2:00PM Water Cooler 1/31/2018

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.



“Read: Bernie Sanders panned Trump’s broken promises in his response to the State of the Union” [Vox]. “This is the second year in a row that Sanders has sidestepped the official Democratic response and delivered his own speech after the State of the Union. Throughout his address, Sanders picked apart Trump’s self-congratulatory speech, hammering home his own points about continuing inequality for the poor and middle class, two groups Trump promised to lift up during his campaign for president.”

“In Joe Kennedy’s speech, Democrats rediscovered Barack Obama’s compelling vision” [Matt Yglesias, Vox]. If you think Matty goes over the top comparing Kennedy to Obama, wait ’til you get to the Lincoln comparison. Oh, and I got my very first fundraising email from Kennedy just today!

“Was that drool coming out of Joe Kennedy’s mouth?” [Politico]. With pictures. I’m starting to think that a test of the validity of talking points is how promiscuous they are across party factions. “Drool” has been applied not only to Kennedy (from, no doubt, his infant-like appearance), but to Trump (from his putative senility) and Clinton (from her putative case of Parkinson’s). “Fake news” started on the left and now it’s everywhere. DItto “deep state.” However, Sanders’ talking points on billionaires (or the 1% vs. the 99%) have not migrated. They are not promiscuous.

“The problem for Republicans is that voters are not likely to believe explanations offered by politicians they don’t like. And many of them really don’t like Trump, personally or professionally” [Inside Elections]. “Any dramatic event that catches the national media’s attention — and the public’s — offers an opportunity for the parties and the president to redefine themselves and their opponents. But it is also true that you can’t make a first impression twice. The president is not an ill-defined public figure. Americans know who he is and what he believes. And that is a problem for many Republicans next week, next month and in the fall.”

Biden: “Guys, the wealthy are as patriotic as the poor. I know Bernie doesn’t like me saying that, but they are” [The Hill]. Impressive fealty to the donor class.


“House Ratings” [Inside Elections]. Holy moley, look at those open seats!

“Rep. Trey Gowdy, who chairs the House Oversight Committee, will retire from Congress in 2018.” [The Hill]. Yikes! Not in the chart above.

“According to CNN ratings, 61 Republican seats are either toss-ups (15), leaning GOP (21) or likely GOP (25). Compare that to just 22 Democratic seats in any sort of jeopardy this fall and you begin to grasp the depth of Republican vulnerability” [CNN].

“The good economy might not bail out Republicans in the midterms after all” [CNBC]. “Emory University political scientist Alan Abramowitz has examined every midterm election since World War II. Among factors influencing partisan changes in the House, the state of the economy ranked low. ‘The correlation between economic indicators and seat-swings in midterm elections is very weak,’ Abramowitz says. The president’s job approval rating, he adds, has been four times as powerful as economic growth in determining how his party fares.”

Illinois: “Democratic race for governor now wide open” [Chicago Business Review].

Obama Legacy

“Destruction Of Black Wealth During The Obama Presidency” [People’s Policy Project]. “[W]hile President Obama had wide discretion and appropriated funds to relieve homeowners caught in the economic crisis, the policy design his administration chose for his housing program was a disaster. Instead of helping homeowners, at every turn the administration was obsessed with protecting the financial system — and so homeowners were left to drown. As a result, the percentage of black homeowners who were underwater on their mortgage exploded 20-fold from 2007 to 2013.” Thanks, Obama!

SOTU Wrapup

Nice pantsuit. Suffragette white:

“Perhaps not surprising for someone who has lived his life in the spotlight and who built a life on image and brand, the stagecraft of Trump’s first State of the Union was outstanding. From the families who lost loved ones to the MS-13 gang to Otto Warmbier’s parents to the North Korean defector and his crutches, the visuals — and the stories they told — were haunting and memorable” [CNN].

On policy:

“These Charts Show How The SOTU Language Has Changed With Each President” [Buzzfeed]. “BuzzFeed News analyzed every SOTU since George Washington spoke to the Congress of a new nation in 1790. They have slowly gotten easier to understand, using simpler and shorter words and sentences. Their sentiment, generally positive, has barely shifted over more than two centuries — with a few hiccups in times of national crisis.”

Government Shutdown

“[T]he shutdown was never a big deal politically. As long as it didn’t drag on for weeks and months, the shutdown was always more of an opportunity for feigned outrage, finger-pointing and media hype than political realignment” [Inside Elections]. “In October and November of 2013, Republicans got blamed for the government shutdown, leading many observers to predict the party would suffer in the 2014 midterms. But less than a couple of months later, the political situation flipped after the inept rollout of the health care law overshadowed the shutdown.”

New Cold War

“Rod Rosenstein Is Shirking His Duty to Supervise Robert Mueller” [National Review]. “Back in May, besieged by Democrats feigning outrage over FBI director James Comey’s firing — the same Democrats who wanted Comey’s scalp for purportedly costing Hillary Clinton the election — Rosenstein preemptively surrendered. In appointing Mueller, he flouted regulations requiring that he specify the crimes that supposedly necessitated the appointment of a special counsel. He promised Democrats that Mueller would have carte blanche — no limits and no supervision from his nominal supervisor, Rosenstein. And now, with Mueller poised to pressure the president to submit to interrogation — despite the absence of a crime, despite the absence of any suggestion that Trump has essential information that Mueller is otherwise unable to acquire — Rosenstein is nowhere to be found, at least when he’s not impeding congressional committees from conducting oversight of the Justice Department’s actions in the Clinton emails and Russia investigations. Without Justice Department supervision, Mueller answers only to his own whim. Well, what if all prosecutors did that?”

Stats Watch

MBA Mortgage Applications, week of January 26, 2018: “Amid rising interest rates, purchase applications for home mortgages fell by a seasonally adjusted 3.0 percent” [Econoday]. “On a positive note for the housing market, the year-on-year gain in purchase applications widened by 3 percentage points to 10 percent.”

ADP Employment Report, January 2018: “ADP sees a very strong employment report coming out on Friday, estimating a 234,000 rise in private payrolls” [Econoday]. “the bottom line is that ADP, however hit and miss this report can be, sees significant strength for the January employment report.” But: “ADP employment has not been a good predictor of BLS non-farm private job growth” [Econintersect].

Employment Cost Index, Q4 2017: “Wage costs and benefit costs eased off in the fourth quarter but the trend remains significantly firm” [Econoday]. “The breakdown between the wages & salaries component and the benefits component show similar pressure. This report won’t raise any red flags at today’s FOMC meeting but it will certainly be cited as a further indication of tightness in the labor market, conditions that could be pointing to a future inflationary flashpoint for wages.”

Chicago Purchasing Managers Index, January 2018: “Chicago PMI’s sample starts off 2018 where it left off 2017, at a rare rate of growth” [Econoday]. “[C]apacity stress… has been apparent in this survey. An easing back in order acceleration during January and a draw in backlogs are probably positives for the month. Production also slowed. Unsustainable growth has been the signal from the Chicago report where readings, in more than 50 years of data, have been at historic highs.” And; “The Chicago Business Barometer declined but remains firmly in positive territory” [Econintersect]. “The results of this survey continue to correlate to district Federal Reserve manufacturing surveys – and generallly aligns with the overall trend of the ISM manufacturing survey.”

Shipping: “Container shipping could see the first widespread use of a cryptocurrency this week” [The Loadstar]. “Hong Kong-based blockchain developer ETH Smart Contract Tech will tomorrow start handing out its bespoke TEU tokens to shippers, forwarders and 3PLs under its 300cubits project. The company will release some 20m TEU tokens, “custom-designed as digital shipping booking deposits, using smart contract blockchain technology, to solve the no-show and rolling problems plaguing the container shipping industry”, to container line customers for free – but on a first-come-first basis. Interested shippers and forwarders need to demonstrate their eligibility for 300cubits, and are currently restricted to those that bought slots in 2016.”

The Bezzle: From The Department of What Could Go Wrong? [Mosler Economics].

The Bezzle: “The era of driverless cars and delivery vehicles is well underway as far as some architects and developers are concerned. Planners in cities in North America, Europe and Asia are drawing up designs for streets with curbside drop-off areas for e-commerce deliveries and passengers rather than parking spaces… while architects are laying out office and residential buildings with space for stacking up packages and delivery lockers” [Wall Street Journal]. “The goal for many planners, says an executive at one architecture firm, is to ‘future-proof’ everything from roads to parking garages against what they say is an upheaval in transportation of goods and people. Real-estate developers and architects are thinking about a driverless future today because many of the structures and streets they’re designing will still be around decades from now.” Reminds me of prepositioning all the materiel for the Iraq War. That part went great…

The Bezzle: “The very meager production of Tesla Inc. Model 3 sedans has created an unusual, big-money market for the electric cars. A shortage of the vehicles is fueling a frenzy among curious competitors… with some automotive companies paying upward of $500,000 to get their hands on the car billed as Tesla’s entry into mass-market sales” [Wall Street Journal]. “The Model 3 so far hasn’t worked out that way, with supply chain problems and production bottlenecks leaving fewer than 2,000 of the cars rolling out over the past two quarters.” The pricing makes sense. You can get a hand-made Vacheron Constantin Patrimony Tourbillon mechanical watch for around $350K, so why not a hand-made Tesla electric car for $500K?

Tech: “Electronics supply chains that Apple Inc. has helped build across Asia are shuddering at the cutback in production of the latest iPhone. Apple is slashing its plans for making iPhone X handsets by half, to 20 million, in the current quarter… Orders for components could be cut even more, by perhaps 60%, as reductions ripple across the broad eco-system of electronics manufacturing and distribution that Apple products have fostered. The latest reduction, the result of disappointing sales of the latest generation of the iPhone, is a new example of how companies in Apple’s orbit can rise and fall as the company builds up new technology and then moves on or sees some features grow stale” [Wall Street Journal].

Tech: “AMD Triumphantly Returns to Full-Year Profitability, Forecasts Strong 2018” [ExtremeTech].

Debt: “Seems to me this divergence has been stretched to the limit” [Mosler Economics]. “[T]his shows the gap:”

To be sure, Mosler is a bit of a Johnny One-Note on this. But it’s hard for this Maine Bear to see how he’s wrong. If something cannot go on forever, it will stop. Here’s a more granular view of American consumer debt from MarketWatch.

Honey for the Bears: “US stocks slide as bond sell-off rattles investors” [Financial Times]. “Goldman Sachs’ chief global equity strategist Peter Oppenheimer warned in a note that for global stocks a ‘a correction is becoming increasingly likely.’ ‘It all feels a little bit euphoric,” said Larry Hatheway, chief economist at GAM, the investment group. “It has led to a lot of people thinking that we should prepare the groundwork for some risk mitigation strategies. This can’t go on for ever.'” Again, if something cannot go on forever, it will stop. Expanding on Yves’ link to Authers in the FT this morning: A correction isn’t the same as a crash, and a recession (overdue) isn’t the same as a crash either. So what’s levered? What’s today’s subprime? Caveating that if I were any good at this stuff, I’d be doing it, but the answers to those questions are not easy for me to see. Some damned foolish thing in Chinese real estate? Or an alternative scenario (caveat as before) I think of as “crashing in place.” Some metaphors: You can drown in an inch of water. Or: If you are already flat on your back, there’s no distance to fall. Meaning, in the next downtown, what happens to the people who already shop at Dollar General? Or what if our over-optimized and non-redundant supply chains — thanks, MBAs! — snap, whether for medical supplies (saline from Puerto Rico) or for food (as in Whole Foods, whose inventory system can’t keep fresh vegetables in stock). Mosler’s thinking on debt ties into “crashing in place” quite neatly. What happens when people can’t make the car payments and can’t get to work?

Five Horsemen: “Juggernaut Amazon streaks on to the outer limits of the solar system” [Hat Tip, Jim Haygood].

Five Horsemen Jan 31 2018

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 61 Extreme Greed (previous close: 62, Extreme Greed) [CNN]. One week ago: 78 (Extreme Greed). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed. Last updated Jan 31 at 12:28pm.


Blood moon:

Musical Interlude:

“In Birds’ Songs, Brains and Genes, He Finds Clues to Speech” [Quanta]. “Very few groups of species have vocal learning. Songbirds, parrots and hummingbirds are the only ones amongst birds. There are roughly 40 or so lineages of birds: Those three have it, and the others appear not to. Amongst mammals, besides humans, there are dolphins, whales, bats, elephants and seals…. the vocal-learning groups of species all likely evolved this ability independently. But when we look at the brain pathways they use for vocal learning, they’re similar. They’re embedded within the pathway that controls learning how to move for other muscle groups. So how could that happen if they evolved independently? We propose it’s due to a duplication of that motor-learning pathway during embryonic development.”

Police State Watch

“For a few thousand bucks, Detroit police will give a business higher 911 priority” [Boing Boing]. Nice little business you’ve got there….

Class Warfare

“Mass Incarceration: New Jim Crow, Class War, or Both?” [People’s Policy Project]. Both! Important post.

When liberal Democrats whinge about “neoliberal,” show them this:

News of the Wired

“Free Software Foundation receives $1 million donation from Pineapple Fund” [Free Software Foundation]. “The anonymous Pineapple Fund, created to give away $86 million worth of Bitcoin to charities and social causes, ‘is about making bold and smart bets that hopefully impact everyone in our world.'”

“Google and Facebook are watching our every move online. It’s time to make them stop” [Gabriel Weinberg, CNBC]. (Weinberg is CEO and founder of DuckDuckGo.) “Google and Facebook also use your data as input for increasingly sophisticated AI algorithms that put you in a filter bubble — an alternate digital universe that controls what you see in their products, based on what their algorithms think you are most likely to click on…. [Congress needs] to legislate that people own their own data, enabling real opt-outs.” And if I own my data, then Google and Facebook need to pay me to use it, right?

* * *

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 (marku52):

Looks inviting…

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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. jo6pac

      I wonder if the repugs and demodogs will get together a vote for more Amtrak money;-)

      Then again were the repugs going to kock brothers gathering on how to make Amerika great again?

    2. cocomaan

      What in the world is going on with Amtrak? Infrastructure problems are one thing. This just seems like ineptitude at this point.

      1. jsn

        At a certain point, like the Navy with its crews (the Navy way overworks their sailors, much like the new permanent war army adoes its soldiers), systematically underfunding Federal functions results in systemic failures. You can only debase labor so far, whether civilian or military before it breaks down. This is what I think we’re seeing.

        It’s perfect that this comes in the same links with the Biden quote: if the rich were patriotic, this would not be happening. If they even had basic self awareness, they’d be focused on relative wages:

        “A relative wage is simply the wage divided by GDP per capita. It tells us about the share of national output that goes to workers. Relative wages reached a peak during the late 1960s, and have been declining ever since. Why is this important? A high relative wage thus promotes social stability in multiple ways: workers feel they are getting a fair share of economic growth, while growth of inequality due to rising elite incomes is averted. In addition, if elites cannot grow their incomes at the expense of workers, but only by increasing output as a whole, they are motivated to raise and reward worker productivity and invest in public goods that raise overall output.” Turchin & Goldstone

        A nation cannot fire its population and a nation that acts like it can, as ours does, won’t stay a nation for long, or those who run it won’t stay in charge. The quote above is from an article about the universal, always present cause of revolutions.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I thought I read somewhere the bad guys were targeting our trains now.

          There is always security funding for the same problem, but classified under a different category.

        1. Procopius

          Here in Thailand, the problem is often a buffalo (animal used for plowing and other heavy hauling) getting hit by a train. The Thai legal system rules that the State Railways of Thailand is not liable on the grounds that the buffalo is able to run away from the train, but the train is not able to chase the buffalo. I’ve never figured out how cars, trucks, and people get hit by trains. Buffalo are widely recognized to be stupid.

    3. bob

      Train full of GOP reps hits garbage truck

      Reps take to twitter to assure constituencies they are OK, and helping with the injuries, while boarding buses to continue on to Koch retreat

      One truck driver believed dead, no confirmation yet

  1. Grumpy Engineer

    Homeowners were left to drown

    This description by the People’s Policy Project of how various Obama policy decisions negatively impacted the net worth of African-American households seems pretty accurate. And they’re not even including the negative impacts of the Obama-initiated takeover of student loans by the US Department of Education:


    These numbers are brutal. And there’s been plenty of suffering in non-African-American communities, too. Just not quite as intense. There’s a reason so many people were disinclined to vote for “four more years with Hillary”, even if her opponent was an eminently unqualified and egotistical blow-hard.

    1. perpetualWAR

      Dear Grumpy,
      I begged my Democrat Governor for help during the foreclosure crisis.
      I begged my Democrat majority state legislature for help during the foreclosure crisis.
      When both of those branches of government failed me,
      I filed a lawsuit in the judiciary.

      What I found out: all three branches of government, I despise.
      I unregistered to vote after 35 years of not missing an election.
      I will never vote again.
      I will never own a home and be a taxpayer in that manner again.

      The end.

      1. mle detroit

        Are you renting? If so, you are paying property tax — on behalf of the landlord. The bill goes to the owner/landlord, who includes that tax, insurance, an estimate of expenses, and a profit, in addition to any mortgage principal and interest, in calculating your rent.

    2. The Rev Kev

      “Homeowners were left to drown”

      They weren’t left to drown. They were used to foam the runways for the banks with. Remember Timothy Geithner?

  2. Synoia

    Biden: “Guys, the wealthy are as patriotic as the poor. I know Bernie doesn’t like me saying that, but they are” [The Hill]. Impressive fealty to the donor class

    We are not discussing patriotism, we are discussing Greed.

    1. Massinissa

      But even on his own terms, its not true. The rich aren’t nearly as patriotic as the poor and middle class. If they were patriotic, they wouldn’t hide all their money overseas where it cant be taxed, even when we don’t even have that high of a tax on the wealthy anyway.

      1. Carolinian

        And hide their sons and daughters from fighting wars they so often advocate. Now that Biden has apparently decided he’s running he’s showing his true colors and they aren’t pretty.

        1. JB

          Biden is incredibly out of touch. The rich lobby for and exploit every tax loophole on the $ that they haven’t found a way to move or hide in a tax haven. They also lobby for wars with the objective to gain access to resources and markets in the aftermath, disregarding the death, misery, corruption, and destruction that results. Privatize the gains, socialize the losses…that is not respecting your country, it’s dishonorable.

        2. Procopius

          They never were pretty. I have not understood why there are highly paid political consultants who think he would be a good candidate, and then I remembered why they are highly paid.

    2. Quentin

      Now, according to credit-card/student loan Joe, it is unpatriotic to criticise the massive accruement by the 1%, to which he definitely belongs. No Joe, don’t deflect Bernie Sanders’ rightful criticism by impugning his character. No Joe, your character might then be considered questionable.

      1. Heraclitus

        Joe Biden does not, in fact, belong to the 1%, either in income or wealth.

        While he made just over $400,000 a year in 2016, that doesn’t put him in the 1%. He may have a negative net worth. In fact, if I were interviewing him for a job, I’d probably not hire him because he seems kind of financially incompetent. After all, he’s had a healthy government salary for a long, long time. Why didn’t he save more?

    3. False Solace

      If the rich are patriotic it’s to some other country. Or maybe they define patriotism in a way that excludes the rest of us — patriotic from a certain point of view — in service of piles of money and each other.

      Shipping all the factories overseas and laundering all wealth that can’t be nailed down ain’t how a patriot acts. (Remember that Greenwald book? I do. Feels like a long time ago, back when the elites pretended to care a little about surveillance and Constitutional rights, and proceeded to do nothing….)

  3. todde

    Biden: “Guys, the wealthy are as patriotic as the poor. I know Bernie doesn’t like me saying that, but they are” [The Hill]. Impressive fealty to the donor class.

    Cool, so they are down with a massive tax increase? Or a pay raise for Americans?

    1. Kevin

      patriotism….what is it exactly? besides being the easiest thing in the world to fake. Stick a flag pin on, throw a flag outside the doo = BOOM you’re Patriotic!

      1. polecat

        Re. Biden:

        … and buy your flunky son a way into even moar wealth, though the wonders of foreign collusion in the natgas-war($).
        … while the students you f#cked into penury, thru your malicious legislative intent, either resort to living at home with the old folks … or in a car, or tent, or on the street … waiting and bussing, and shooting-up …. cuz that’s all they got !

        But yeah Joe, your the real DEAL !

    2. Jen

      Or sending their progeny off to fight our endless wars so the mopes in flyover country can take a break?

      That’ll be the day….

    3. Geophrian

      They should be more patriotic. Our nation’s laws and institutions are designed for their benefit at the expense of the poor and middle class. This is their country, we just pay rent to live here.

  4. cojo

    As if under-funding and nursing shortages is not bad enough for the NHS, now physicians and potential physicians may now have this to fear. This sets a horrible precedent that I would have to imagine would make working as a physician in the UK torture for most.

    1. cojo

      Key quote:

      To be fair in cases such as Jack’s, it is not easy going after systems. The system is innominate and faceless. Who do you prosecute – Leicester Royal Infirmary? NHS England? The government? The taxpayer? It is easier going after individuals. It is easier believing that a particular doctor “killed” the child, than a system failed to save the child. Thus, a black, Muslim, female physician wearing a headscarf, who should have been the face of NHS’s glory became the face for all its failings.

  5. Synoia

    “Caitlin Alesio Maloney, Courage Campaign”

    This is bad (Koch brothers)

    Now they’ve pledged to spend an outrageous $400 million on the 2018 election.(1)

    The Kochs may have millions, but we have the Courageous Resistance, and we’re not going to let the Kochs defeat progressive candidates in November. Will you chip in $5 to Courage Campaign Super PAC to stand up against the Kochs?


    This is tiresome. Can you and your Courage Campaig cohorts be for something?

    For Medicare for All?
    For A proper income tax, which covers all income? pay, Wages, Capital Gains, Dividends, profits etc?

    What say you?

    1. Big River Bandido

      Eh. A mere $400 million?

      Hillary Clinton flushed over a billion dollars of corporate cash down the toilet in 2016. IIRC, that didn’t turn out too well for her.

  6. jsn

    “And if I own my data, then Google and Facebook need to pay me to use it, right?”

    Right there, you’ve solved the wealth distribution problem: Haygood’s Horsemen can support us all!

    1. Arizona Slim

      How ’bout something like the Permanent Fund that Alaska uses to share the benefits of oil revenue with its residents?

      1. jsn

        Norway has done that with its oil revenue to even greater benefit. But data is something anyone with a connection produces, it doesn’t depend on geological luck. Even if there was a 50% split between data producers and harvesters, the giant cash piles of Tech would be halved and we’d all be seeing a piece of it.

  7. Summer

    Interesting read – In light of recent discussions and political commentary:


    “Nowadays, they hitchhike on a Pax Americana rather than a Pax Britannica, but it is important to remember that small, globally orientated European countries such as Denmark, Sweden and Norway exist because the arrangement of world geopolitics leaves them a particular space in which to thrive. More than a century after they sold their colonies, the hitchhiking strategy still seems to be paying off.”

      1. JohnnyGL

        Keep in mind, they didn’t take this approach without trying to build an empire the old-fashioned way, first.

        Poland-Lithuania, Russia, Denmark-Norway all ganged up to put the Swedes in their place back in the early 1700s. St. Petersburg used to be Swedish at one time, you know, before it existed.


        1. jsn

          And it will only work so long as someone else is delivering the underlying, necessary force to keep other empires at bay.

        2. Oregoncharles

          The Swedish Vikings founded Russia, traveling up one river and down another to get to Constantinople. IIRC, “Rus” refers to them. Right up to the Revolution, the aristocrats claimed to be descended from the Vikings.

          Are you talking about Novgorod? It was a rival city to Moscow back at the beginning, in roughly the same area as St. Petersburg. I think the population was slavic, but it may well have also been founded by the Vikings. I believe it was the east end of the Hanseatic League of city-states, that included Amsterdam and extended along the whole S. coast of the Baltic Sea.

          1. Oregoncharles

            Correction: St. Petersburg was founded in an area Russia captured from the Swedes in the 1700’s. Novgorod was in between St. Pete and Moscow, founded much earlier, the 9th Century, and probably by the Vikings. The city still exists, a World Heritage Site.

    1. Arizona Slim

      I’m currently reading a book called The Afterlife of John Fitzgerald Kennedy by Michael Hogan. A summary of what I’ve learned so far:

      For about 10 years after his death, there was quite a bit of hagiography surrounding JFK and his family life. Then the truth started to leak out. Y’know, the affairs, the bumbling and fumbling of the Bay of Pigs, the slow-walking on civil rights, etc.

      After the truth started leaking out, JFK just wasn’t on that pedestal anymore. As for younger Americans, the Kennedys are a history lesson like FDR and Abraham Lincoln. There simply isn’t the same level of Kennedy veneration that there was 50 years ago.

      Interestingly enough, this book only mentions Aristotle Onassis in passing and doesn’t mention Chappaquiddick at all. That incident did a lot to demolish the Kennedy myth.

        1. Arizona Slim

          I also recommend another book, Senatorial Privilege, which was about how Chappaquiddick was handled.

          1. sd

            Far more interesting, the transcripts – originally ran in the Boston Globe and later published in book form – which most people do not read.

      1. tejanojim

        If Dan Carlin is to be believed, JFK probably prevented nuclear war during the Cuban Missile Crisis, mostly by standing up to his own generals and eventually throwing the Russians a bone. If true, I can forgive a lot of other faults.

        1. Duck1

          What about the massive conspiracy theory literature that followed the assassination? Seems like a missing piece to the JFK hagiography.

      2. John k

        I can’t think of a pres since I like better, granted carter has aged well.
        The affairs font bother me, not clear he could have thwarted cia re bay of pigs any better than he did.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > This is largely targeted at the young (like advertising) – less historical

      2018 – 2008 = 10 years is hardly historical, although maybe to the political class it is. I’m reminded of this passage from William Gibson’s Zero History:

      I suppose if you want to position Pharma Joe as a voice of a new generation, and you’re targeting voters who are 18 – 24, those voters were 10 and 16 when Obama ran his “hope and change” scam, and probably not politically conscious. Everything old is new again….

  8. marku52

    Hey! that’s my picture of the walking/biking path between Bullard’s Beach campground and the actual beach. In Bandon, OR. Inviting, it is.

    The OR coast–weather can be OK in summer. Once we were there in August and it was cloudy and howling wind the whole time. Always rainy and windy in the winter.

  9. diptherio

    RIP Gene Sharp


    The Albert Einstein Institution is greatly saddened to announce the passing of our founder, mentor, and friend Dr. Gene Sharp, who passed away peacefully on January 28, 2018, at his home in East Boston. He had recently celebrated his 90th birthday.

    Widely recognized by scholars, practitioners, organizers, and activists worldwide as the greatest theoretician of nonviolent action since Mohandas K. Gandhi, Sharp founded the field of academic research on the theory and strategic practice of nonviolent action.

    1. Dune Navigator

      Re: Gene Sharp
      “””Color””” revolutions, anyone?
      Good riddance!
      – Dune Navigator

      1. RabidGandhi

        Baseless slander. From an open letter signed by 138 academics (including Noam Chomsky, Daniel Ellsberg and Howard Zinn) defending Sharp from precisely the same groundless charge:

        Unlike some U.S.-funded “democracy-promotion” projects which assist pro-Western elites in top-down institution-building efforts and sophisticated political campaigns with the goal of seizing power, the Albert Einstein Institution, ICNC, CANVAS and related groups work primarily with grassroots activists who seek to empower civil society through nonviolent direct action regardless of their particular government’s relations with the United States.

        More fundamentally, these recent attacks against Dr. Sharp, the Albert Einstein Institution and similar groups represent a gross misunderstanding of the nature of strategic nonviolent action in the struggle for political freedom.

    1. Jen

      Must be fun to be Kamela Harris right now. First the Oprah boomlet, now team blue dips into the Kennedy pharm, er…., farm team.

      ID politics thing not working out?

  10. Darius

    Joe Kennedy repeats the Obama concept of politics as branding, as opposed to Bernie’s concept of politics as representing people and their interests. Kennedy is raising money for Obama’s Organizing for America. Tells you all you need to know.

      1. cocomaan

        One of a few. Cory Booker might have something to say about that.

        In a way, they did pick a kind of minority in Kennedy. He is a ginger, after all.

        1. Brandon

          See, I’ve heard of Cory Booker, never heard Joe Kennedy III prior to yesterday. Remember how Obama came out of left field? Enter Kennedy III stage left. Same set up, they’re trying the Obama playbook again, with a Kennedy. I’m sure they think that’s a sure win.

          1. cocomaan

            I see what you mean. But the obsession with dynasties is so silly.

            Trump is going to give him a nickname like “Vaseline Joe Kennedy”, though.

            1. integer

              I think I’ll have to go with: Joey “just a kiddy” Kennedy.
              Has a nice ring to it but might be too long.
              Maybe just: Joe “kiddy” Kennedy.

              Also, a baby kangaroo is called a joey. There’s a bit of potential there too.

          2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            What was the process for picking him, or anyone, to deliver a response?

            Did some group vote? Was money involved?

        2. Massinissa

          What Brandon said. I thought the Kennedy’s were gone when Ted died. Didn’t realize there were more hiding under the table

      2. Darthbobber

        At this point, they’re just trying to raise his profile. What it means beyond that depends on how many people look like saluting this flag. Trump, of course, has a 2-0 record against putative dynasties.

      3. Lambert Strether Post author

        I think the DNC is casting about for a candidate that clicks. We’ve seen a Harris boomlet (“She’s black and articulate!”), an Oprah boomlet (“She’s Oprah!”), and now the Kennedy boomlet (“He’s a Kennedy”!) Meanwhile, Uncle Joe swims, shark-like, beneath the surface, and Sanders pursues his own course.

        However, it is also crucial to consider the role of “investor blocs,” as Ferguson calls them. I’m not sure how to reverse engineer investor blocs out of the news flow in near-real time, since their money flow is deliberately obfuscated (although Ferguson has been able to clarify it after the fact).

        1. Darthbobber

          The existence of Sanders pursuing his own course remains a huge problem for them. It may be only 2018, but they’ve been able to put nary a dent in his support. And the hard core of it is both issue driven and vaccinated against the usual wedge tactics.

          If only he were a decade younger.

          They need ONE alternative early in the race, or they’ll wind up with centrists of varying costume carving up the available milquetoast votes between them.

          Of course they COULD try running an equally believable advocate of the substance of the Sanders agenda. But if they were ok with that, they’d have been ok with Sanders.

          1. Procopius

            I’d be happy to vote for Keith Ellison, but I suppose there’s no chance of that. I’d love to see a woman President, but none of the current likely possibilities really make it. Tulsi Gabbard comes close, but she was too supportive of regime change in Syria. The DNC/DCCC/DSCC/New Democrats/Third Way/Blue Dogs/DLC will fight to the death against anybody as liberal as Obama.

  11. Brandon

    Joe Biden’s backhand attempt to smear Bernie Sanders suggesting Sanders said the rich are unpatriotic is pathetic and obvious. Go home Joe.

    1. Carolinian

      Well maybe they are unpatriotic. And this could be an important difference from ruling classes in past plutocratic eras (although many of the 19th century robber barons skipped out on the Civil War). Exactly what sacrifices do our current elites make for the good of the country other than the taxes they so reluctantly pay? Lip service doesn’t count.

      1. JBird

        Part of being patriotic is the willingness to pay something of yourself for your country. In both America and Europe, a lot of the ruling elites would be veterans of the last war, and their children would serve in the next war, and not always in some safe position. This was one of the reasons the British (and I assume the French) were slow in opposing the Germans. Most of the ruling class had dead and wounded relatives. It’s one of the awful abilities of Hitler to get the Germans back into another major war so soon.

        Part of by patriotic is the willingness to pay for your country. As you alluded with the last Gilded Age’s Robber Barons, our current ruling class seems fine with all war all the time on everything as they, and their children, have nothing to fear. Heck, the growing security state does not even bother them much. How many Congresscritters or their families have to deal much with the TSA? Or worry about being stopped by the police or civil asset forfeiture or much else we might worry about? If they do, it’s not much. This War on Terror or the War on Drugs doesn’t inconvenience them.

        1. Carolinian

          I’d say this false patriotism of the elites is a major political vulnerability should anyone choose to exploit it. Ironically Bernie wasn’t that person (he seems a very tepid anti-imperialist). Which is not to say that “my country right or wrong” is a good attitude to have. But at least in the past the aristocrats put their butts on the line, showing they had allegiance to something other than just themselves. Winston Churchill for example–now known as a rather retrograde defender of empire–did fight in wars for that thing he cherished.

          1. JBird

            While patriotism is often the refuge of scoundrels, true patriotism whether good, or bad, is better than this endless, overwhelming seemingly virtuous love of the money over any true virtues. It’s like money is grace, grace from the Gods of the Free Market, able to cleanse, and redeem, the most awful of money hungry humans and make them without sin because they have the money. Meanwhile some priest, nun, monk, social worker, volunteer, and their charges the poor, sick, deranged, the suffering people are irredeemable monsters because they are poor. They have failed the Free Market Capitalist Gods.

            And while I am using, or trying to, humor, I really believe that deep in their withered hearts and souls that they believe this, that they are the chosen ones, the elect. Perhaps destined for Mars, or some orbital paradise, for that would explain their actions. Either that or that they are short sighted idiots. Both?

        2. Tom_Doak

          Not long after 9/11, I was traveling out of Cincinnati / N Kentucky, and the guy in front of me in the TSA had on a suit and a World Series ring. It was Senator Jim Bunning. The look on his face while having to go through all of the TSA screening was priceless, but he didn’t try to pull rank.

          Of course, that was before CLEAR and TSA pre-check and all the ways you can buy your way out of being treated like a commoner in line.

    2. Mark P.

      Well maybe they are unpatriotic.’

      It’s not even debatable. Wall Street and the 0.1 percent have via just the GFC done far more damage to far more American citizens than al-Qaeda.

      1. redleg

        Al Qaeda’s strategy for fighting the US was/is economic, and a model for anyone who wants to or must fight a technologically and logistically superior foe. Slowly bleed off resources until civil unrest happens back in the homeland.
        C.F. Great Britain and USSR each in Afghanistan (ahem), France and USA in Vietnam, France in Haiti, etc.

        1. JBird

          So al-Qaeda is winning.

          Bozo me knew this when President Shrub was still in office. Not because I’m some genius but because I read more than once about bin Laden saying he wanted the United States to attack and get quagmired. And then I thought about what happened to the Soviet Union when it fought and lost the Soviet-Afghanistan War…

          There were entire books already written halfway through Bush’s Administration, not to mention all the articles before saying we should not invade and, if we must, here is what to do and not do. Heck, the State Department had detailed plans on post invasion occupation. But no. All the do’s were ignored and all the don’ts done and those detailed plans ignored.

          There were endless numbers of Cassandras wanting to explain, to advise our leaders, but you do have to be humble enough to listen to others; it also helps to honest about the costs. These masters of the universe did neither.

          And we’re still there.

          1. JBird

            Honestly, I know nearly nothing about France and Algeria and so I cannot write anything worth reading.

  12. Steve H,

    > opt-out

    The phrase came up moments ago, when a meter reader from the electric company and I had a chat about smartmeters. He said he’d got one and his bill went up 60 bucks. I said why are you telling me this, you’re not supposed to understand where you’re getting your paycheck from etc. He said, one foot out the door, only two human meter-readers left in the city (popn 100k about). ?! Yeah, it’s 80% turned over to smartmeters, he tried to get his taken out & none of that happened. Only 20 people left on his route in the neighborhood.

    So I realized I’ve reason to be grateful, I sat on the phone for opting out, which is not my happy place. We were noping on the meters on multiple dimensions, and I actually had an effective moment for changing something that needed changing, at least within my locus of control.

    1. Mark P.

      Interesting. Thank you for this.

      It’s something I absolutely expected, but not quite as soon as this. Yet really, why not? It’s 2017.

  13. Summer

    “For a few thousand bucks, Detroit police will give a business higher 911 priority” [Boing Boing]. Nice little business you’ve got there….

    Not surprising at all. Maybe they are making official and public something that has already been going on?

    1. ambrit

      This is the financialization of that olde tyme protection racket called ‘policing.’
      Next, the City does a ‘public private’ ‘reform’ of the process by hiring the more mainstream gangs to do the collection and enforcement. A jobs program for hoods! If I were more religious, I’d say that the “Second Coming” of the Phoenician Baals was just around the corner.

    2. JBird

      The Chicago Police Department wants to have the owner install a surveillance system that connects directly to the department for which the owner has to pay for and yearly fees in the thousands of dollars. The city itself wants, if it hasn’t already, make it illegal to be open for business outside certain hours and locations. The police claim that any serious, by their definition of “serious,” will be answered as quickly as before so don’t worry.

      So extorting extra city taxes and police bribes disguised as users fees, with increased surveillance of private property (without a warrant) and possible population control using “public safety” as the reason; the business owners least able to pay for police protection will be the ones who will need it most and it will increase direct police surveillance on people mostly because they are poor (owners, employees, and employees) and therefore probable criminals.

        1. witters

          It is what the libertarian Robert Nozick called a Dominant Protection Agency, and is what he claimed was the foundation of the only legitimate state there could be, for only it respected people’s rights not to be taxed and the monies redistributed. To do this was to violate the rights of the rich and to turn them into state slaves. The poor meanwhile could just literally die, or, if lucky, could “consent” to slavery.

        2. JBird

          Well, if the shoe fits…


          Although the city and police actually might be fooling themselves into thinking that they are not extortioners and spys as it does fit the feel good good guys narrative.

          1. JBird

            The narrative has been problematic since at least Prohibition when Al Capone domesticated the whole system as one would a dog in Chicago. Anyways, I was referring to the police’s own internal narrative that justifies to themselves their actions, and not the public’s narrative for the police’s actions.

            Edit: lt’s Detroit. My mistake.

  14. FreeMarketApologist

    “while architects are laying out office and residential buildings with space for stacking up packages and delivery lockers”

    The building I live in (NYC, 200+ apartments) is spending a pile of money to remodel and add storage space to the front desk / mail room area to handle the mountain of packages that arrive daily, far more than were ever planned for when the building went up (circa 1964). I’m regularly surprised at the amount of stuff that shows up all afternoon and evening long.

    But some form of this has been around a long time: remember the metal containers on the back porch where the milkman delivered milk and butter every week? But now we have everything delivered.

    1. perpetualWAR

      Think of all the extra packaging that requires. I get sick…..

      Yet, we worry about plastic straws?

      I’d say stop Amazons delivery and the planet would be a healthier place.

      1. polecat

        I think the home world will win out, eventually …

        Just in time for the next up-n-coming dominant species : the raccoonoids.

    2. Lemmy Caution

      Growing up our house had a compartment built into the exterior wall next to the back door, like a small kitchen cabinet, but with doors on the outside and inside. The milkman would leave deliveries in it each morning — milk, butter, eggs, etc — and pick up the glass bottle empties and the little checklist with the next day’s order on it. Seemed like a pretty good system.

      1. The Rev Kev

        These days some Silicon Valley bright boy would come up with an app for that and thereby jam financialization in there for both ends which would have the customers and milkman doing all the actual work (plus the extra work using the app) while paying exorbitant fees to the app’s firm. Millennials would love it for being the future and being so “convenient”.

        1. Lemmy Caution

          Right. The App would require you to input daily consumption of said dairy and poultry products so that inventories could be monitored and the next just-in-time delivery could be scheduled. As a backup, the app syncs with the house’s smart fridge, which would monitor supplies and send alerts to the homeowner when supplies run low. For emergency situations, the system also triggers expedited drone deliveries — if you run low on eggs while whipping up a souffle, for example.
          Call it something like “Culinapp” and the pitch to the VCs practically writes itself!

      2. Oregoncharles

        My grandmother’s house, built in 1908, had a coal chute and storage room in the basement. It also had a system for generating acetylene gas for lights – put in just before electricity made it obsolete. Fascinating place, that basement.

  15. FreeMarketApologist

    I like the FSF, and am glad they got some cash, but I hope they convert that 91.45 BTC to dollars real soon, as it’s only worth about $914,499. at this point.

    1. PlutoniumKun

      Thanks for the link – I haven’t the time now to watch the full thing, but I think a few people have pointed out that a successful Medicare for All would have major negative job implications on such a bloated sector if it was successful. Lots of people (e.g those working in private insurance) would lose their jobs, not to mention the vast administrative apparatus in private hospitals. So if it was done quickly and ‘cleanly’, then it would be very deflationary on the national economy and especially in some regional economies.

      But I suspect in the real political world it would be less so. It would probable have to be phased in over time (maybe by lowering the age of eligibility), but most importantly there would be cash thrown at certain sectors to keep them on board. A now deceased in law who was one of a family of doctors in the UK said that when the NHS was created his family had a huge rise in income. There was a lot of opposition from medical representative bodies and they were in effect bought off in order to accept the NHS. Local doctors wages were benchmarked to prosperous middle class areas – in reality most doctors at the time were earning a lot less. I would imagine a lot of little deals like that would have to be done to get it implemented.

      1. Darthbobber

        The push for the NHS was helped along by the war, the blitz, and the aftermath thereof. Delivering healthcare at all to the population under those conditions had already led to an ad hoc quasi-nationalization, and in the immediate aftermath of the war, there wasn’t a thriving private much of anything to be greatly threatened.

        1. Mark P.

          there wasn’t a thriving private much of anything to be greatly threatened.

          While there was a returning army — and a home population that had undergone that blitz, severe deprivation, ad hoc quasi-nationalization, etc. — who expected some payoff for their sacrifices other than going back to the pre-war SOS.

          Sensibly, too, they started by voting Churchill out straightaways.

        2. PlutoniumKun

          The political situation was certainly ripe for reform, but that is to grossly underestimate the power of the medical establishment at the time, which was conservative and quite hostile to the concept of the NHS – and this includes poorer, more socially inclined doctors, as they feared the loss of their independence. They had an absolute veto power over it – they could simply have not co-operated. Its easy sometimes with hindsight to overlook the real barriers. It was the offer of raw cash that persuaded them otherwise. My in-law reckoned his family income doubled overnight when the NHS came in. If anything, dentists did even better.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If Medicare for All is free of premiums, free of deductibles and co-pays, is entirely paid for by the government, that would be new money for the economy.

      Anyone paying a premium, to visit a doctor or to get medicine, would have extra money to spend.

      And it’s possible there would another round of corporate bonuses to workers.

  16. allan

    Corporate raider and presidential adviser Carl Icahn pushes Xerox into the arms of Fujifilm.
    Xerox workers in Norwalk, CT, and Rochester, NY, know what’s coming,
    despite the the MBA word salad from the CEO in the video.

    America First for me but not for thee.

  17. Summer

    The Bezzle: Re: Driverless Cars and Future…
    “Real-estate developers and architects are thinking about a driverless future today because many of the structures and streets they’re designing will still be around decades from now.”

    This is funny “sad.” But I’ll bet the infrastructure used by “property” (driverless cars) will not have issues with getting funding for repairs and maintenance.

    1. Darthbobber

      Yes. They are known for the long-term perspective they so consistently bring to the built environment. If by long-term one means long enough to be paid in full.

  18. Lee


    Yamiche Alcindor on PBS Newshour:

    “The social media companies haven’t figured out how Russia impacted the last election, so it’s pretty understandable that the Russians could influence the midterms.” Say whaaat?

    1. Synoia

      I;m positive that’s correct.

      As could all the US Billionaires, yes to the Koch Bros, I’m looking at you. Soroslly!

    2. Jen

      It’s a game everyone can play! No matter which team of squillionaire’s toadies, wins, the opposition can blame the Russians.

  19. George Phillies

    “…the depth of Republican vulnerability…”

    If you look at CNN’s pretty picture, and assume that their “lean” assignments are correct, the Republicans keep control of the House.

    If you propose that all Congressional seats will flip to the party that carried them for President in 2016, the Democrats pick up 23 seats, the Republicans pick up 11 seats, and nothing happens to House control.

    Finally, saying that people are more or less patriotic because they are rich or poor is a terrible idea, another brick in the road that we marched down once before, as described by Potter in The Impending Crisis.

  20. integer

    Re: Trey Gowdy

    I predict that after retiring from Congress he will take over from Sessions as Attorney General. My take on Gowdy is that he is sharp as a razor and honest to a fault.

    1. 3.14e-9

      Gowdy does seem honest, in a goofy sort of way. He was a total embarrassment in the Benghazi hearings, unable to outsmart Hillary, but he redeemed himself during the Comey hearings. I watched the entire five hours of the March 20 Comey testimony and thought Gowdy was one of the best interrogators. No one was able to get past Comey’s stonewalling, but Gowdy asked good questions, and by refusing to answer in any meaningful way (I counted 100 variations of “no comment” in his responses), Comey came off looking like he was deliberately hiding something. Of course, Hillary supporters by then already had decided he was a hero, so I guess my impression was highly subjective, but there it is.

      The above notwithstanding, I expect Gowdy, if he does take over from Sessions as you suggest, will not stray far from the party line, if at all.

      1. polecat

        If, in fact, Gowdy becomes the replacement for Sessions, what might, one wonders, the results be, if say, he strayed, and stumbled over a Pot Party line ?

        Would he ditch the brilcreem and don tiedie??

      2. integer

        I watched the Gowdy v. Clinton part of the Benghazi hearings, amongst others. I disagree that Clinton outsmarted him, although the fact that it was a public hearing was obviously a limiting factor. Perhaps I will watch it again though, and see if my view on this has changed. In any case, while we’re on the topic, have you watched his interrogation of John Brennan? Loretta Lynch? Jonathon Gruber? Great stuff imo. I like Gowdy, which is not to say I’m in agreement with all of his politics.

        1. integer

          And seeing Clinton has come up:

          Clinton to drop Israel from ‘public’ speeches, put it back in ‘with donors’ — email Mondoweiss

          That’s a smoking gun email. It says just what Stephanie Schriock of Emily’s List and J.J. Goldberg said at J Street earlier this year, the role of Jewish donors on the Democratic side is “gigantic” and “shocking.” And those Jewish donors are seen as pro-Israel all the time, by folks who study politics.

          But meantime, Robby Mook says just what we’ve been saying here for a couple of years: the lobby has lost the Democratic base on Israel. Young Dems, people of color, women — they’re more sympathetic to Palestinians than Israelis. Don’t mention Israel with dem activists.

          So the system really is rigged. They don’t want to hear from the people on this.

          From late 2016.

    2. Sam Adams

      4th circuit Court of Appeals Judge. Watch. This one lays his own trail of slime to slither into a guaranteed lifetime on the gubmint teat.

  21. 3.14e-9

    In Bird Songs …

    Vocal learning is the ability to imitate and learn sounds you hear that you weren’t born producing.

    Like this? **


    Kate Bush, always in the vanguard, came out of a 12-year hiatus in 2005 to produce, Aerial. The cover looks like reflections on the water, but it’s actually the sound waveform of blackbird song.

    ** I couldn’t find a video without user-created graphics. This is the least intrusive. It’s short and segues into the next track.

    1. polecat

      I was out in the chicken run the other morning, doing my daily poop pick-up (the hens – not mine), to deposit into the compost bin, when I heard a rapter cry close by, and looking upward, realized it was one of the resident stellars jays, sitting on a tree branch, doing the big mock.
      I was quite impressed – he had it down pat !

  22. Richard

    Did anyone notice the fealty to the Russia narrative in Sanders’ reply? Or maybe he really believes the stuff, who knows? I agree with him in so many fundamental ways, and such a letdown to hear those words pass his lips.

  23. integer

    More signs of a D party aligned oligarch war breaking out:

    Democrats lashed Facebook and Twitter for not fully investigating if Russian bots spread the #ReleasetheMemo campaign Recode

    Top Democratic lawmakers slammed Facebook and Twitter on Wednesday for dodging new questions about Russian efforts to spread propaganda on their platforms.

    For Rep. Adam Schiff and Sen. Dianne Feinstein, their continued concerns center on the #ReleaseTheMemo campaign. The hashtag, popular at times on Twitter, calls attention a still-secret report produced by congressional Republicans that its leaders say shows abuse of power at the FBI.

    Beyond doubting its credibility, Democrats remain fearful that Kremlin-aligned bots and trolls on major social media platforms have sought to amplify and spread #ReleaseTheMemo — all in a bid to discredit the Justice Department’s investigation into Russia’s meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Earlier this month, Schiff and Feinstein wrote to demand Facebook and Twitter conduct a full investigation. On Wednesday, though, the lawmakers said they are dissatisfied with the tech giants’ replies — and demanded that they look more closely…

    Facebook’s short response merely said that it is “committed to protecting our platform from bad actors who try to undermine our democracy,” while suggesting that #ReleaseTheMemo largely proliferated on Twitter.

    That didn’t sit well with Schiff and Feinstein, who charged on Wednesday that Facebook had failed “to indicate whether the company has conducted any analysis of the issue we raised concerning possible Russian-affiliated attempts to amplify calls to release a misleading, classified memo written by Republican staff.”

    Twitter, meanwhile, offered a more lengthy reply, stressing that its “initial inquiry, based on available data, has not identified any significant activity connected to Russia with respect to tweets posting original content to this hashtag.” It also pointed to the fact that #ReleaseTheMemo had been spread by “several prominent, verified U.S. accounts” — including President Donald Trump’s own son, though the company didn’t name him.

    Twitter further questioned the methodology behind the German Marshall Fund’s work, noting that the organization does not publish the list of accounts it tracks — so it can’t review them as part of an investigation.

    The D party has totally lost control of their bs Russiagate narrative. Ha!

  24. allan

    Families for Excellent Schools CEO fired after investigation into ‘inappropriate behavior’ [Politico]

    Jeremiah Kittredge, the CEO of the pro-charter school group Families for Excellent Schools, has been fired following an “independent investigation” into “inappropriate behavior toward a non-employee,” …

    The group is one of the best-funded charter advocacy organizations in the country. It received more than $13 million from the Walton Family Foundation between 2014 and 2016 alone. It has become omnipresent in New York over the last several years, and has served as an unofficial lobbying arm for Success Academy, one of the nation’s highest-performing and most influential charter school networks.

    Kittredge helped to create the group and served as its founder for several years, earning a spot on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list. …

    Multiple sources in Massachusetts have criticized Kittredge’s management style and said that his brash, overly confident approach caused them to leave education reform altogether.

    And Kittredge has become an increasingly unpopular figure among his colleagues in New York, who have said he doesn’t have the experience or credentials to lead on education reform.

    But he has been seen as a darling of the nation’s top charter donors, particularly Wall Street financiers and hedge fund managers. He is a close ally of Success Academy CEO Eva Moskowitz.

    A spokesman for Mosokwitz said she wouldn’t comment on Kittredge’s firing.

    As well she might. From 2015:

    … Success Academy has rescheduled classes to boost attendance at rallies organized by Families for Excellent Schools and provided transportation so families can attend.

    The network’s founder, Eva Moskowitz, is a longtime foe of de Blasio and the teachers unions.

    But Success Academy officials have always maintained their independence from Families for Excellent Schools, whose aggressive efforts to lobby for charters have made the group both friends and enemies. …

  25. integer

    House intel committee releases transcript of contentious meeting over surveillance memo Fox

    Here’s a link to a PDF of the transcript.

    I just finished reading it. It basically consists of the D party faction of the House Intelligence Committee desperately trying every tactic they can think of to stop, or at least delay, the Nunes memo from being released. Schiff and co. also try, and fail, to have their “minority memo” released at the same time. Apart from Nunes, the author of the memo, my understanding is that Gowdy and Schiff are the only two in the HIC who have read all the primary intelligence documents that the memo is based on. I certainly know who I trust out of those two.

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