2:00PM Water Cooler 1/29/2018

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“Bombardier’s C Series Jet Regains US Access in Win over Boeing” [Industry Week]. “Bombardier Inc.’s marquee jet, slapped with crushing U.S. tariffs last year, got a new lease on life when an American trade panel nixed the duties. The Friday ruling, a surprise defeat for Boeing Co., enables Bombardier to jump-start sales campaigns in the world’s largest aircraft market…. After the International Trade Commission’s decision, Bombardier reaffirmed its commitment to build in Mobile once the Airbus [partnership] deal is completed. The closing is expected to occur later this year.”

“Trump capped off his two days at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Friday with a TelePrompTer-driven speech at the forum’s closing session that sought to present the U.S. as willing to engage with all countries on trade — as long as interested partners agreed to play by his administration’s rules” [Politico]. “‘In other words, our way or the highway — politely phrased, of course,’ said Bill Reinsch, a trade policy specialist with the Center for Strategic and International Studies.”

“In His First SOTU, How Will Trump Bridge the Chasm Between the Populist Trade Pledges That Powered Him Into Office and His Actions as President?” [Eyes on Trade]. “Now with record-low approval ratings and a tax bill that could not more thoroughly shatter the pro-working-American populist image he rode into the While House, not surprisingly, Trump is expected to spotlight trade in his first State of the Union speech. But what will he say? There is a wide gap between Trump’s trade-transformation and end-tooutsourcing campaign promises and actual deliverables. Perhaps the speech will employ Trump’s familiar change-the-topic technique – either with dramatic real news about imminent China trade actions or with controversial rhetoric.”


“Canada, Mexico Reject Proposal to Rework Nafta Corporate Arbitration System” [FOX]. “Mexican and Canadian officials have said that they’d prefer to remove the investor-state provision from the three-way Nafta agreement and form their own bilateral investor pact rather than remain a part of a system under Nafta where different countries have different rights, according to people familiar with the talks.”

“Lighthizer Sees `Some Progress’ as Latest Nafta Round Wraps Up” [WaPo]. “While Nafta looks to have avoided collapse for now, talks could run for months or into next year as the three hash out differences…. The most contentious U.S. demands are on the automotive industry, dairy and agriculture, dispute panels, government procurement and a five-year sunset clause that would kill Nafta unless the three agree to extend it…. The next round of Nafta talks is scheduled for Mexico City in February. Stakeholders expect subsequent rounds to take place the U.S. and Canada, with discussions potentially running into 2019.”



“To summarize: Clinton ignored Strider’s alleged sexual harassment, moved his victim to a different a job on her campaign, then kept Strider in her orbit for years. It’s a damning story for an ostensibly feminist public figure—and it isn’t even the first time Clinton allegedly brushed aside such warnings. As the Times notes, Lena Dunham recently claimed that she informed Clinton during the 2016 race that Harvey Weinstein, a major Democratic fundraiser, was a ‘rapist'” [The New Republic]. When you’ve lost Lena Dunham… (Buzzfeed has the creepy details.)

The 420 on Joe Kennedy the Third Rater:


“All Signs Point to Big Democratic Wins in 2018” [Bloomberg]. “Even if only one chamber flips to the Democrats, Trump’s ability to impose his agenda would be thwarted, and his administration almost certainly would find itself pinned down by investigations and subpoenas from congressional committees.” What’s not to like? And note: “Democrats improved their showing in well-educated, historically Republican areas in the 2016 and 2017 elections, so some hard-fought races in the fall will be in the suburbs. Among the House districts that may be in play are those of Representatives Rodney Frelinghuysen [who just announced he is not seeking re-election] and Leonard Lance in New Jersey, John Culberson in the Houston area, Barbara Comstock in the Virginia suburbs near Washington, and Peter Roskam in the Chicago area.” Suburban Republicans are the Democrat Establishment’s story, and they’re sticking to it.

“Koch network: 2018 is going to be tough” [Axios]. “The Koch network will engage early in what it sees as difficult elections for the GOP in 2018; the plan is to start with advertising, then ramp up their grassroots efforts the second half of the year. Koch had earlier announced plans to spend up to $400 million, its largest investment in midterms ever.”

“Analysis: It’s the ‘economy, stupid’. And right now, the Trump economy is blasting off” [ABC News]. “In conversations with business and political leaders gathered at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, there is almost zero mention of the controversies which consume coverage of Trump in America. Instead, people talk about the real possibility now that growth in the U.S. economy could hit 4 percent this year — a positively Clintonian benchmark. The impact worldwide would be tremendous.”

Pennsylvania: “Republicans Aim to Stop a Democratic Wave Right Here” [Bloomberg]. “The Democratic candidate, 33-year-old Conor Lamb, a former federal prosecutor and Marine Corps veteran with family roots in the area, is youthful and polished on the stump. The Republican, state Representative Rick Saccone, a 59-year-old ex-Air Force officer with a doctorate in international affairs, counters with legislative experience and proven success with voters…. Helped by his family’s political roots, Lamb is out-fundraising his opponent” (while simultaneously running as an outsider, a neat trick). Lamb does not support #MedicareForAll.

“Democratic group will spend $5 million to elect secretaries of state, the latest front in ‘voting wars'” [WaPo]. Idea: Instead of relying on one-shot grants from squillionaires, Democrats make voter registration a core party function.


Doug Jones really pulling his weight:

Government Shutdown

“Step back and look at the broader context: Why was there an endgame in January 2018 that led to the brief shutdown? It is true that the status of nearly 700,000 recipients of DACA, or Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, needed to be resolved ahead of a deadline of March 5. But the fundamental answer is that the Republicans in charge of all three governing entities could not manage to enact into law a single one of the dozen spending bills that make up the discretionary part of the government for a fiscal year that had begun three-and-a-half months earlier, on October 1” [Norrman Ornstein, The Atlantic]. “[There were] four continuing resolutions for funding most of what government does, still providing no clear guidance for the remaining seven-and-a-half months of the fiscal year. Put shutdown politics and DACA aside for a moment; that is simply pathetic.”

New Cold War

Sensible questions:

SOTU Pre-Game Analysis

“The White House said Sunday that the president would point to a robust economy and low unemployment during his first year and the benefits of a tax overhaul during Tuesday’s address to Congress and the nation. Aides have said Trump, who stayed at the White House over the weekend as he prepared, is expected to set aside his more combative tone for one of compromise and bipartisanship” [AP].

“State of the Union: 6 things to watch at Trump’s speech, including the elephant in the room” [Susan Page, USA Today]. “Trump’s dark, defiant Inaugural address last January left even the former presidents on the dais looking stunned. “This American carnage stops right here and stops right now,” he declared. Trump did nothing to acknowledge Hillary Clinton, the election rival seated behind him who had won the popular vote. He did little to reach out to voters who hadn’t supported him. A different Trump showed up when he addressed a Joint Session of Congress a month later. He was sunnier and more conciliatory — more ‘presidential,’ some pundits opined. He opened his speech by acknowledging Black History Month. He condemned recent attacks on Jewish community centers and cemeteries. ‘I am here tonight to deliver a message of unity and strength,’ he said, ‘and it is a message delivered from my heart.'” Page is always interesting to read, because she’s one of the very few journalists, on either side, who didn’t lose her mind.

That Joint Session: “Trump mostly stuck to the traditional script last February when he addressed a joint session of Congress for the first time. The president’s sober tone and emotional tribute to the wife of a slain Navy SEAL earned him plaudits across the political spectrum” [The Hill]. “‘He became president of the United States in that moment, period,’ liberal commentator Van Jones said on CNN after the speech. Trump “became President” several times, in the collective wisdom of the press; as for example, when he bombed Syria, because everybody loves it when a Preznit bombs something.

Personally, I think it would be extremely cool if Trump tweeted from the dais:

Realignment and Legitimacy

“An Article of Impeachment Against Donald J. Trump” [David Leonhardt, New Yprk Times].

“Poll: Majority have favorable view of George W. Bush” [The Hill]. Who should have been impeached over warrantless surveillance. And here we are!

Joy Reid on Reagan:

Who will the liberal Democrats rehabilitate next? Nixon?

That word “norms”: “The discourse of norm erosion isn’t really about Trump. Nor is it about authoritarianism. What it’s really about is ‘extremism,’ that old stalking horse of Cold War liberalism. And while that discourse of norm erosion won’t do much to limit Trump and the GOP, its real contribution will be to mark the outer limits of left politics, just at a moment when we’re seeing the rise of a left that seems willing to push those limits. That was my thought” [Corey Robin]. “Democracy, we might even say, is a permanent project of norm erosion, forever shattering the norms of hierarchy and domination and the political forms that aid and abet them.” An important article, well worth a read.

Stats Watch

Personal Income and Outlays, December 2017: “Personal income rose 0.4 percent in December with wages and salaries up a solid 0.5 percent” [Econoday]. “The wages and salaries reading is a positive for the outlook as is the upward revision to November consumer spending. But the low reading for the savings rate is a concern and suggests that consumers dipped into their bank accounts to fund spending.” Or went into debt. And but: “Pretty much in line with expectations, but last month’s spending increase means what I think was an unsustainably low savings rate is now even lower” [Mosler Economics]. “At 3.8% consumer spending is again, to me, unsustainably high given the personal income numbers, and therefore subject to either a large revision or a reversal in coming quarters. Likewise residential investment, the way I see it, is at odds with the monthly housing reports, and likewise subject to revision or reversal.” And but: “The savings rate declned and is at 21st century lows. Consumer spending growth was lower than income growth year-over-year” [Econintersect]. “The backward revisions this month were mixed.”

Dallas Fed Manufacturing Survey, January 2018: “Business remains very brisk for the Dallas Fed’s manufacturing sample” [Econoday]. “This report falls in line with the host of other regional manufacturing reports all of which are showing strength which, however, does contrast with the manufacturing component of the industrial production report which has been flat. Still, last week’s durable goods data were strong and do, along with the regional reports, point to a factory sector that is accelerating strongly.”

Finance: “Examining Opportunities and Challenges in the Financial Technology (‘Fintech’) Marketplace” (written testimony) [Adam Levitin, Credit Slips (PDF)]. “What’s new here, then, is not so much the use of technology, but that there are a set of new nonbank entrants in the financial services marketplace that are operating across state lines and frequently using the Internet, rather than brick-and-mortar stores or agents, brokers, and correspondents with physical locations, as their mode of consumer interface. Traditionally banks relied on their monopoly of access to the payment system through deposit accounts as a way of obtaining customers for other products—the customer relationship with the depositor enabled the cross-selling for other products. Nonbank finance companies had to maintain brick-and-mortar presences to compete or rely on agents, brokers, and correspondents with physical locations, all of which added to the expense of their products. The Internet has made it possible for nonbank financial services companies that do not partner with banks to readily acquire customers without the deposit-relationship-based cross-sell….”

Consumer Spending: “Consumer spending hits 6-year high — as Americans cut savings to 12-year low” [MarketWatch]. “Americans increased spending in the final three months of 2017 at the fastest pace in almost two years, reflecting an economy hitting its stride nearly nine years after the end of the last recession…. What might keep spending at current levels are the recently passed tax cuts. They are expected to deliver extra cash to 90% of households starting in February and that could boost spending in the months ahead.”

Real Estate: “The warehouse market in New York City is looking up, quite literally. Strong demand for distribution space in one of the country’s biggest consumer markets is colliding with the city’s chronic land shortage, leading some property developers to set plans for multistory warehouses” [Wall Street Journal].

Retail: “Wal-Mart Stores Inc.’s drive stave off Amazon.com Inc. is going global. The retailer is joining with Japan’s largest online retailer, Rakuten Inc., in a trans-Pacific pact taking in grocery delivery in Japan and distribution of e-books and audio books in the U.S.” [Wall Street Journal]. “The deal between Wal-Mart and Rakuten will include opening a combined distribution center in the Tokyo area to deliver groceries to homes, pushing Wal-Mart ahead of Amazon in a Japanese food-delivery market worth some $19 billion. More important, it shows that Wal-Mart is extending overseas its U.S. strategy of taking in established online operators, even if that involves partnerships rather than acquisition.”

Rail: “The rolling averages for the economically intuitive sectors are now in contraction, and the decline in the last four weeks negatively affected all the averages” [Econintersect].

Supply Chain: “Some of the biggest breaks for industrial operations in the new tax rules may go to the robots. The revisions allowing companies to immediately deduct the entire cost of equipment purchases from their taxable income for the next five years already are hastening automation and modernizing in U.S. factories” [Wall Street Journal]. “[The deduction] also puts the tax law at the heart of a growing push toward automation in warehouses, where fast-improving technology is bringing in robotics that can handle more tasks. Some manufacturers including heavy-duty trucks parts maker Toth Industries have already increased their capital spending, boosting productivity. The automation will also add production capacity that will push more goods through distribution networks, where they’re more likely than ever to be handled by robots.”

Shipping: “Chinese state-owned enterprises now own 10% of Europe’s container terminal capacity” [Splash 247]. “More pertinently the data provided by the International Transport Forum shows that while Chinese SOEs have been able to buy up majority stakes in ports across Europe, Beijing has not reciprocated with no European terminal operator able to hold a majority holding of any port in the People’s Republic…. [And] China’s cabotage rules continue to bar foreign container lines from operating intra-China routes.”

The Bezzle: “‘Without this bitcoin price would collapse’: Fears grow over tether ‘printing press’ as auditors part ways” [News.com]. Hard to know what’s not speculator-driven with Bitcoin, so read this with a truckload of salts. That said: “Bitfinex [owner of tether] has repeatedly promised investors it would produce a full audit of its books to prove it has US dollars on deposit to calm fears, but no audit has taken place.”

Tech: “Microsoft Disables Spectre Mitigations Due to Instability” [Security Week]. “Both microcode and software updates designed to address the Spectre and Meltdown vulnerabilities have turned out to be buggy, often making systems unbootable or causing them to reboot more frequently. Intel has suspended its patches until the issue is resolved and advised customers to stop deploying the updates. HP, Dell, Lenovo, VMware, Red Hat and others had paused the patches and now Microsoft has done the same.” Oopsie.

Tech: “After the weekend release of a draft plan calling for the nationalization of the 5G network, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Ajit Pai said he’s against such a move” [MarketWatch] Pai: “I oppose any proposal for the federal government to build and operate a nationwide 5G network.”

Tech: “Apple iPhone X demand: More data, more questions” [MarketWatch]. “Nearly three months after the iPhone X went on sale, analysts are still debating supply and demand, though the tone has changed…. Initially, the big question was whether Apple Inc. AAPL, -1.58% would be able to produce iPhone X devices quickly enough to meet demand for the phone, which was expected to drive a ‘supercycle’ of upgrades. Now, however, analysts are wondering whether Apple might be easing up on build orders for the phone given that interest hasn’t quite manifested as anticipated, and whether this even matters for the stock. On Wednesday alone, four analysts revealed their views on rumblings from the Apple supply chain. Another chimed in Thursday. They diverged on many points, including how useful supply-chain data points are, whether demand is indeed weak, and whether Apple shares will be negatively affected in the months to come.” From last week, but still (see Five Horsemen) still germane.

Globalization: “The Current Economic Sweet Spot Is Not the ‘New Normal'” [IMF Blog]. “The current upturn did not arise by chance. It began to take hold in mid-2016 and owes much to accommodative macroeconomic policies, which supported market sentiment and hastened natural healing processes.” I can’t believe I’m reading this from a putatively serious source: “Natural hearing processes” is a gross category error; markets are not alive. Markets are not organic beings.

Co-ops: Employee Ownership Pays Dividends in Rural, Says Private Equity Firm” [Daily Yonder]. There’s a headline I never expected to see!

Five Horsemen: “Amazon blazes to a new record high as Apple sinks into below-market performance” [Hat Tip, Jim Haygood].

Five Horsemen Jan 29 2018

Rapture Index: Closes unchanged [Rapture Ready]. Record high, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 186.

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 70 Extreme Greed (previous close: 79, Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 79 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed. Last updated Jan 29 at 12:01pm. Big drop. Approach of the Blue Moon on the 31st?


“Hunting for the ancient lost farms of North America” [Ars Technica]. “Over 2,000 years ago in North America, indigenous people domesticated plants that are now part of our everyday diets, such as squashes and sunflowers. But they also bred crops that have since returned to the wild. These include erect knotweed (not to be confused with its invasive cousin, Asian knotweed), goosefoot, little barley, marsh elder, and maygrass. We haven’t simply lost a few plant strains: an entire cuisine with its own kinds of flavors and baked goods has simply disappeared.”

“Increased nature relatedness and decreased authoritarian political views after psilocybin for treatment-resistant depression” [Journal of Psychopharmacology]. n=7, sadly.

Our Famously Free Press

If your business depends on a platform…

Class Warfare

“U.S. employers got used to abundant and cheap labor following the 2007-2009 recession. Unemployment peaked at 10% in October 2009, and didn’t return to the lows of the previous business cycle until last year. Firms still remain reluctant to boost pay or train employees with less-than-perfect credentials, though recruiters say that may have to change amid a jobless rate that’s set to dip further” [Industry Week].

News of the Wired

“In 2013, Google decided to test its hiring hypothesis [that only technologists can understand technology] by crunching every bit and byte of hiring, firing, and promotion data accumulated since the company’s incorporation in 1998. Project Oxygen shocked everyone by concluding that, among the eight most important qualities of Google’s top employees, STEM expertise comes in dead last. The seven top characteristics of success at Google are all soft skills: being a good coach; communicating and listening well; possessing insights into others (including others different values and points of view); having empathy toward and being supportive of one’s colleagues; being a good critical thinker and problem solver; and being able to make connections across complex ideas” [WaPo].


“93,000 pounds of Mardi Gras beads among debris removed during citywide catch basin cleaning project” [New Orleans Advocate].

* * *

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 place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (Paleobotanist):

Paleobotanist writes: “White Mountains California, bristlecone pine from Methuselah’s grove.”

* * *

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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 best laid schemes o’ Mice an’ Men, Gang aft agley —

    Deputy FBI Director Andrew McCabe will step down effective immediately, NBC News reported Monday.

    While McCabe will leave his position immediately, he will remain on paid leave until March, when he will be eligible for full retirement benefits.


    Sweet! Alert readers will recall Trump’s Dec 23rd tweet about McCabe’s artful dodge:

    Donald J. Trump

    FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is racing the clock to retire with full benefits. 90 days to go?!!!
    3:30 PM – Dec 23, 2017

    With the probable impending release of the FISA memo, McCabe needs to full time to huddle with his personal defense attorney and try to avoid getting sent down the river with Comey.

    Tick tock, Andy.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Mere coincidence?

      The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence is expected to take a vote Monday afternoon on whether to release the FISA memo. The president would then decide whether he has any objections.

      The committee, with 13 Republican and nine Democratic members, is expected to vote yes. And Trump seems to want to declassify the memo for Americans to see, over objections from the Justice Department.


      From a partisan point of view, this could be an analogue to Fort Sumter in January 1861. :-0

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        If you’re saying the House Intel Committee wants to secede, then, it has just fired on Fort Sumter.

      2. lambert strether

        It’s a memo. No primary sources. How is this different from what the Democrats are doing?

    2. Elizabeth Burton

      The message among the “well, if that didn’t work, we’ll try this” crowd of anti-Trumpsters is hat McCabe knows something and is retiring early so he can spill the beans as part of the ongoing investigation into collusion/obstruction/whatever.

      1. polecat

        He should be forced to forfit ANY pension he might otherwise have received …. let him stand on a street corner w/ a bottomless tin cup, while wearing a sandwich board sign stating : “I’m a lying scoundel and don’t deserve the public’s trust ever again”

        Same goes for all the other feckless twits !

    3. djrichard

      I’m shocked that the intelligence committee voted to release the FISA memo. I was sure at least some of the republicans would want to join with the democrats in not releasing it, for the “good of the country” don’t you know.

      1. marym

        The Republicans who wrote the memo have answered the call they issued to themselves to releases it!

        Here’s a question: If the president received intelligence that the Trump campaign/transition was meeting with representatives from a foreign government, or at least a foreign country, with the possible purpose of influencing the election, or post-election policy, wouldn’t it be the president’s job to get a warrant and investigate?

        I’m as disgusted as anyone with the Trump-Russia-Putin ridiculousness from the Dems; and as skeptical about some of the motivation behind the investigation. However, it’s not in dispute that meetings occurred, information was offered/solicited. So I’m not clear on what the scandal is as far as starting an investigation.

        1. meme

          The “dispute” is that a FISA warrant to use surveillance on the Trump campaign was obtained based on the uncorroborated Steele memo, which Comey admitted was unverified. That would constitute an abuse of power by the executive branch, something that transcends political parties and should not be allowed to occur under any administration. What it amounts to is election meddling by the intelligence and law-enforcement arms of government and collusion by the Clinton campaign. If the Steele dossier is the foundation for the Mueller investigation instead of an actual crime, it is unmerited.

          1. marym

            ok, thanks. That’s a plausible concern if the dossier was the sole basis for the warrant, though a secret court system makes that difficult to determine.

            1. Procopius

              Also, even though the dossier was uncorroborated, wouldn’t it have been sufficient basis for “reasonable suspicion,” given Steele’s background as a former MI6 agent? Most of the “classified” information underlying the memo seems to have been classified through mechanical application of rules intended to cover up embarrassing revelations. Release the damned affidavit that was presented to the FISA court!

  2. lyman alpha blob

    I don’t understand Joy Reid’s complaint.

    Did Putin give Trump some new technology that somehow renders the pink pussy hat people deaf when he speaks?

    If so, maybe he can also hook Trump up with something that can make them mute.

    1. Louis Fyne

      eye roll. give me a break.

      Nothing more dignified for the sanctity of the Oval Office than having a president stick a cigar into a subordinate’s safe for work blog during business hours.

        1. ambrit

          You know the aphorism; “All work and no play makes Bill a limp d—.”
          Give that man a cigar!
          Of course, per Freud, sometimes a cigar is a phallic symbol.
          Now, if only Bill had smoked ‘blunts,’ and inhaled, America might be a great place to live now.

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              Or an oh-so-clever legalistic thinker, even then. I remember seeing one of his Oxford classmates ( now a BBC newsreader) on some interview show. This classmate explained that Student Bill used to eat huge amounts of hash brownies. I remember reading/hearing separately at a different time from Christopher Hitchens that Student Bill used to eat huge amounts of hash brownies.

              So it could well be that Clinton tried to SMOKE marijuana or hashish and could not get it inhaled. But then he wouldn’t really have to, would he now . . . if he were eating it instead. That would mean that Bill was oh-so-exquisitely not lying.
              In fact, he would have been telling a big lie with a tiny fact. And the Bill-Interviewer never thought to follow-up ask Slicky Bill whether he had ever EATen marijuana in any form.

            2. dcrane

              Also this carefully shaped, and surely-practiced line:

              “I did not have sexual…relationswiththatwoman


              By then the rumors of oral sex were out, so this was obviously crafted to look like it was denying more than it really was (sexual relations being strictly defined as coitus even while sounding much more general). The smearing together of the second part of the term with the rest of the sentence was no accident.

    2. hemeantwell

      I don’t understand why anyone watches a presidential address. Why submit to the tedium of listening to a performance of state, someone doing their best to snuff your critical capacity? If you must watch, wait for the critically vetted Youtube bits.

      As far as Reid goes, that she would find herself, apparently after all this time without self-query, feeling that there was something worth listening to in Reagan’s monitor-based recitations astonishes me. And then affirming it to Twitterworld. Reagan led a party that based its electoral strategy on racism. I’m sure she’s very aware of that, but still feels obligated to preserve a kind of interpersonal version of standing for the national anthem to show that she is willing to shut off her cerebral cortex and participate in a national solidarity fantasy. Same goes for the poll on Dems shifting to a positive view of Dub. “We hate Trump, but we’re not haters. We even like war criminals.”

      1. Bugs Bunny

        Joy Reid is a regular laff riot on Twitter. This one is just particularly interesting for digging up zombie Ronnie.

      2. jrs

        I generally read the transcript most years, to know what is coming, no matter how sucky the policy (think W) and the youtube bits will not necessarily highlight *policy* which actually does tend to get some play in the SOTU. But at this point I don’t know if I’ll even be able to force myself to.

        1. Procopius

          I normally don’t think any of the policy promises are going to happen, but I was disappointed that Obama actually followed through on his promise to impose austerity in the 2010 SOTU. That’s one reason the recovery took so long to start that Trump is now benefiting from it and the recession is probably at least a year away.

      3. WheresOurTeddy

        Reid is perhaps the most obvious and unskilled Mockingbird I’ve ever seen.

        Where is the talent, guys? Seriously?

  3. Jason Boxman

    My sister’s Windows laptop got hosed by whatever the latest Windows update is. And she doesn’t have her student license key for Office, so she’s kind of screwed after reinstalling.

    I’m afraid to even install the updates on my Macbook Pro.

      1. a different chris

        Yeah, just click the right buttons and wait, and wait, and wait…. and wait and wait and wait.

        Do you actually use your computer, or do you just spotlessly maintain it?

      2. ArcadiaMommy

        You still need the 25 digit key if you have to restore a purchased Microsoft product. Dealt with same issue on two MacBooks and a Mac mini. Mac mini with software subscription updated just fine. Hmmm seeing a pattern here. Why should this be necessary? And be nice, it makes you and everyone else happier.

    1. Louis Fyne

      use “System Restore” .

      and/ or if you need to reinstall office, I believe there is software than can read the license key.

      ask you favorite search engine.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      The Army had a program devoted to checking that various bug fixes and updates didn’t crash the Army’s Windows load or Army software applications. The Army started doing this after it was determined too many “fixes” and updates broke more than they fixed or updated. I’m not sure what kind of testing the big software vendors do on their software these days.

    3. Amfortas the Hippie

      prolly too late for anybody, but when my mom’s Win 7 machine got hijacked by Win10, I rummaged around in righteous anger and found this for my XP:

      on hers, I couldn’t get the backups to load…even tried booting from the win7 disk, but win10 was persistent and immovable.
      I gave up and sadly informed her that the machine was not hers, it was merely on loan from Mr Gates…and am currently trying to convince her to let me try Ubuntu or something to get out of the win10 update doldrums.
      I thought that whole fiasco was a frelling crime.

  4. allan

    A brave University of Chicago employee declines to participate in upcoming Steve Bannon appearance:

    She Was Asked to Promote the Steve Bannon Event. She Resigned. [Chicago Maroon]

    Samantha Eyler-Driscoll, who has stepped down from her position as Senior Editor of the Stigler Center’s publication ProMarket, warned her boss around November: Don’t bring Steve Bannon to campus.

    Stigler Center director and Booth [Business School] professor Luigi Zingales went ahead with inviting Bannon despite her objections, at which point she asked to recuse herself entirely from the event’s planning.

    “The request was granted, but then violated—whether knowingly or unknowingly—by my bosses,” she said in an interview, explaining that Zingales asked her to do research for the event and post promotional tweets from ProMarket’s account.

    Eyler-Driscoll then resigned from the editorial board of ProMarket. After more than two hours of “grueling” negotiations on Friday, she agreed to continue to produce and manage content for other parts of the blog with the title of Managing Editor. …

    She sees this as a case where the University’s “de jure notion of an absolute right to freedom of expression conceals a de facto reality in which the right to free expression of the powerful is enforced at the expense of that of their subordinates,” she wrote in a public statement. University spokesperson Jeremy Manier responded in a statement: “Staff members are free to express their personal views. Any change in a staff member’s work duties must be approved by that person’s supervisor, with review and approval by Human Resources.”

    But Eyler-Driscoll worries about her job security, and she feels like Zingales and Bannon’s speech is more protected by the University than her speech. Booth’s human resources department told her that the University’s speech protections don’t extend to staff in the way they do to faculty and students.
    [emphasis added] …

    Power relations matter as much in free speech as they do in other, more personal matters.
    Or, as the Chicago Boys might say, There’s No Such Thing As A Free Speech Lunch.

    1. jgordon

      Power relations–that’s a key insight. Check out Robert Green’s the 48 Laws of Power or Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals and you’ll see the playbook of the left today. To sum it up, it’s all about the left conning society into handing over resources and power to those who portray themselves as victims.

      But to address the freedom of speech issue, here is the amazing Channel 4 interview going viral on YouTube wherein the brilliant feminist Cathy Newman demolishes reviled anti-feminist and alt-right hero Jordan Peterson. Though during the course of the interview Dr. Peterson did get in one good point about why it’s necessary to be able to offend people in a free society. You may want to take note: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aMcjxSThD54&t=5s

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        I think allan is saying that power relations determine who gets invited to campus to speak. I don’t see how that relates to “the left conning society into handing over resources and power to those who portray themselves as victims”.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Maybe he’s saying that power (to invite speakers) to use resources (like college campuses) has been handed, by a society conned by the left, to those who claim to be victims.

          That’s my guess.

          1. allan

            Actually, I was saying (and I think that the employee was saying) that freedom of speech goes either to those with power in the hierarchy (professors with endowed chairs) or
            power of the purse (students paying $65,000 a year), but not to the hired help.
            When a contract editor or an adjunct faculty member wants to take a controversial position,
            other rules apply. Just ask a number of junior faculty members around the country who have made statements about a certain country at the eastern end of the Mediterranean.

            As for the idea that “it’s all about the left conning society into handing over resources and power to those who portray themselves as victims”,
            I would say that “it’s all about the right conning the media into believing that the left is conning society into handing over resources and power to those who portray themselves as victims”.

            Hoover. Mercatus. Becker Friedman. Any number of Olin Centers over the years. etc.
            The poor, oppressed right, huddling in fear …

    2. Mo's Bike Shop


      I’ve been seeing that all day, but for the “So you’re saying…” meme.

      I don’t know these people from Adam, but Young Conor’s article shows up first, and it’s coming up as a game of ‘quit hitting yourself’:


      Video debates are always just a forensics demonstration for my tastes. Nobody listens and everyone goes ‘boo yah’. Exchange some letters, address each other, get something done.

  5. Jim Haygood

    ‘Trump is expected to spotlight trade in his first State of the Union speech. But what will he say?’

    Maybe he’ll echo the fervent cry of my youth: Death to the dollar!

    Essentially that’s what Mnuchin said in Davos, reprising Reagan-era threats to “let the dollar slide” as a crude first pass at making US exports more competitive, while hiking the price of imports.

    1. Oregoncharles

      Isn’t the trade deficit essential to the dollar’s reserve status?

      And what good does that do us, exactly?

  6. Wombat

    Secretary of Interior Zinke continues to get bad press:


    It doesn’t matter how unpopular his gutting of federal lands is – he was given a mission by the extractor class and he will continue to fire management with opposing views, decimate monuments, open off-shore drilling, and “lease” our lands for strip mining- regardless of naysayers.

    1. Wukchumni

      I knew we were going to sink, but never thought we would Zinke so low. It’s akin to watching a criminal gang in charge of the police department.

      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        aye! it’s a remarkable time to be alive and aware of my surroundings.
        I’ve been at the very least suspecting that things were falling apart, a la Rome, since High School…and getting more and more sure about it as time wore on, and information and insight were gained.
        The question was always “How will we fall apart?”
        I reckoned that it would be a slow saw-toothed decline, with downward spurts on occasion.
        Well, now, I think we know…at least how this particular downward spurt is gonna go.
        Theater of the Absurd, with some Grindhouse and a lot of Pseudo_Dada/Situationalist nonsense for good measure.
        I’m really looking forward to seeing how the ratings of that Kennedy shill and the Stormy Daniels interview compare.
        I’ll wait for the highlights of the Swine Oration, for my liver’s sake.

        1. Henry Moon Pie

          “I’ve been at the very least suspecting that things were falling apart, a la Rome, since High School”

          Me too. And high school for me was back when this was playing on AM radio:

          Mr. Nixon
          I ain’t a fixin’
          To speak Spanish on a plane or polish off the liberty…Bell
          I just want to sit here on the shelf
          And watch you finish off the place by yourself
          Please let me do what I wanna
          I’ll just lay around the house and smoke Marijuana

          Brewer & Shipley, “Oh Mommy (I Ain’t No Commie)”

  7. Bill

    Please pardon my ignorance, but what constitutes a “robust economy” and “growth” in the U.S. these days? I am puzzled by the perception that we’re doing really good here.

    1. Katy

      I’m interested to hear whether Trump believes that he has fulfilled any of his campaign promises. If he tries to sell the sentiment that “America is great now because the stock market is high,” without acknowledging that wages are stagnant, it’ll be as successful as Hillary’s “America is already great.”

      Workers won’t see the (modest, if any) bump in pay from the tax cuts until February.

      1. WheresOurTeddy

        You mean the 20-year Walmart workers who get ONE THOUSAND whole dollars?

        20 years x 52 weeks = 1,040 weeks

        So less than a dollar per week bonus – and that’s if you’re a Walmart lifer. How much are the heirs worth again? And how have their castles not been stormed?

  8. Jim Haygood

    “Natural healing processes” is a gross category error; markets are not alive. Markets are not organic beings.

    Quite so. But for the benefit of the right-brained half of the population, anthropomorphism serves as an effective hook for dramatizing an otherwise cold mathematical landscape.

    You may not care about the price of gold. But who can resist petting a noble old yellow dog? ;-)

    1. Wukchumni

      One measure of wealth benefits from revelation of fraud in less fungible financial instruments.

  9. John D.

    “Who will the liberal Democrats rehabilitate next? Nixon?”

    Obama used to regularly haul out Reagan’s corpse and give it great big wet, sloppy tongue baths, didn’t he?

    1. RUKidding

      Duly noted that SNL’s cold open this past weekend was Will Ferrell reprising his W Bush, adjuring liberals to please, Please, PLEASE stop venerating him (aka W)! I so totally agree with that SNL cold open. More please.

      Now we have Joy Reid dry humping Zombie Reagan for us. Sheesh. I thought it was bad enough when rightwingers do that, but between Barack the Obummer and now Joy Reid (who I don’t watch; no tv; but I read that she’s allegedly liberal, whatever TF that means anymore) dry humping Zombie Reagan, I’ve had just about all I can stand.

      It was bad enough visiting my aging ‘rents (may they RIP) at their Happy Acres golden agers home that was littered with Reagan kitsch and photos. I do NOT want to listen to or watch or read phoney fake “liberals” gushing over Zombie Reagan and/or venerating W.


        1. JohnnyGL

          Bashar Assad was with us…..until he was against us! Just like Al Qaeda is on our side in Syria!

          1. RUKidding

            Just like how Saddam Hussein was our BFF until he wasn’t, when suddenly he was hiding chemical weapons and supporting & funding Al Qeada except he wasn’t.

            1. Duck1

              And how can we forget Panama’s pineapple, where we only had to slaughter a few hundred slum dwellers to remand him to stir.

          2. Procopius

            And in Yemen! They’re employed by KSA because the Houthis were fighting them before the Saudis invaded. Of course, there was that little mix-up where our Special Forces attacked an Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula compound, but it turned out OK because they really weren’t AQAP.

        2. Liberal Mole

          I for one never forgot that we sent prisoners to be tortured in Syria. Gee, what turned good ol’ receptive Bashar into the next “Horrible, Truly Bad Evil Regime Dictator” we must overthrow?

          1. Katsue

            Syria supported Hezbollah, Hamas and smaller Palestinian groups such as the PFLP-GC, which was reason enough for them to be targeted for regime change.

            Of course a major part of the reason for that was Israel’s refusal to withdraw from occupied Syrian territory in the Golan Heights.

        3. Lambert Strether Post author

          > How does this crowd deal with-

          Bush was civil. You could have a beer with him. He adhered to democratic n-o-o-o-o-r-ms….

          One of those norms being torture, but “he kept us safe.” And if torture were important, Obama would have done something about it…

          1. WheresOurTeddy

            one is reminded of Jon Stewart during the reign of Bush The Younger:

            If you don’t stick to your values when they’re being tested, they’re not values—they’re hobbies.

    2. Summer

      This song is dedicated to the progressives still holding on to the Democratic Party and to the Democratic Party as they court their unrequited love – suburban Republicans:

      Turn down the lights, turn down the bed
      Turn down these voices inside my head
      Lay down with me, tell me no lies
      Just hold me close, don’t patronize
      Don’t patronize me

      ‘Cause I can’t make you love me if you don’t
      You can’t make your heart feel somethin’ it won’t
      Here in the dark, in these final hours
      I will lay down my heart and I’ll feel the power
      But you won’t, no you won’t
      ‘Cause I can’t make you love me, if you don’t

      I’ll close my eyes, then I won’t see
      The love you don’t feel when you’re holdin’ me
      Mornin’ will come and I’ll do what’s right
      Just give me till then to give up this fight
      And I will give up this fight

      By Bonnie R.

      1. Elizabeth Burton

        The Democratic Party today is what used to be the Republican Party, which justifies referring to it as the Democrat Party. The Republican Party has been co-opted by a 21st-century version of the Know-Nothings. So, essentially, there is no Democratic Party unless and until the progressive rebels manage to take over its form and function. Which is happening, although you’d never know it if your only source of information is the corporate media. Even when they win, their actual manner of doing so is subsumed as proof the official strategy, which their campaigns were the precise opposite of, is clearly the one to pursue.

    3. john k

      Nixon was far more deserving.
      Ended Vietnam.
      Proposed uni health care, nixed by dems.
      Opened China.
      Yes, there was a little obstruction. Seems relatively benign vs ME wars.

      Surveillance, etc.

        1. Procopius

          No, Nixon (and Kissinger) actually committed treason by sabotaging the Paris Peace Talks and extended the war in Vietnam another four years (up until we withdrew in 1972). The current accusations of “treason” are wrong, but he actually made a deal with the North Vietnamese, with whom we were actually at war (the Supreme Court recognized it as de facto war, even though it wasn’t de jure). I think Jane Fonda committed treason, too, and I agreed with her completely, and I was serving in Vietnam when she made her trip.

  10. Katy

    Bruh, I just wanted to point out that those aren’t tampons. Nevertheless, I kind of want to shoplift now.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      That’s why I put it up, but apparently the video is interesting anyhow; shows how the Amazon Go store works (and how to game it). I’d be interested in readers’ thoughts on that…

  11. YYB

    So if you see something you especially appreciate, do feel free to click the hat!

    Would like to but no hat visible on my i-Mac (with Safari).

    Does that mean that one of us is “No hat and all cattle”?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Or all cattle and no hat! [BOOM!]

      Seriously, PayPal seems to have stopped serving the hat; I went back to some 2016 posts to see if it’s there. I will have to, very reluctantly, go into the PayPal code and see what’s going on…

  12. Summer

    “If the CIA, NSA, and FBI cannot prevent Russia from interfering in our internal affairs, then why do we have them?”
    To keep the entire world safe FROM Democracy.

      1. Summer

        Oh, they’ve forgotten democracy.
        I was just making fun of the “democracy” currently being advertised.

        Maybe better (considering how oligarchy has been rebranded as “democracy”): to keep countries of the world safe from sovereignity.

    1. WheresOurTeddy

      If a discredited ideologue with no future bitterly reads an irrelevant book in the woods, does it make a sound anyone gives a damn about?

      Dear DNC, DCCC, and all other Brockian parasites:

      Sanders 2020. Bernie or Bust. You know we mean it now.

  13. TK421

    God, I freaking hate our country’s health care system. HATE it. “Do you want a bronze plan or a silver plan?” Gee, I’d like to think there are no “bronze” people in this world, especially not me.

  14. XXYY

    From the Buzzfeed article on Strider. The Clinton law firm spokesperson defended retaining Strider as follows:

    “To ensure a safe working environment, the [Hillary Clinton] campaign had a process to address complaints of misconduct or harassment. When matters arose, they were reviewed in accordance with these policies, and appropriate action was taken. This complaint was no exception.”

    This has to be some kind of instant classic.

    Evidently, their defense is the existence of unstated and formless “processes” and “policies” which were used when “matters arose.” I’m curious what the hourly rate was of the genius who came up with this.

    To be fair, the Strider weirdness probably seemed like very small potatoes to Hillary, who had been watching and covering for the antics of Bill, the grand master of #MeToo, for several decades. Perhaps Strider even seemed admirably restrained compared to Weinstein and others in her orbit.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Removing the complainant from Strider’s office. Let’s hope it was a promotion – the reports don’t say.

    1. WheresOurTeddy

      “To be fair, the Strider weirdness probably seemed like very small potatoes to Hillary, who had been watching and covering for the antics of Bill, the grand master of #MeToo, for several decades. Perhaps Strider even seemed admirably restrained compared to Weinstein and others in her orbit.”

      “How many women? Just one? And what actually happened? Press on this at all? No? Then what’s the problem?”

  15. David Carl Grimes

    Regarding Facebook Suppression: Jimmy Dore has been complaining that many of subscribers of his Youtube Channel have been involuntarily been unsubscribed by Youtube. There’s also such a thing as a Twitter Shadow Ban. I wonder if Nakedcapitalism’s Twitter account has been shadow banned as well.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I think that he has said that they are being unsubscribed in spite of that. Here is where it gets better. He also says that people are finding that they have been subscribed to MSNBC and CNN without the knowing about it.
        I have even seen other examples like Syria Girl (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jedVfEO7xQ) who was almost pushed off YouTube for showing stuff that you are not suppose to see.

  16. Oregoncharles

    Trump on trade at Davos: “sought to present the U.S. as willing to engage with all countries on trade — as long as interested partners agreed to play by his administration’s rules””

    Isn’t that what governments are supposed to do? Isn’t that exactly what previous administrations did, only with different rules? Not that I have any trust in Trump’s actual policies, if they’re his.

  17. allan

    Trump’s secret assassinations programme [Repreive.org]

    … The [drone] program requires no clear evidence that an attack will take place, due process is laid to waste and there is no scrutiny or accountability for US actions.

    More than 80% of those killed have never even been identified by name. In numerous attempts to kill one individual, the CIA killed 76 children and 29 adults, while totally failing to assassinate their target. To get around the problem of civilian casualties, everyone in a strike zone was classified as a combatant.

    Then Trump became president.

    In his first year in office, President Trump has overseen a dramatic increase in drone strikes in Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Somalia – all countries against which the US is not officially engaged in a war.

    The first year of the Trump administration has resulted in more loss of life from drone strikes than all eight years of Obama’s presidency. Trump ripped up the limited safeguards President Obama put in place.This is now industrial-scale executions, hugely expanded in both scale and callousness, conducted with no regard for human life or human rights. …

    Some of us are so old that we remember when Trump was touted as an antidote for the 16 years
    of interventionism under Bush and Obama, who would stick it to the MIC and turn America’s resources
    to helping its forgotten men, women and children.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It’s not always fair, but it seems the inventor, or the first to do something, too often gets too much credit.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Some of us are so old that we remember when Trump was touted as an antidote for the 16 years
      of interventionism under Bush and Obama, who would stick it to the MIC and turn America’s resources
      to helping its forgotten men, women and children.

      That’s not quite the way I remember it; citations needed. Not getting involved in lunatic ventures in the Ukraine or Syria, both aimed at Russian — for the former, Clinton’s creature Nuland gave it the old college try; for the latter, the generals said that’s what Clinton’s no-fly zone would amount to — doesn’t really equate to being “an antidote for the 16 years of interventionism under Bush and Obama,” does it? Nor does scandalously saying that Iraq was a stupid idea, which to this very day the national security class refused to admit.

  18. Kronos

    Respectfully, but the tweet about the NSA, FBI, and CIA not being able to stop Russia is asinine. Is this person question the need for police because someone got hacked? How stupid. If my house gets robbed and the culprits get away is it reasonable whether we should question the need for police? I’m sorry, but that’s just a waste of digital space.

    1. Oregoncharles

      Or would be if the alphabets were functionally police – in the anti-burglary sense you mean.

    2. Sid Finster

      Except the official story from the “police” is that they knew all along what the robbery plan was, but did nothing.

    3. Arizona Slim

      I recently returned from vacation, only to find that my house had been ransacked. The police in this town aren’t perfect, but 911 was the very first number I called.

  19. Paul Cardan

    Thanks for the article on ‘norms.’ I’d been wondering about this myself. All this talk of norms reminded me of something Hobbes says about individuals whom he calls ‘Divines’ (if memory serves). The latter claimed to be servants of God, divinely inspired to speak out on behalf of “the People” against abuses of monarchical power. Hobbes countered that a collection of individual human beings isn’t unified, so isn’t a people, without political representation, which the People in this case already had. ‘King’ they called him. Claiming to speak on behalf of the People, then, sounded like treason to Hobbes’ ears. It was an entirely illegal attempt to seize power by a group of individuals who’d never explicitly or tacitly been given that power by the persons they claimed to represent. It’s the kind of thing that leads to civil war, something with which Hobbes himself was all too familiar.

    Present day equivalents of 17th century Divines invoke “norms” such as forbearance in an effort to make something like a legal case against an elected official, despite the fact that there is no legal case to be made (as of now). Who determined the content of these norms (which aren’t written down anywhere except in academic journals and op-eds)? How did they decide (I don’t recall getting a vote)? I think I know the answer to the first question: the very same people who think it would be a good idea to have the CIA secretly vet presumptive winners of Presidential elections; the very same people favoring Hamiltonian Electors; the very same people who certainly wouldn’t stand in the way of a soft coup. As for the second, it seems like the criteria are getting tailored to the case: first look at the actions of one’s adversary; then “find” norms in light of which to discredit and otherwise undermine; then repeat. All reminiscent of the constantly evolving case for war with Iraq back in the day.

    1. djrichard

      I think James George Frazer (The Golden Bough) would argue that the priest king must be challenged and must ultimately die. Ben Hunt would argue that the challenger must always be a populist.

      I think CJ Hopkins would argue that the current priest king isn’t so much one person as it is an oligarchy: the corporate globalists. So they get to manufacture what’s normal, so that the populists who are challenging them can be portrayed as extremists. https://consentfactory.org/2017/10/20/tomorrow-belongs-to-the-corporatocracy/

    2. Darthbobber

      What these people still insist on calling norms have for some time been deviations from the actual norms.

  20. Daryl

    While Democrats who might actually win important House races languish without funding, the cat running in the doomed race against Ted Cruz has raised millions: https://www.dallasnews.com/news/2018-elections/2018/01/28/cruz-challenger-beto-orourke-raises-24m-latest-quarter

    I’m not familiar with the guy, but apparently he used to play in punk rock bands (which has “the kids will like him” written all over it). He also supports legalization of cannabis, so he’s safely to the left of Joe Kennedy, although that ain’t sayin much. A quick google for Medicare for All seems to indicate he also supports that.

    Ted Cruz is a strong blend of evil and moron even for a Republican, but it seems unlikely he’ll lose. But godspeed to this dude anyway I guess.

    1. curlydan

      My Texan parents have met him and liked him. He’s from El Paso–apparently a section of Texas that doesn’t produce many statewide politicians. He speaks fluent Spanish whereas Cruz’s Spanish is apparently bad (if only the D’s cared to register more voters). BTW: he raised $2.4M in the latest quarter, not what looks like $24M in the https link. He’ll need about $24M or more to overcome Cruz and the stupidity of most Texas voters.

      1. Wombat

        Beto O’Rourke holds many town halls and is quite accessible to the people of El Paso.

        I’ve called his office (both El Paso and DC) many times and always talk to a person and have gotten unsolicited followups.

        Most importantly he hasn’t and won’t take PAC money:


        “O’Rourke has made campaign finance reform a central part of his platform. He has vowed to not take any money from PACs, prompting derision from some campaign veterans who argue he’s giving up any serious chance of defeating Cruz, who proved in his 2016 presidential run to be a fundraising juggernaut.

        But in an interview with The Texas Tribune, O’Rourke took his hard-line approach to campaign finance reform a step further, insisting that he hopes no millionaires or billionaires form an unaffiliated super PAC to sway the race for him.

        “I’ll say that right now to anyone watching or listening: I don’t want super PACs involved.” he said. “I don’t want their help.””

    2. Amfortas the Hippie

      I’ve been watching him for a while.
      Not perfect, but much, much better than anything since Anne Richards.
      From what I’ve gleaned from the various coverage over the years(Texas Observer and Texas Tribune are my fave free Tx news,btw), he really is something of a maverick…and it looks like the Corpdems don’t like him. I’ve seen mutters here and there that the State Party is not all in.
      all of which sounds better and better, to me.
      El Paso is…like…10 hours west from me(Texas is huge), but I’m keeping an eye on his rambling around to see if he comes within 50 miles of me. I haven’t been as excited about a Texas candidate since Hightower.

      1. Daryl

        Well, these answers are heartening. Can’t imagine he’ll unseat Cruz, but I’ll happily vote for someone who supports Medicare for All. Strange that some of the saner Democrats seem to come from Texas.

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > much better than anything since Anne Richards

        Very encouraging. The Texas left, as the left generally, must fight both the conservatives and the liberals. I can’t imagine what that’s like in Texas. Whatever happened to Wendy Davis, anyhow…

        1. Amfortas the Hippie

          single issue(abortion…rendered as “baby Killer”)
          Texdems tried to shoehorn that into some kind of rallying cry for Freedom!(in a gutteral roar that didn’t quite pan out)
          It just wasn’t believable, in the end.
          and her past…not all that remarkable, really…divorce, single mom, but taking $$ from Ex, and a few other things…enabled the Right to portray her as a sort of Trailer Park Murphy Brown. The Dems were wholly unprepared and unable to counter that narrative, and ended up looking weak and silly and dishonest.
          It was a fiasco, all around.

  21. The Rev Kev

    Hunting for the ancient lost farms of North America

    Good article that. I wonder if that means that they will be able to recreate an ancient American village with its associated crops to tell us what their lifestyle was like in a piece of experimental archaeology?

    1. Wukchumni

      Yes, interesting article. There’s a perfect area for cultivation in Valley of Fire State Park near Las Vegas, i’ve always thought.

      It’s a little valley right below Mouse’s Tank, a couple of almost covered natural cisterns that hold many thousands of gallons of water in a place of little rain. It would have been a natural spot.

      A visual:


      One of many 3,000 year old petroglyph panels along the way on the trail there:


      1. Oregoncharles

        Gorgeous. Implausible. You do get around, Wukchumni.

        Not in the area the article is about – neither is Oregon. Not much native farming here; I gather the only thing they grew was tobacco. The big potential crop was camas, a bulb that has not been domesticated except as an ornamental. Takes years to mature.

        The article is interesting because it names plants I’ve never heard of before – that’s why it lingers on the knotweed. The chenopodium may be a common garden weed, with highly edible leaves, like most chenopods, including quinoa. After search: distinct from lamb’s quarters, C. album, but looks just like it. And the map says it’s very widespread; for all I know, I’ve eaten it.

  22. kareninca

    I just finished reading the “underestimating the American collapse” article from the American Conservative, linked earlier. It discusses the breakdown of community. I know that Christianity is not uniformly popular here. However, my 74 y.o. friend who lives in her car, has not been helped by the government. She was evicted from a government sponsored low-income old folks’ home for hoarding – yes, she hoards. She is otherwise normal; she worked all her life; her father was a famous football coach. Social workers can’t find her anything; this is Silicon valley, where she grew up; there is no housing here anywhere that anyone can afford except the rich. But – a couple of local churches have set up a rotating women’s homeless shelter for the winter months (it can get very cold even here). So she is housed for the moment. I’m all in favor of government programs to provide housing, but they didn’t come through here, yet the Christians did. They take her as she is. BTW she is an atheist. I was not raised in a religious family, but this makes a good impression on me.

    1. Amfortas the Hippie

      I have never been a christian(more a druidy mystic agnostic, which i generally keep to myself),and despise much of what passes for christianity in America for the past 40 or so years…but I have witnessed the real thing in the Habitat People, and in a couple of our local pastors in aiding the poor and downtrodden, even when it made their congregations angry with them for slipping more into Jesus than the usual Righty Version..
      In my brilliant career as local intellectual curmudgeon and outspoken Liberal Nutter, I’ve run across numerous examples of ordinary folks who really do try to live the word, and follow in the footsteps of Jesus as they perceive him. All of these instances have been a surprise, given what’s all over the web from so called “christians”.
      I find it comforting that they’re not all crazy and that many of them are quietly out there, doing their thing.
      …and I like Dreher a lot.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      I know other people with similar experiences.

      > I’m all in favor of government programs to provide housing, but they didn’t come through here, yet the Christians did. They take her as she is. BTW she is an atheist. I was not raised in a religious family, but this makes a good impression on me.

      Me too, but that it’s left up to “the Christians” to do this is shameful. There are probably good deeds Christians could do that are higher up Maslow’s heirarchy if our ruling class wasn’t actively trying to slaughter its people.

  23. Darthbobber

    ABC puff piece on the booming economy. Leaving aside the lack of any mention of what wages have been doing, or much of any data about anything, really, this follows in the footsteps of a fairly large number of articles in 2015-2016 about the ostensibly booming Obama economy.

    And right now one likely upshot might be a bunch of pieces in the fall puzzling over why Trump isn’t benefiting more from said boom. Duplicating the puzzled reactions in 16 to Clinton’s failure to benefit from previous said boom.

    If somehow an actual sellers’ market for labor power were to arise and people generally were to start seeing improved real wages and bennies then the bulk of the populace might be impressed. Otherwise the contrast between the huge benefits accruing to the favored ones and the conditions applying to everyone else will continue to stoke resentment and sullen anger.

    And given the Fed’s seeming belief that any increase in real wages means that Weimar is right around the corner, One can have faith in them to make their best effort to head off any tangible benefit to the working class.

  24. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Stealing from a cashier-less Amazon Go store.

    Eventually, a machine bested top human Go masters.

    That ought to inspire them to keep trying.

  25. Wukchumni

    “93,000 pounds of Mardi Gras beads among debris removed during citywide catch basin cleaning project” [New Orleans Advocate].

    Were we to take the way-back machine with all those beads, we could’ve bought all of the United States from it’s inhabitants 300 years ago for 93,000 pounds worth of something that now will get thrown away.

  26. Bob Treacy

    Wow. attacking RFK’s grandson over marijuana stance, as he is about to counter Trump’s SOTU and you want to preach to the Dems about strategy and tactics. Full disclosure, I knew who my father-in-law was before I met my wife because he introduced legislation in Massachusetts for decriminalization of marijuana in the 60s when I was in high school. And pro-marijuana Massachusetts backs Joe and he will represent us

    1. UserFriendly

      Heaven forbid we question the policies of our betters, especially the ones that inherited their office. We wouldn’t want to put any pressure on them to change their opinions when their opinions have huge ramifications for the rest of us or anything so horribly quaint like that.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > you want to preach to the Dems about strategy and tactics.

      Yes, I’d like them to stop sucking. You?

      Adding, Joseph Kennedy the Third Rate isn’t for #MedicareForAll, either.

      1. Bob Treacy

        I’m a Sanders supporter. Cut off all Democratic party emails and contributions because of 2016 shenanigans and continuing politics. Contribute to individual candidates and causes. I think Trump sucks. Sorry, I think your approach to moving the Dems is not that helpful

        1. JohnnyGL


          You got me curious about Joe Kennedy. Firstly, I’m from MA and I’d barely heard of the guy…already a bad sign, but I’m not always great on local politics, so I’ll withhold.

          Looking at the above link, it appears he’s coasted unopposed in his re-election bids and the field cleared for him in the first place in 2012. This looks all very comfy and very insidery.


          The items listed in his ‘tenure’ above are mostly fluff stuff….

          Meeting with Hamid Karzai….the corrupt election rigger that the USG chose in Afghanistan.
          Part of Governor Patrick’s STEM council….pile horse manure…
          Voted in favor of NSA spying in 2013….

          Why on earth are we defending this guy? He seems pretty uninterested in defending us. He seems much more interested is getting chummy with the Dem leadership.

    3. WheresOurTeddy

      How many progressive frogs have to die before they realize neoliberal scorpions are not their friends?

    4. Pat

      Hell, if he were still alive I’d be attacking RFK’s brother for his support of No Child Left Behind and his stupidity on healthcare reform that got us Obamacare rather than Medicare for All decades earlier.

      Stupid policies deserve to be attacked regardless of some reverence for ancestry or party history. That reverence does not stop those policies from being destructive and harmful.

  27. Collapsar

    News of the Wired:

    ” The seven top characteristics of success at Google are all soft skills: being a good coach; communicating and listening well; possessing insights into others (including others different values and points of view); having empathy toward and being supportive of one’s colleagues; being a good critical thinker and problem solver; and being able to make connections across complex ideas”

    All the skills that are being decimated by widespread use of social networking apps.

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