2:00PM Water Cooler 11/9/2017

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“Airbus Deal With Bombardier Won’t Last Long: Analysts” [247 Wall Street]. “While the deal may have saved Bombardier and was thought to be an easy pickup for Airbus, that initial reaction may have proved to be too quick…. According to Moody’s, the airline industry prefers larger narrow-body jets, like Boeing’s 737 and Airbus’s A320, to smaller planes like the CS-100. The 737 seats a maximum of 172 to 230 passengers in four different members of the 737 family, and the A320 family seats from 100 to as many as 240 in four different airplanes. The CS-100 seats around 100, and Bombardier is also building a larger version of the plane, the CS-300, to seat about 125 to 150 passengers.”

“‘We’re talking with the administration and Congress about some mitigation efforts if that were to occur; about how we could protect our producers with that [farm] safety net based on prices that may respond negatively to any kind of NAFTA withdrawal,’ Perdue told reporters” [Politico]. “The statement from Perdue is significant as it is one of the first public, Cabinet-level admissions that preparations are underway to respond to a potential NAFTA withdrawal — a move President Donald Trump has repeatedly threatened…. Perdue doesn’t think a contingency plan will have to be put into action, however, saying that he believes NAFTA 2.0 will be ‘successfully’ renegotiated.” Nevertheless.

“Pacific rim countries are trying to revive the region’s sweeping trade deal, even if the pact’s biggest member won’t take part. Trade negotiators led by Japan are meeting in Vietnam this week seeking a revised version of the Trans-Pacific Partnership, looking past Mr. Trump’s move to withdraw the U.S. from TPP” [Wall Street Journal]. “They’re seeking to do that by essentially carving the U.S. out of the agreement…, by suspending clauses that the U.S. had backed in negotiations under former President Barack Obama. A new deal would bring together nations with a combined GDP of more than $10 trillion. It is a far cry from what the pact would have been with the U.S., but experts say it would still wield strategic significance and would leave the door open for the U.S. to join later.”


2016 Post Mortem

“[L]ast year, in April, as Trump’s shocking political ascent became impossible to ignore, Schilling’s 32-year-old son died of a heroin overdose. She found needles in the pockets of the clothes he wore to work in the mines before he got laid off” [Politico]. “Desperate for change, Schilling, like so many other once reliable Democrats in these parts, responded enthusiastically to what Trump was saying.” Liberal Democrats, even today, are The Party of Government Does Stuff, even if in a half-assed, ObamaCare-style neoliberal way. Opioid deaths correllate to Trump votes, yet the Democrats have nothing to say about what government can do to prevent “deaths of despair.” Odd. I grant that such a program wouldn’t necessarily appeal to wealthy suburban Romney supporters, but it’s still odd.

“As Ohio Goes: One Year Removed From Election Day 2016, Voters From The Ultimate Bellwether State Reflect On A Divided Nation” [Belt Magazine]. (I reject the “divided nation” trope, which translates directly to the “divisive” keyword liberal Democrats deploy against critics. The country is divided depending on how you slice it; for exanple, 63% of Americans are “dissatisfied with corporate influence.”) This from a Clinton voter, of a Trump voter: “They [the Trump voter] have a son who has a history of drug addiction. What I said was, ‘If your son didn’t have that issue, then you wouldn’t have to dig him out of that hole and then have him succeed as an adult. If he didn’t go backwards, he could just continue to move forward.” But because he has that issue, he’s had to work through that, and that has sucked up a lot of time and energy and resources — both in their lives and in their son’s life. If nothing else, parents worry about their kids. I think that that’s a lot of what I see happening with Trump in office.” I think if I were the Trump voter, I would have found that “have him succeed as an adult” remark a little grating.


“By all accounts, political spending for the November 2018 election will shatter every record” [McClatchy]. “Democrats today are buoyed by what they see as a prime opportunity to take back the House. As of Sept. 30, a record number of Democratic challengers —some 391 — had raised a not insignificant $5,000 each. Of those 391, 145 have already raised at least $100,000….. As important as the money candidates raise is cash from the parties and outside groups. Relatively new major players are the four super PACS aligned with top congressional leaders which can ask for and receive unlimited contributions. They also have the ability to inject huge amounts of late money into close races.”

“How 15 Democrats helped tank the 2013 assault weapons ban” [ABC]. Just a reminder that a Democrat “wave” isn’t necessarily good in itself; it can be squandered, as the Democrats squandered 2006.


“What the Virginia and New Jersey elections tell us about public polling and Donald Trump” [Brookings Institute]. “The reality: Republicans and President Trump lost a winnable governor’s race in one state and failed to hold a Republican seat in another. While Mr. Trump might have had a marginal effect on tonight’s races (although the massive boosts in turnout in Northern Virginia [especially Loudoun County] may suggest that the anti-Trump resistance is real), the narrative will say otherwise. The governors’ races will not tell us what will happen in the 2018 midterms, but if you’re a candidate for the House, Senate or a governorship next year, you have to feel better tonight if you have a ‘D’ after your name.”

On Virginia: “Here is some cold water, to keep ourselves grounded” [RealClearPolitics]. “[T]he [gerrymandered] map moved out from underneath Republicans while no one was looking – or, while no one was willing to adjust their views in light of the facts on the ground…. If we use presidential vote numbers to calculate an efficiency gap (EG) score, which is the measure of gerrymandering before the Supreme Court right now (using presidential votes avoids the problems of handling races where a candidate is unopposed, and it helps control for the candidate and campaign effects that make the metric being utilized so problematic), the House of Delegates map had an EG of -.16 in 2012. Using the 2016 data, that gap falls to -.11. You can think of this as the map losing about a third of its partisan advantage over the course of four years. I suspect that if the 2008 data were available, we would see a substantially larger gap than we saw even in 2012… We frequently see this with gerrymanders: Parties draw them to their advantage in the first year of implementation, but then time takes its toll. Partisan loyalties and attachments change, and the map’s strength is eroded.” Hence the Democrat Party’s insistence on court cases, and not, ya know, actually registering people. Oh, wait….

“Republicans regain razor-thin edge in Virginia House of Delegates, pending recounts” [Richmond Times-Dispatch].

The Northam campaign thinks that people who have been charged with crimes should not be allowed to vote:

Quite remarkable.

“Philly Is About to Get a Radical District Attorney. How Much Can He Really Change?” [Splinter News]. Krasner: “We have a very, very long history in criminal justice of not addressing trauma. A lot of research indicates that when people are harmed and they lose control [of their own life], whether they are victimized by violence or in some other fashion that is profound, what they do is they later act out in their lives in a way so that they can be in control. [The explanation is no excuse, he says, but if we want to reduce crime] we need to address the trauma that is visited on all of these different players in the system.”

“Respect means subordinating deeply held positions—no matter how valid—to winning power and containing Trump” [Daily Beast]. Funny how the finger-wagging always goes only one way…

Trump Transition

“She flipped off President Trump — and got fired from her government contracting job” [WaPo]. (This the woman who gave the Presidential motorcade the finger while out riding her bike. “[Juli Briskman] bosses at Akima, who have not returned emails and calls requesting comment, showed her the blue-highlighted Section 4.3 of the firm’s social-media policy when they canned her. “”Covered Social Media Activity that contains discriminatory, obscene malicious or threatening content, is knowingly false, create [sic] a hostile work environment, or similar inappropriate or unlawful conduct will not be tolerated and will be subject to discipline up to an [sic] including termination of employment.” I certainly hope Briskman gets a new job at a less craven and Puritanical company!

“Despite wins, Dems face an identity crisis” [The Hill]. “On Tuesday, Stephen Cloobeck, a major Democratic donor, expressed his frustration with the direction of the party and promised to stop donating if it becomes too progressive. ‘I can tell you if we go far left, I’m out,’ Cloobeck said on MSNBC. ‘I’m out. We [who?] need middle ground. It drives me nuts,” Cloobeck added. ‘So much so it would make me quit the party. And I’ve made it very clear: I’ll cut your money off. And others will do the same. We’ve had enough. We need a new brand.'” Good. Go. What the Sanders campaign showed is that you can run a first-class Presidential campaign without Cloobeck and his ilk. The Democrats should proceed forthwith to do so, and show Cloobeck the door.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“One weird trick to end gerrymandering: cake-cutting game theory” [Boing Boing]. This is very clever, and might go over better with the Supreme Court than complex statistical theories.

“[A]ll around the country, people have channeled the restless, do-it-yourself political energy that fueled the Women’s Marches and the airport protests into the formation of locally grounded, multi-issue resistance groups” [Guardian]. “Nobody has an exact count of how many of these new groups exist, but more than 6,000 have registered with Indivisible, the organization that grew out of the now-famous post-election guide to congressional advocacy written by a group of progressive former congressional staffers.” Indivisible instantly got good press, and I don’t like the lack of agency in “grew out of,” either. Since “progressive” is a meaningless term, a good litmus test is support for #MedicareForAll, and Indivisile does not. Call me overly paranoid, but the whole thing has the smell of yet another Democrat decapitation effort, just as happened with Black Lives Matter. Now, that’s not to say anything about local chapters! They have their own agency/autonomy, exactly like Black Lives Matter, distinct from the narrative forced on them by journalists who have those staffers’ names in their Rolodexes.

Stats Watch

Wholesale Trade, September 2017: “Wholesale trade inventories rose 0.3 percent in September, confirming the advance report and in line with consensus expectations of a slowdown to a more sustainable pace following the outsized (though revised downward by a tick) 0.8 percent gain in the prior month” [Econoday]. “The stock-to-sales ratio fell a notch to 1.27, the lowest reading since December 2014, continuing the downward trend in force this year. Excluding autos, wholesale inventories were up 0.4 percent after a 0.7 percent rise in the prior month.”

Bloomberg Consumer Comfort Index, week of November 11, 2017: Slipped two-tenths of a point [Econoday]. “Current views of the economy edged up. Personal finances index declined. The index of buying climate though increased to.”

Jobless Claims, week of November 4, 2017: “Initial claims for the November 4 week were up 10,000 to 239,000 and above Econoday’s consensus estimate” [Econoday]. “The Labor Department reported that claims taking procedures continued to be severely disrupted in the Virgin Islands while backlogged filings in Puerto Rico continued to be processed.”

JOLTS (Tuesday): “Note that hires and quits have stopped growing, and historically both lead job openings, in yet another indication that this cycle has reversed” [Econoday].

Shipping: “Forwarders and shippers caught in the updraught of an air cargo ‘perfect storm'” [The Loadstar]. “Forwarders and shippers are “feeling the pain” of a serious lack of air freight capacity in the market…. The air freight market is particularly tight out of Hong Kong, mainland China and South-east Asia, with the situation ‘worsening by the week.'”

Retail: “Sophisticated logistics is helping build a new business in a rarely-touched corner of the food market: Leftovers. A series of startups with names like ReFED, Spoiler Alert and FoodMaven are pushing into U.S. distribution channels they say waste billions of dollars in food every year…, and they’re working with companies from wholesale suppliers to restaurants to get the food moving in new and potentially profitable directions” [Wall Street Journal]. “That includes convincing industrial distributors like Sysco Corp., Aramark Corp. and Sodexo SA to add nodes to their supply chains. The key is to move fast when companies end up with excess supplies, find new markets for food that might otherwise be thrown out and get the goods sold and delivered in good condition.”

The Bezzle: “Uber’s ‘flying car’ project Elevate came whizzing back into view today with a number of key announcements about where it will first appear, who will be working on it, and how this futuristic service will look when it ultimately takes off” [The Verge]. “[T]o round it all out, Uber released a glossily produced video to demonstrate what using its aerial taxi service would look like from the perspective of a working mom who just wants to get home to her kids.” Of course they did…

Mr. Market: “Is the stock market a bubble?” [Calculated Risk]. “[A]s long term readers know, I rarely comment directly on the stock market (although I did post on the market in 2009 since that was a turning point)…. Since I don’t think a recession is imminent, I’d generally expect further gains in the market over the next year. The PE ratio is high (around 25), and that is well above average. However it is typical for the PE ratio to expand during an economic expansion… The bottom line is the U.S. economy is doing well (the global economy is doing well too). There might be some speculation with margin debt, but everyone isn’t talking stocks (like in 1999). So, in general, I don’t think this is a bubble. Of course, as always, we could see a 10% to 20% correction starting at any time. I’ll now go back to avoiding discussing the stock market.”

Five Horsemen: “Our Fab Five remain on the Permanently High Plateau to which they were elevated on Amazon Friday, Oct 27th.” [Hat tip, Jim Haygood].

Five Horsemen Nov 9

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 54 Neutral (previous close: 58, Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 72 (Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed. Last updated Nov 7 at 7:00pm. Election Day.

Health Care

“How Many of the Uninsured Can Purchase a Marketplace Plan for Less Than Their Shared Responsibility Penalty?” [Kaiser Health News]. “Just over half (54%) of uninsured individuals who are eligible to purchase a marketplace plan with or without a subsidy would better off financially if they purchased a bronze plan rather than remaining uninsured. Of the 10.7 million people who are currently uninsured and eligible to purchase marketplace coverage, around 7.7 million people will be subject to the shared responsibility penalty. Most of these people will have access to at least some subsidies (6.3 million) to purchase a Marketplace plan.”


“Researchers studying the [Flint] water crisis recently found a high number of fetal deaths and fewer pregnancies in Flint since April 2014, which is when the city switched its water supply to use water from the polluted Flint River without adding anti-corrosives to treat it” [Rewire]. “‘There have been far too many miscarriages to count,’ local activist Melissa Mays told Rewire. ‘It’s sad because we have no idea what the heavy metals, carcinogenic byproducts, bacteria, and whatever else we have been, and are still being, exposed to has done to our bodies. Will our sons have low sperm counts? How many young girls will not be able to become mothers because their eggs are poisoned? We just don’t know, and the State of Michigan just wants to sweep it all under the rug like it’s all in the past.'”

Class Warfare

“Poor Whites and Slavery in the Antebellum South: An Interview with Historian Keri Leigh Merritt” [History News Network]. “In these Deep South states in 1860, you have about one-third of white people who own slaves or live in families who own slaves. About one-third of white people could classify as middling class status – yeomen who owned land and not slaves, or the up-and-coming middle class of merchants, lawyers, and bankers, and then men who were overseers and hadn’t come into their inheritances yet. And the last third are poor whites….. The economists Samuel Williamson and Louis Cain came out with a paper called “Measuring Slavery.” .. [They] came up with a figure that purchasing a slave would cost something like $130,000 today. That’s a totally different figure than the cliometrician scholars were using in the 1970s to estimate slave prices.” The American Dream…

“Persona Non Grata” [Inside Higher Ed]. “For Duke University students interested in learning about hedge funds and the economic forces that drive them, Economics 381S — Inside Hedge Funds, taught by Linsey Lebowitz Hughes, a lecturing fellow of economics — is probably a good place to start. There’s just one small catch, found six bullet points down on the front page of the course syllabus. ‘Anyone who is on the staff of The Chronicle is not permitted to take this class.'” And here is the Duke Chronicle‘s article about that: “Emma Rasiel, professor of the practice of economics and associate chair in economics, wrote in an email Thursday that the language used in the syllabus was meant to highlight the importance of confidentiality, not to ‘disallow’ Chronicle members.” Rasiel apparently doesn’t understand the plain meaning of English words, since disallowing Chronicle members is exactly what the syllabus does.

“#ThemToo” [Boston Review]. “[S]exual harassment happens to women (and sexual and gender minorities) at work. It is intersectional, a case of economic and gender oppression. But progress is uneven. As women become more equal as women, their rights and the power of the institutions that represent them as workers are progressively being overtaken by the prerogatives of employers and corporations. The result: it is every woman for herself, which means only a few women prevail.” Those with the social capital to attract and endure media attention, primarily?

News of the Wired

“Philadelphia’s Boulevard of Broken Dreams” [The American Conservative]. The Benjamin Franklin Parkway. A sad article, especially since there’s no solution proferred for making it come alive. And I would bet that airdropping in a new museum, the Barnes Foundation, hasn’t done a thing since I was there in the earily 2000s. Any readers from Philly care to comment?

“How to Hire Fake Friends and Family” [The Atlantic]. “[Ishii Yuichi’s] 8-year-old company, Family Romance, provides professional actors to fill any role in the personal lives of clients. With a burgeoning staff of 800 or so actors, ranging from infants to the elderly, the organization prides itself on being able to provide a surrogate for almost any conceivable situation. Yuichi believes that Family Romance helps people cope with unbearable absences or perceived deficiencies in their lives. In an increasingly isolated and entitled society, the CEO predicts the exponential growth of his business and others like it, as à la carte human interaction becomes the new norm.”

Warren Mosler, MMT conference closing remarks:

Takes an hour, so listen to this instead of Morning Edition [snort], and grab a cup of coffee!

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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 (JK):

From Mt. Hood.

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. Jim Haygood

    The spotless mind of a Tech Lord:

    The thought process that went into building [Facebook] … was all about: ‘How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible?

    That means that we need to give you a little dopamine hit every once in a while, because someone liked or commented on a photo or a post or whatever. And that’s going to get you to contribute more content, and that’s going to get you … more likes and comments.

    It’s a social-validation feedback loop … exactly the kind of thing that a hacker like myself would come up with, because you’re exploiting a vulnerability in human psychology.

    The inventors, creators — it’s me [Facebook president Sean Parker], it’s Mark [Zuckerberg], it’s Kevin Systrom on Instagram, it’s all of these people — understood this consciously. And we did it anyway.


    Parker goes on to exult:

    Because I’m a billionaire, I’m going to have access to better health care so … I’m going to be like 160 and I’m going to be part of this class of immortal overlords. [Laughter] Because, you know the expression about compound interest … give us billionaires an extra hundred years and you’ll know what … wealth disparity looks like.

    Aside from his Molotov cocktail of class warfare, Parker’s quip about compound interest — which almost surely refers to his expectation of a hundred more years of fat capital gains on FB — indicates that he has become a true believer in Bubble III.

    1. Jim Haygood

      How Facebook’s sinister PYMK shadow profile steals your data and destroys your privacy, even if you’re not on Facebook:

      Behind the Facebook profile you’ve built for yourself is another one, a shadow profile, built from the inboxes and smartphones of other Facebook users. Contact information you’ve never given the network gets associated with your account, making it easier for Facebook to more completely map your social connections.

      Because shadow-profile connections happen inside Facebook’s algorithmic black box, people can’t see how deep the data-mining of their lives truly is, until an uncanny recommendation pops up.

      It may explain why a non-Facebook user had his ex-wife recommended to his girlfriend. Facebook doesn’t keep profiles for non-users, but it does use their contact information to connect people.

      [Facebook spokesperson Matt] Steinfeld said that while Facebook doesn’t currently “offer a way for people to manage the contact information others have uploaded that might be related to them, this is something I’ve shared with the team.”


      Welcome to East Germany, as it were. Sabotage the data mines!

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Ich bin ein Ost Berliner.

        Und die Wand.

        It’s gonna be hard to get over the wall and escape..

    2. cnchal

      The thought process that went into building [Facebook] … was all about: ‘How do we consume as much of your time and conscious attention as possible?

      Larry Summers has his secular stagnation conundrum answer. it’s Farcebook’s fault.

    3. Oregoncharles

      Compound interest does not apply to capital gains. You know that, Jim.

      On the other hand, it’s very weak when interest approaches zero, so he is planning on reasonably lucrative fixed-income investments. I wonder what those are?

    4. False Solace

      > Because I’m a billionaire, I’m going to have access to better health care so … I’m going to be like 160 and I’m going to be part of this class of immortal overlords. [Laughter]

      If these people truly believed they’d live to 160 they’d do something about climate change and environmental breakdown. Since they don’t, these sorts of trumbrel remarks represent nothing more than brainless gloating and status puffery.

      Sinking your billions into a one-way rocket to Mars, now that’s putting your money where your mouth is. Come on, billionaires. Eliminate yourselves from the gene pool — this is the sort of truly forward thinking we know you’re capable of!

  2. John k

    …Should proceed forthwith… not.
    A call to arms! Kick out the progressives… or he (they) go nuclear! No money!?!
    What about the mortgage? The kids’ private schools? The vacations? The country club?? OMG… the mistress!?!
    This is serious… no more nice guy… The gloves are coming off.

      1. Louis


        Trump’s dirty laundry was out there for the world to see and he still won. Although the circumstances are somewhat different with Roy Moore, I am still not entirely sure it’s game over for him just yet.

        A certain number of people seem to be willing to overlook how horrible a person Trump has always been—not to mention what a failure his presidency has been, at least so far—and continue to support him because he has the “right” enemies. I suspect something similar is true for Roy Moore as well: i.e. to his supporters, it doesn’t matter how horrible a person he is as long as he angers the “right” people.

        1. Procopius

          The consensus (among his voters) seems to be, “Well, it was 40 years ago.” “Well, he didn’t do anything but steal a kiss.” and “I don’t believe those lying sluts anyway.”

      2. Kurtismayfield

        Trump’s dirty laundry did not include coming on to teenagers when he was a DA. It’s game over for Moore.

  3. Jim A.

    On slave prices. Just to point out here that slave prices varied considerably with cotton prices. Kind of like Oil leases and oil prices….

  4. Enquiring Mind

    Concurrent with the History Network News and The Atlantic articles, there are presentations no doubt undergoing editing for people-renting and sales, all on the installment plan. Sign away rights to your vital organs, agree to a small weekly plasma donation to defray expenses and think of it all as a reverse life mortgage. Jonathan Swift and others were ahead of their times. ;p

  5. dcblogger

    Brookings should know better. the mobolization on the ground against Trump is like nothing in my life time, including the anti-VietNam war movement. Local Democratic committees have filled up. Usually there are plenty of vacancies, no more. And it is not just in the Greater Washington DC area. It is true all across the country. It is not just local chapters of Indivisble, it is the amazing grouth of Democratic Socialists of America, Our Revolution, Justice Democrats, and no doubts thousands of local groups unknown outside their cities. This is a kind of mobolization that money can’t but. The mid-terms will be another Democratic Tsunami with possibly some emergent party winners. The thing to watch is the primaries of 2018. Anyone who accepts an endorsement from Bernie and/or Our Revolution, Brand New Congress, or Justice Democrats will be cut off by the DCCC and DNC. But Lee Carter showed that you do not need their support. Brookings is oblivious as to what is actually happening.

    1. Procopius

      I don’t have access to their books, but it looks to me like Tom Perez has not been able to motivate the big donors, so the little money the DNC is bringing in has to be reserved to pay the consultants, and none of it is going to be sent to Alabama. And, of course, none of the people who “work” at DNC headquarters are going to go to Alabama to help Doug Jones because, leave the beltway?

  6. audrey jr

    Mr Cloobeck: Auf Wiedersehen, bonne nuit, buh bye and don’t let the door hit you in the a$$ on the way out.

  7. cm

    “The bottom line is the U.S. economy is doing well” — yeah, that’s why the Fed has raised interest rates to a normal 6-8% and citizens (especially retirees) are seeing actual interest on their savings accounts.

    1. Procopius

      I know this is a popular argument with the rich, but how many retirees actually have investment income that is affected by the Fed Funds Rate? 10?

  8. Summer


    “Shifting to LA, Holden said the decision to expand Uber’s flying taxi project to the city of perpetual gridlock was a natural one. “It’s one of the most congested cities in the world today,” he said. “They essentially have no mass transit infrastructure. This type of approach allows us to very inexpensively deploy a mass transit method that actually doesn’t make traffic worse.”

    He just said LA has NO mass traffic infrastructure…

    Here’s is a quick on the fly look at that situation:

    “Electric, autonomous aircraft buzzing from rooftop to rooftop. Trips costing as little as $20…”
    In a city of millions in a Taxi service and this reduces congestion? Or just transfers congestion to another location?

    “And if that sounds familiar, it’s because it’s long been the company’s mission to bring about the end of personal car ownership…”
    Wow, and that would mean all the loans that go with it….Trillions…surely no one is going to miss that.

    1. jo6pac

      That’s great news and with all those amazon and food delivery drones flying around everywhere what could wrong.

      1. Summer

        What could go wrong…
        That is one point the writer touched upon:
        “As you can see, it’s all very utopian. A passenger books the flight through her Uber app, and then ascends to a “skyport” on the roof of a nearby building. She badges through a turnstile using her smartphone — security is non-existent in this futuristic vision — and is briefly weighed to make sure she’s not too portly for Uber’s weight-conscious flying taxis.”

        Security is non-existent. I guess security regulations are for 20th Century aircraft?
        “We have air traffic control, but we’re not an airline because…”

  9. Jim Haygood

    Venezuela may be formally declared in default on its debt tomorrow:

    The International Swaps & Derivatives Association has agreed to review on Friday a request to decide if a default event occurred due to delayed principal payments on the PDVSA bond due Nov. 2.

    Venezuela’s benchmark bonds due 2027 have tumbled to record lows this week, trading at 24 cents on the dollar, from 54 cents in January, after Maduro announced plans to renegotiate the country’s debt load.

    The five-year implied probability of a PDVSA default climbed to 99.99 percent on Wednesday from 93.25 percent a year ago, according to credit-default swaps data compiled by Bloomberg.


    Markets are already treating Venezuela as having de facto defaulted. At 24 cents on the dollar, Venezuela’s bonds are pricing in a lower recovery than the 30 cents on the dollar that Argentina’s creditors received.

    Meanwhile Venezuela’s currency has dropped to 49,830 per dollar according to dolartoday.com, down from 3,164 per dollar as 2017 began. This means the Bolivar Fuerte [sic] has shed 93.6% of its value in just over 10 months.

    1. Lee

      How long after unburdening itself from debt by means of default will it take before new or perhaps the same creditors line up with new loan offers? I know this happens in the lives of individuals and companies under our system but I’m not sure how it works at the nation-state level. Might China or Russia step up if the putative free world doesn’t?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        For an individual, if you are deemed capable of sustaining your serfdom, they will lend to you, provided they have sufficient guarantee to claw back the money, under normal circumstances. If they just want to generate derivatives, maybe they will be more generous.

        So, for example, a 90 year old, with nothing under his/her name, would have a harder time to get a loan. Who knows if he/she will be around tomorrow to pay off.

        But for a country, there are always taxpayers, and new taxpayers born every minute. And the country should be able to borrow some money, depending on what is offered in return

        That is why, I believe, countries hate to lose taxpayers.

      2. Jim Haygood

        In June, Argentina sold $2.75 billion of 100-year US-dollar bonds just over a year after emerging from its latest default. That was after receiving $9.75 billion in offers, leaving many disappointed customers lined up outside the door crying “Please take my money!

        Argentina has never gone a hundred years without defaulting. So we can assume the buyers plan to unload their bonds on some greater fool — not you, not me, but that guy behind the tree.

    2. Grebo

      We regularly threaten to default, delay payment, demand restructuring etc. where I live. What I hope and assume is happening is that the government then quietly buys up the debt on the open market at a huge discount. But I may be giving them too much credit…

  10. Kokuanani

    Re “Opioid deaths correlate to Trump votes” and the lack of any Dem response – perhaps the Dems are operating under a grim calculus: that opioid deaths will wipe out all those Repub voters.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Those Rep voters are first declared to be evil.

      Then, it’s easier to accept their deaths

      “They hate women. They love gunz. They are homophobic. They are against immigration.”

  11. Lee

    The economists Samuel Williamson and Louis Cain came out with a paper called “Measuring Slavery.” .. [They] came up with a figure that purchasing a slave would cost something like $130,000 today. That’s a totally different figure than the cliometrician scholars were using in the 1970s to estimate slave prices.” The American Dream…

    Tangentially: I attended a lecture some years ago at UC Berkeley where the expert guest speaker, whose name I can’t recall, stated that modern technology and labor-saving devices gave the average middle class American the work equivalent to 50 slaves. Is this true? How were the calculations made? What does it mean? Don’t know for sure.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If you picture a king from 3,000 years ago, he would need 30 slaves to lift and move his transport carriage that we get by with a car, and another 10 to provide nightly entertainment what we have from TV, etc.

  12. Jim Haygood

    With the price of West Texas crude having surged over the past week, the RuSI (Russia-Saudi-Iran) index regained a slight lead over SPY, an ETF which tracks the S&P 500 index. Chart:


    Remarkably the turmoil of internal arrests and war rumors emanating from Saudi Arabia had no impact on the RSA ETF, which edged up slightly since last week. RSX, the Russia ETF, gained nearly two percent, while Saudi rival Iran’s TEDPIX index was off marginally in US dollar terms.

    RuSI is comprised of a 50% weighting in Russia’s Micex index, 30% in Saudi Arabia’s TASI index and 20% in Iran’s TEDPIX total return index.

  13. Propertius

    Re: “Poor Whites and Slavery in the Antebellum South: An Interview with Historian Keri Leigh Merritt”

    Frederick Douglass said it first.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Depending on inflation and the internal rate of return, today’s serfs, selling years of their lives (but responsible for health care, lodging, food, transport, etc), instead of the entire life span, are still selling their lives, only partially, and can be, more or less (depending on factors mentioned at the beginning here), ‘economically competitive,’ with those in the antebellum South, costing their present day owners or employers (partially owning their lives, thus owners as well) not the one-time cash payments upon acquisitions, but monthly/weekly/daily or hourly demands on their cash flows, at zero percent interest.

  14. RudyM

    Any readers from Philly care to comment?

    I have not thought about the Parkway with any seriousness. While I’m sure it doesn’t live up to the ideals behind it, it is not unworkable as a way to get around on foot as a pedestrian. I had summer jobs at the Philadelphia Museum of Art which I got to by walking up the Parkway. Later, I worked in the area, and would, for instance, sometimes eat lunch with friends/acquaintances, sitting out near the Rodin Museum. And it’s not as though we were the only ones to ever to do this. In the summer, children play in the Swann Memorial Fountain (had to look up its actual name). And institutions along the Parkway certainly get plenty of traffic, even if most of it doesn’t spend much time on the Parkway. I’m not sure anything is really gained by having the Parkway, which clashes with the Quaker grid layout of the adjacent area; but it doesn’t prevent the Parkway from being used in various ways as an open-ended public space.

    (I am a former Philadelphia resident.)

  15. clinical wasteman

    “succeed as an adult” makes “grating” sound like the music of the spheres.
    The anecdotal Trump voter’s son may very well know just what he is doing under the circumstances. And if so, he’s probably not a (Trump) voter either.

    1. Kurtismayfield

      What that Democratic voter said is just more prosperity gospel. Obviously the son was an addict because he deserved it. If only he was “successful” like me me me.

  16. clinical wasteman

    doubt this will end up attached to previous comment given normal (at least from here) & wholly understandable time lag, but in case it wasn’t clear, by “knows what he is doing” I definitely don’t mean additional “guilt”: rather, a sort of rationality within a given set of constraints. Anyone who thinks a rational drug addict is a mythical creature should carefully consider not just his/her own presumably straight-edge and unregretted life, but also all the other misery/abstinence combinations out there.

  17. Pelham

    Re Uber’s flying car, or any flying car: I believe most visions of flying cars (certainly the Jetsons’) involved some type of technology that overcame the force of gravity, allowing the car to float safely even when the propulsive power wasn’t in operation.

    The current batch of flying cars, however, merely flail frantically at the air to gain buoyancy, using propeller technology that’s more than a century old. Of course, this depends vitally on sustained and absolutely reliable propulsive power. As you guys say, what could go wrong?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Is there enough energy for all of us to fly our cars?

      Why don’t we just try to unlock the secrets of Joseph of Cupertino? His technology may be 400 years old, but let’s not hold that against it.

      1. blennylips

        MLTPB, thank you for throwing that serendipity into our path! Love this place.
        I’ll leave you with Gerbert of Aurillac.

    2. The Rev Kev

      Car crashes are pretty bad at the best of times but at least their carnage is usually restricted to the roads and highways. Can you imagine a car crash in the sky between two flying cars? You could have flaming wreckage and engine blocks falling from the sky over homes, parks and god knows where. And don’t try to tell me that software will prevent collisions as most software is rubbish. Living under an aerial corridor for flying cars would have all the safety aspects of a firing range for the blind.

  18. Bob Jones

    On Cloobeck’s “We need a new brand.’”
    If the Sanders wing of the Democratic party remains insurgent for much longer, look forward to a lavishly funded centrist third party offering in line with France’s En Marche. (I fully expect it to be called the America party or the Freedom party) It will be functionally identical to the Third-Way/Clinton wing of the Democratic party, and John McCain and a bunch of other corporate R’s will join up after seeing the light on certain social issues and deliver the mainstream right – together they’ll carry 60% of the electorate and leave the populist wings of both legacy parties in the dust.

    In other news, thanks to the Cloob I’ve learned that I need to use the word Billionaire at every opportunity. Billionaire!

    1. Altandmain

      That won’t get very far in the long run. Macron is quickly losing popularity in France. Any such party would struggle with winning more than a couple of terms once it becomes obvious that they are not going to be any different than the same old neoliberalism responsible for this current situation.

  19. Synoia

    “How 15 Democrats helped tank the 2013 assault weapons ban” [ABC]. Just a reminder that a Democrat “wave” isn’t necessarily good in itself; it can be squandered, as the Democrats squandered 2006.

    What makes you believe the Democrats wanted to “win”? I’m sure the current incumbents wanted to keep their sinecures, but actually having the responsibility and blame for governing?

    For example:

    Obama’s personal success appears conditioned on having the position, but not having to achieve much. Having a republican house enabled blame deflection.

    aka: Fighting for you….

    Under this scenario Howard Dean’s 50 state strat4egy was a nightmare. The Democrats might enter the blame shadow…or actually do something populist, which would displease their donor class.

  20. Robert Hahl

    Warren Mosler’s explanations of economic ideas are as succinct as ever, e.g., A government can provision itself by coercing people to work, by establishing a tax in something people don’t have, i.e., dollars.

    What I don’t believe about MMT is the contention that lowering taxes on workers would create a permanent increase in worker’s real income. I don’t see what would prevent employers from lowering wages to about the level that we see now.

    I once asked a farm owner what would happen if he paid the pickers above the going rate. He said that the supervisors in the fields would appropriate the money. It’s not only about the quantity of money in circulation, it’s about relative power.

    1. jsn

      There is no single solution to public welfare. Instead, what is required is the coordinated use of all the tools of public policy toward public aims.

      Our current political economy is optimized for the powerful, whatever form their power takes, to achieve maximum yield. So any incremental change is easily bent to their benefit, as you suggest.

      The NewDeal was a coordinated policy set optimized to prevent exactly this. It’s success led to the Powell Memo which theorized our current system which, as a mirror reaction against the New Deal, is almost fully implemented.

      1. Procopius

        The thing that’s been bothering me, the Democratic Leadership Council/Blue Dogs/New Democrats/Third Way that currently has control of the Democratic Party, adopted as one of its first principles the idea that the New Deal was “outmoded,” and needed to be replaced. Read Al From’s book. If you liked the New Deal, the Centrist Democrats are not your friends.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      I listened to Warren Mosler’s talk twice trying to make sure I wasn’t missing something.

      Rather than “succinct” I would characterize Mosler’s explanations as glib. His discussion about lowering taxes could too easily be pieced together to argue for a tax system where only those below a certain income are taxed –>

      The purpose of taxes is to force unemployment to compel people to work in the public sector but if taxes are too high too many people are unemployed.
      Unspent income creates unemployment.
      Taxes on the wealthy don’t change their spending habits … but there are other reasons to tax the wealthy.

      I’m glad Mosler applies that reasoning to argue for reducing SSI taxes as a way to boost aggregate demand but I can think of other unhappy uses for Mosler’s story.

      At one point Mosler argues for getting rid of SSI taxes altogether. I’m OK with that — except that it completely ignores and fails to address the original reason we have SSI taxes. Their original intent was to bind SSI with a sense of entitlement — an equity interest — making SSI more difficult to take away. The SSI taxes leave a backdoor for regressive tax increases but I am wary of plans to get rid of SSI taxes that don’t provide some other means for establishing a right to receive SSI support — especially these days.

      Formulas like “unemployment is a monetary policy” — “investment creates savings” — “loans create deposits” make little sense to me outside the special context of Mosler’s presentation. The concept of a “money famine” introduced by a lead in speaker is too cute. The notion that — as a monopolist the govt. sets the price of money and thereby directly controls inflation — is too clever by half. I think old school Keynesian theory makes a much simpler and more comprehensive explanation of fiscal policy than Mosler’s MMT.

      What about —
      Businesses don’t want to hire people who are unemployed — they want to hire people who are already working — they want to avoid people who fight or don’t show up on time or don’t bath regularly.
      The current hiring and firing practices seem more nuanced than an arbitrary matter of employer inclinations.

      I don’t oppose MMT theories but I do object to Mosler’s portrayal of MMT — at least MMT as it came across to me from his lecture.

      1. jsn

        You should spend more time on the subject. Mosler was a loan officer at a bank, he saw first hand that when his bank made a loan all that happened was an accountant sat down and wrote a liability on the customers side of the ledger and an equal asset on the banks side: the loan created the deposit. Like this, the other terms you take issue with are the language of double entry bookkeeping and are true in an accounting sense by definition.

        MMT is a description of how fiat money systems actually work. You are quite correct that very bad policies can be executed with a fiat system, but that just makes the policy arguments and understanding of the real properties of the system all the more important.

        Hjalmar Schact built the Nazi war machine with a fiat system yanked from the ashes of the Weimar inflation, Marriner Eccles used a US fiat system to defeat it.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          I guess I’m unconvinced that money based on debt, no matter how that debt is created and allocated, is the answer. I think money should be an externality to economic activity, simply a means of storing labor in order to transport it across space and time but not intermingled with the economic activity itself. Why should this unit itself, by its very creation, carry an interest rate? Loaning some of it to someone else of course should, the lender has a time preference and is taking a risk. But when money itself carries an interest rate it seems more like an ever-accelerating treadmill or a Doomsday machine…whereas the important issue is that it maintains its purchasing power, so that advances in productivity become advances in the standard of living. Instead we have people working harder and harder to maintain the purchasing they need (with inflationary debt-based money) rather than working less and less because they are more productive. Money that takes no labor to produce of course cannot effectively store labor over time, it always gets created in excess of the labor it is meant to represent.

          1. Grebo

            Private bank money carries interest, government fiat does not.
            Why should private fiat carry interest? It is created with the stroke of a pen when it is ‘lent’.
            Money is the score. How much wealth you are owed. If the money is itself wealth then you are owed nothing, it’s all in your pocket already.
            What proportion of the community’s wealth should be allocated to being money? How much of our effort and resources should be put into creating that money? Could we perhaps find a better use for those resources?
            Commodity money is at least as deflationary as fiat money is inflationary, except when someone stumbles on the motherlode. Then the sky is the limit.
            Fiat can at least be managed. A little inflation is good for growth, it encourages spending and investment. Wages can be indexed. If you want to save, invest in some wealth, or a company, or index linked government bonds. Don’t just stick your Benjamins under the mattress then complain about inflation.

            1. jsn

              Commodity money is wool pulled over the eyes to try to hide the underlying power relationships that make “money”: to the extent one buys the BS that gold is money, the glitter has distracted one from the social power at the real root of monetary exchange.

              Fiat lifts that veil and replaces it with issues of legitimacy and power. Our fiat system has been so sorely abused to make the rich richer and the poor poorer for long enough that the legitimacy issue is increasingly foregrounded.

              Again, though, this is about power relations. There could be times when deflation would be a humane policy, likewise with inflation, the trick is who gets to decide which to implement because with money, for every winner there is also a loser except where careful public policy prevents it and it is only at the center of the system, at the currency issuing sovereign level, that this beneficial goal can be managed.

          2. jsn

            A clear understanding of MMT will show you exactly what tools you could use to implement the system you describe.

            There is no need for individuals to accrue debt to use a State sponsored fiat money: cash money in circulation is an example, it is an asset for whoever holds it and a liability for the State and thus for the society that is either run by or runs that State. So power relationships remain at the center even in a debt free, cash society.

            Politics and economy cannot be separated and the more complexity you like in your economy, the more complexity you’ll have to risk in your politics.

        2. Oregoncharles

          Not being an accountant, as my father was, I don’t see the rules and definitions of bookkeeping as proving anything.
          I suspect that I’m typical in this respect. It’s a completely unconvincing argument, because it isn’t in real terms.

          Maybe money is nothing but bookkeeping, but most of us would have to be convinced of that, too.

          1. jsn

            Money exists as a social agreement and nothing else. No other species finds any value in it whether gold or fiat (microbes I suppose might eat the paper incarnation of fiat). It is a social construct and understanding how it actually works is essential to identifying all the hidden power relationships in order to prevent oneself from being manipulated by them.

            There are two great symbolic systems that have organized humanity: language through which we tell ourselves social myths that align group identities and coordinate conscious collective action, and math, through which those “within the temple” manipulate us with the counterintuitive properties of the social construct they’ve taken control of: money.

            In “Thinking, Fast and Slow” Daniel Kahneman defines two types of human thinking: heuristic thinking which is fast and from which we derive great and nearly instantaneous, accurate, social and practical information about those things we encountered over millions of years of evolution, and slow, rational, computational thinking which requires sustained attention to man made symbolic systems to understand. Money is a human product of the second category that opportunists have encouraged us all to think of as something from the first, and so long as we approach it the way they frame it, they control us because of our ignorance of all the convolutions and manipulations of the logical system of power applied at a distance which we call money.

          2. Grebo

            We use maths and logic because, the philosophers tell us, they are the only domains in which proof is available.
            What kind of argument do you find convincing?

        3. Jeremy Grimm

          “MMT is a description of how fiat money systems actually work.” I’m fine with that — but the arguments Mosler made to describe how MMT works, particularly how it works in relation to fiscal policies, is glib in my opinion and obscures more than it clarifies. Put another wey — Mosler is preaching to the choir. My limited background in economics is based in old style Keynesian Macroeconomic theory. Perhaps my background unduly influences what is easy for me to grasp — but Mosler’s MMT presentation makes too many unstated underlying assumptions and skips over too many steps in moving from one part of the argument to another.

          In all fairness, Mosler was indeed preaching to the choir. I was indoctrinated in an older church and what I heard of Mosler’s teachings would make poor tools for helping his believers convince new converts. However I do hear the truth in the teachings of MMT as much as I understand. When elaborated differently by other speakers — I heard and understood them as extensions to old style Keynesianism.

          I also agree with a comment I saw the other day [Lambert in Watercooler?] suggesting “fiat” is a bit wonky and needs replacement with a more descriptive and suggestive term.

    3. Grebo

      I don’t see what would prevent employers from lowering wages to about the level that we see now.

      A Job Guarantee would set an effective minimum wage that anyone could get so employers could not undercut it and keep their employees. However, landlords would raise their rents commensurately, which is an issue I have not seen addressed by MMT.

      1. Inode_buddha

        The outfit I work for uses relative power. If you’re not related to the owners then you will have zero future.

  21. Eureka Springs

    Good call on Indivisibility Lambert. Their web site is a classic tell.

    We’re not the leaders of this movement: you are.

    Our mission is to fuel a progressive grassroots network of local groups to resist the Trump Agenda. In every congressional district in the country, people like you are starting local groups and leading local actions. Are you standing indivisible with us? Then sign up for weekly actions and updates.


    An entity about nothing.. at least no ‘concrete’ issues other than resisting Trump for the sake of it, best I can tell. No mention of who founded, runs or funds indivisible that I can find. And so many nonsensical buzz words.. all too familiar from corporate Dem types. And of course no place for discussion/commentary. Finally on an drop down menu called “Thread” has an article on being a jurist… even the pdf they provide nullification is never mentioned. How’s that for encouraging action/power?

    Of course they want your info and info about any organization. Kettling much? Mining much? Expect any organization the gets to be too effective to be handled like BLM was by the usual suspect indivisible Dems.

    Odds are it means the exact opposite. Divide and conquer.

  22. edmondo

    “‘We’re talking with the administration and Congress about some mitigation efforts if that were to occur; about how we could protect our producers with that [farm] safety net based on prices that may respond negatively to any kind of NAFTA withdrawal,’ Perdue told reporters” [Politico]. “The statement from Perdue is significant as it is one of the first public, Cabinet-level admissions that preparations are underway to respond to a potential NAFTA withdrawal — a move President Donald Trump has repeatedly threatened….

    Think a Democrat will win Ohio, Wisconsin or Michigan (maybe even PA) in 2020 if Trump dumps NAFTA? I don’t.

    1. Left in Wisconsin

      We’ll see if he really dumps it. All the big old-line manufacturers now have integrated supply networks heavily reliant on low-wage Mexican operations. I just can’t see Trump making them all close up shop. True, he could end NAFTA and they could all stay, just paying slightly higher tariffs. But then none of the jobs come back, so it doesn’t make that much difference on this end.

      After Carrier, I thought if Trump made one announcement of jobs coming back every six months or so, he would be a shoo in in 2020. But there has been nothing since (except Foxconn I guess) and, as others have pointed out, Carrier is less and less a Trump victory.

      The public response to WI’s $3 billion Foxconn deal has been considerably less supportive than I might have thought. Walker’s re-election run in 2018 will be a real tell. I’m quite sure he, and Trump, were convinced it made his re-election a done deal, but we’ll see.

  23. drumlin woodchuckles

    Is anyone here still keeping track of the issue about whether hydroponic agriculture can be Certified Organic? Because if anyone here is still keeping track of that issue, I saw an interesting story about that just recently. It was at a site called Inside Climate News.

    The story reported that the National Organic Standards Board has voted to say that hydroponic agriculture can become Certified Organic. I assume that would require the hydroponic grower to do all the right things.
    I don’t know if the NOSB has the legal last word or if they can only forward their vote to the USDA who then makes the final Legal Decree.

    Here is the link.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Here is a company deciding that “vertical farming” can be made successful. Now that NOSB has voted to decree that hydroponic growing can be made Certified Organic in principle, this prospective “vertical farming” company should be able to mainstream the “hydroponic organic” concept all over America, one city at a time.

      “Soil grown” organic growers may find themselves challenged to defend their existence whether they expect that challenge or not. Here is the link.

  24. Odysseus

    “They’re seeking to do that by essentially carving the U.S. out of the agreement…, by suspending clauses that the U.S. had backed in negotiations under former President Barack Obama.”

    Are there any specifics on what clauses get cut? How badly does Chapter 18 get cut?

    1. Procopius

      Is Chapter 18 the ISDS chapter? I thought it was Chapter 8, but it’s been a long time since I skimmed the text and saw just how bad ISDS is. I can’t see any real justification for ISDS except to give large multinationals more power over sovereign nations. I certainly can’t see any advantage in it for Vietnam or Malaysia, not even Japan. If they cut that and the medical information restrictions, and the patent extensions it wouldn’t be such a bad deal. Not a big deal, but not so bad.

  25. Kim Kaufman

    ““Philadelphia’s Boulevard of Broken Dreams” [The American Conservative]. The Benjamin Franklin Parkway. A sad article, especially since there’s no solution proferred for making it come alive. And I would bet that airdropping in a new museum, the Barnes Foundation, hasn’t done a thing since I was there in the earily 2000s. Any readers from Philly care to comment?”

    I’m not from Philly but took an interest in the Barnes Foundation, its $25b collection of first class impressionist art, and the battle to destroy it by the wealthy few in Philly. See documentary “The Art of the Steal (2009)


  26. ChrisPacific

    ‘I can tell you if we go far left, I’m out,’ Cloobeck said on MSNBC. ‘I’m out. We [who?] need middle ground. It drives me nuts,” Cloobeck added. ‘So much so it would make me quit the party. And I’ve made it very clear: I’ll cut your money off. And others will do the same. We’ve had enough. We need a new brand.’

    Did MSNBC by any chance follow this up with a clip of Clinton swearing up and down during the 2016 campaign that taking money from large donors had not the smallest influence on her policy positions? It sure seems like Cloobeck has a different idea of how the relationship works.

    1. JBird

      If I understand this, “far left” is anything left of the University of Chicago. The orthodox Democratic Party today is to the economic right of the 1960s Republicans.

      So just where is this middle ground he’s yearning for?

  27. AstoriaBlowin

    The problem with the Ben Franklin parkway is that it’s a parkway, useless asphalt destroying the urban fabric of the city, the city of Philadelphia should sell off the center four lanes and median for mixed use residential development, that would be a vast improvement in land use and provide housing and jobs to boot.

    1. John k

      The task is to find ways to occupy her time that does not lead to disasters for others.
      What’s the worst thing that can happen here? That no teen ever buys vogue?
      I came, I saw, it died.
      Works for me.

  28. Oregoncharles

    The red in the Plantidote must be huckleberries (wild blueberries).

    Bright fall color is scarce among our native plants. Maples turn bright yellow, vine maples (similar to Japanese maples) turn red when they get full sun. Then there are sumacs and the huckleberries, which pop up in burns and clearings. Tasty berries, too.

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