, donor tied wife of a former president, a military hawk who distinguished herself by misguided votes or advice on Iraq, Libya, Honduras, Syria and the Ukraine?

      To the outside world it should appear the Democrats spent $1.4 billion attempting to elect a very flawed candidate, starving down ticket candidates in the process for funds.

      The electoral college game was, apparently, well played by the Republicans, while spending about half the amount of money..

      The popular vote game might have also been well played by Republicans if it had been the law of the land in the Clinton vs. Trump election.

    6. Eureka Springs

      It’s a bit myopic to call the electoral college anti-democratic while ignoring the super plurality (48 percent) who did not vote as the only way they could say NO/None of the above. Add the ‘third party’ voters to that forty eight percent and either Trump or Clinton (their most anti-democratic parties) would be winners in this most anti-democratic country with 25 percent of the electorate. None of the above being ignored is much more egregious than the EC imo.

    1. beth

      Can we hope he is dropped from all of these companies/programs? I have always thought his arrogance allowed him to be a “pal ” to the wealthy, powerful men and needle talented women, if not cruelly, then leaning toward it by trying to find their most sensitive feeling in order to overpower them and make them uncomfortable.

      Let’s see: he has been on PBS, Bloomberg TV, CBS This Morning, 60 minutes. My hope is that all of them will fire him.

  12. John Merryman

    I could write a lot on the problems with monotheism and western philosophy, but I’ll try to keep it short;

    The logical fallacy of monotheism is it presumes a spiritual absolute(universal state) as an ideal of wisdom from which we fell, when it would be an essence of sentience from which we rise. More the new born babe, than the wise old man. Of course, religion is much more about social order, than spiritual insight, so it makes more sense to build a culture around the order of knowledge, than the raw emotions of elemental consciousness.

    As an ideal, monotheism is platonic, but since the premise is necessarily nebulous, the result is to treat ones cultural ideals as absolute and that does lead to extremism.

    We are also object oriented, rather than process and context oriented, so we tend to equate connectivity and unity with singular objects, which naturally leads to a division of inside and outside.

    Good and bad are not some cosmic dual between the forces of righteousness and evil, but the basic biological and emotional binary. as in we are attracted to the beneficial and repelled by the detrimental. A universal good/bad would be like a universal on/off, yes/no, right/left, etc. Though in order to function as a whole, a community does need a collective moral compass.

    Of course, communities also have the natural polarity of social expansion and civil/cultural consolidation, aka liberal and conservative (youth and age, if you prefer).

    We also think of time differently in the west. Because we think of ourselves as discrete beings moving through our context, we think of the future as in front of us and the past behind, while in the east, which sees fauna being as contextual as flora, the past is in front, because it is known and seen, while the future is behind because it is unknown and unseen. In fact, we do only see events after they happen.

    I’ll leave it at that, but the future of humanity does depend on our being able to understand just how integral we are to our context. Run through it all and….

    Man versus nature, I wouldn’t put all my money on man.

  13. Roland

    There is little relationship between people’s beliefs, and the cruelty of their warmaking.

    Rational Secular Occidentals are the people who have set the world records for butchery, up to and including chemical and nuclear weapons.

    Pagan Romans were no less extreme than any of the monotheists you’ll find in history. The lesson of ancient Rome is that you can be a polythesistic syncretist, and still be violently intolerant.

    The Romans frequently engaged in religious persecution, all the way to wholesale massacre. The Romans imposed worship of their gods and their deified emperors at the point of a sword. The Romans wiped out Celtic religion, and they nearly wiped out the Judeans. Roman history is studded with smaller scale persecutions, too.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I’m not sure where you are getting your ideas on Roman history from but I am afraid that the picture of the Romans that you have is somewhat skewed. First of, when the Romans took over an area, they would identify the local gods and then link them to one of the gods in the Roman pantheon so that they would be linked together. Thus the Romans and the locals would be worshipping together.
      Often, Roman soldiers would adopt the beliefs of the local gods and even take those beliefs back to Rome with them. They even set up temples to these foreign gods in Rome itself. The Persian god Mithras and the Egyptian god Isis are two such examples and even Christianity is an example of a foreign belief that made its way back to Rome.
      Your mention of the destruction of the Celtic and Jewish religious centers was for political and military reasons, not religious intolerance. Druidism was the source of much of the resistance to Roman rule who finally realized that they would have to attack it with military force and wipe it out which they did. In Judea the Romans gave the Jewish people a lot of leeway but it was Jewish hard-liners and their intolerance – plus incompetent Roman emperors – that lead to the 1st century wars. When the Judeans massacred Roman military formations as well as civilians, it became a fight to the death.

      1. Roland

        I mentioned that the Romans were polytheistic syncretists. They often happily added more gods and cults to their religion.

        But the Romans were not religiously tolerant. They imposed worship of certain gods upon other peoples, and ruthlessly slaughtered those who didn’t comply.

        In terms of “skew,” you should bear in mind that much of the modern version of Roman history comes from early modern thinkers who were rewriting that history to support their own political and cultural clashes with the Church at their time. As a result, we retain a tendency to imagine the ancient Romans are a far more “secular” people than they ever really were.

        For the Romans, religion and war and politics were not separate things. Generals and magistrates were also priests. Every clan, every guild, every legion was also a cult. Sure, Romans often did religious things for political reasons. But they also did military things for religious reasons.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Good point about how with the Romans, religion and war and politics were not separate things. I always found it hard to understand myself how a bloke could be a military officer one term and then be an administrator in the next. Then again, perhaps it is because we live in an age of specialization whereas in earlier times it was expected that you would have a much more rounded career in public life.
          Wasn’t there a link on NC yesterday about how all these genius tech billionaires are finding that they are being blindsided by the application of what they have been working on and the cause is that all they know is computers and engineering? Maybe the Romans had the right idea about how people should be generalists.

  14. lyman alpha blob

    RE: The Bezzle

    ” [The ratings] also function as a ‘reward’ for the worker in lieu of a tip.” So, not only do you not get any money, one chilly look at a customer with an ill-behaved child could follow you round for the rest of your life.

    Why so negative Lambert? You never know, your next customer could be the Dalai Lama himself –


  15. allan

    Overdose-reversing drug in short supply in rural WV [Charleston Gazette-Mail]

    KERMIT – In this small Mingo County town that some call “ground zero” for the nation’s opioid epidemic, Kermit Fire Chief Tommy “Tomahawk” Preece couldn’t get his hands on a life-saving drug that reverses overdoses caused by heroin and prescription painkillers.

    The closest place that had the overdose-reversing drug naloxone was 25 minutes away at the firehouse in Williamson.

    In August, Preece received an emergency call about a man who overdosed by Marrowbone Creek. There, Preece found his brother, Timmy Dale, unconscious, not breathing. He tried to revive him. Timmy Dale Preece died at the scene. He was 52. …

    Across West Virginia, a state with the highest drug overdose death rate in the nation, volunteer fire departments are struggling to find naloxone kits, especially those that come with a “goof-proof” auto-injector, said Thomas Miller, state director of the National Volunteer Fire Council.

    “The kits are hard to get,” Miller said. …

    This is what happens when you declare a national public health emergency but only give it access to a fund with $57,000 in it. And the surgeon general twists himself into verbal pretzels trying to explain how less is more.

    1. ABasLesAristocrates

      Come, now. They’re also using it to crusade against two natural substances – marijuana and kratom – that reduce opiod dependency.

      If you take the position that the “public health emergency” in question is the fact that America’s rural and industrial malcontents aren’t dying quickly enough, it all makes perfect sense.

  16. edmondo

    Fmr. DNC Chair candidate @Ronan4Progress joins @LindsayBrownNJ7 in running for Congress as a Republican. Both are left wing progressives.

    This only seems fair. Republicans have been running as Democrats since at least 1992.

  17. Ned

    “Life hack: I called Walgreens to check on something and got a lengthy ad for flu shots and I shouted “f*ck OFF” and it took me right to the main menu”

    Swear loudly and you are often immediately transferred to a real life human being at many sites as they don’t want to lose your business. I’ve done this with many robocalls and it seems to work most of the time.

    1. beth

      Ned: Good to know. That happened to me last week. I had planned to complain when I go in tomorrow, but now I have a better solution to that problem. They want my time to advertise when I am already a customer. Fantastic that it worked. I’ll try something to see if it works for me. Thanks.

    1. cyclist

      Speaking of Google, here is an observation related to the article about Google maps. Where I work, we have to access a web based application that only works properly in an older version of Internet Explorer (such is life in corporate America). So we get used to using IE as a default browser. If one pulls up a Google map on IE, the contrast between the roads and background (greyish) is so poor that it is almost impossible to read. Pull up the same map in Chrome (Google) and it is quite legible…. Hmmm…

  18. Charlie

    Second Straw in the Wind:

    From the looks of that thread, it appears quite a few have no idea there was a realignment during the Great Depression.

  19. lordhighexecutioner

    LiAngelo has a 250k car, and his own shoe from the family clothing business. He ain’t hurting.

Comments are closed.