2:00PM Water Cooler 2/12/2018

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Trade

“WTO outlook indicator: global trade growth to stay above-trend” [Reuters]. “”‘Growth is still above trend,’ WTO economist Coleman Nee told Reuters. ‘The recovery of 2017 seems to be extending into the first quarter of 2018 at least, based on things like strong export orders, strong air freight and container shipping and other indicators. So it seems like there hasn’t been any slackening of momentum.’ The strongest component of the index was container port throughput at 104.3, its highest score since the WTO began publishing the indicator.”

“A living-dead trade deal? One possible outcome is that Trump will negotiate a deal that he is unable to get Congress to approve, similar to former President Barack Obama’s experience with the Trans-Pacific Partnership, [Scott Miller, a trade policy specialist at the Center for Strategic and International Studies] said. That could lead to a scenario where Trump technically withdraws from the deal but none of the three countries change their tariff structure, creating a sort of ‘zombie’ NAFTA, he added” [Politico].

Politics

2018

“Although various surveys report different results, the generic ballot probably now sits in the mid-single digits, in the 5- to 8-point range” [Stuart Rothenberg, Roll Call]. “And the generic ballot is just one measure of the two parties’ strengths during the cycle, which is why any analysis of the cycle should look at multiple indicators: including multiple poll questions, fundraising numbers, measures of enthusiasm, candidate recruitment and district-level survey data in competitive seats. So, watch the generic ballot, but don’t become a prisoner to it.”

“Progressives storm Democratic primaries” [Politico]. “Progressive insurgents are launching challenges to Democratic members of Congress in some of the country’s bluest districts, sparked by deep frustration with the party establishment and anti-Trump anger. Most of the challengers are long shots at the moment. But some are putting a scare into entrenched incumbents, thanks to their muscular fundraising and a message of liberal disaffection on issues including Wall Street, criminal justice reform and single-payer health care.” Note the squishiness of “progressive” and “liberal.” If indeed the left is challenging incumbents, that’s good. It would be even better if the left was challenging in races the Democrats need to win to flip the House (or Senate). I need to survey the individual races.

“Hillary Clinton, a favorite GOP foil, plans discreet 2018 strategy” [WaPo]. I can’t think why.

2016 Post Mortem

Clinton: “Love this“:

Ka-ching.

Obama Legacy

“[Robert Schenkkan’s two plays about LBJ] capture an important lesson about presidential history: that it is possible for the country’s top leader to be an incredibly effective policymaker yet fail politically at building a governing coalition that outlasts them. The costs of this kind of political failure are severe because it leaves everything a president built open to attack. It also leaves little room for continued growth. LBJ saw that happen when Richard Nixon took office in 1968, and now Obama is witnessing the same thing, even worse, with President Trump” [The Atlantic].

“OBAMA’S LOST ARMY” [The New Republic]. “As we now know, that grand vision for a postcampaign movement never came to fruition. Instead of mobilizing his unprecedented grassroots machine to pressure obstructionist lawmakers, support state and local candidates who shared his vision, and counter the Tea Party, Obama mothballed his campaign operation, bottling it up inside the Democratic National Committee. It was the seminal mistake of his presidency—one that set the tone for the next eight years of dashed hopes, and helped pave the way for Donald Trump to harness the pent-up demand for change Obama had unleashed.”

New Cold War

“Exclusive: CIA Ex-Director Brennan’s Perjury Peril” [RealClearPolitics]. “House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes next plans to investigate the role former CIA Director John Brennan and other Obama intelligence officials played in promoting the salacious and unverified Steele dossier on Donald Trump — including whether Brennan perjured himself in public testimony about it. In his May 2017 testimony before the intelligence panel, Brennan emphatically denied the dossier factored into the intelligence community’s publicly released conclusion last year that Russia meddled in the 2016 election ‘to help Trump’s chances of victory… Several Capitol Hill sources say Brennan, a fiercely loyal Obama appointee, talked up the dossier to Democratic leaders, as well as the press, during the campaign. They say he also fed allegations about Trump-Russia contacts directly to the FBI, while pressuring the bureau to conduct an investigation of several Trump campaign figures starting in the summer of 2016.” “Several Capitol Hill sources, parties unstated,” to be fair.


Stats Watch

No official data today.

Commodities: “The turnaround in raw materials prices is bringing pain to U.S. factories. Rising costs for the basic building blocks of industry production—including steel, aluminum, copper and resin—have manufacturing companies weighing whether they can pass higher prices along the supply chain or accept lower profit margins” [Wall Street Journal].

Shipping: “With the flourishing of e-commerce, product returns have become even more nettlesome for today’s global supply chain managers” [Logistics Management]. “Tony Sciarrotta, [Reverse Logistics Association’s] executive director, maintains that with the return rate of e-commerce purchases being three to four times higher than that for brick-and-mortar purchases, the reverse sector is only going to grow in future years.” I wonder why that is. Could be because, with no human interaction, people feel less committed to the deal? Or is it only “the Amazon Effect” (whatever that really is)?

Shipping: “Sea container imports expected to grow 4.9 percent in first half of 2018, NRF-Hackett report says” [DC Velocity] (and see below at Honey for the Bears). “The 11 U.S. ports covered by Global Port Tracker handled 1.72 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) in December, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers are available. As expected, the number was down 2.1 percent from November, since most holiday merchandise was already in the country by then, the report said. However, the December volume was up 8.4 percent year over year.”

Shipping: “The big winners in rising U.S. shipping prices may be the freight middlemen. Financial results from third-party brokers that connect shippers to trucking fleets show revenues and profits turning sharply upward, the WSJ’s Erica E. Phillips reports, as growing economic demand and tight capacity sends companies rushing to find shipping space” [Wall Street Journal].

Labor Power: “Lawler: Will Average Hourly Earnings Growth Decelerate Over the Next Two Months?” [Calculated Risk]. “In its Employment Report for January the BLS reported that average hourly earnings of all private non-farm employees was $26.74 (seasonally adjusted) last month, up 2.9% from a year earlier….What few folks have mentioned, however, is that the YOY increase in average hourly earnings for production and non-supervisory workers in the non-farm sector last month was just 2.43%, virtually unchanged from December’s YOY gain. Obviously, these data imply that the YOY increase in ‘supervisory’ workers accelerated significantly last month, and in fact that was the case…. Moreover, ‘outsized’ (significantly above trend) gains in the [Average Hourly Earnings] of supervisory workers have tended to be followed by below-trend increases over the subsequent two months. If history is any guide, that will be the case in the next two monthly reports.” From Mr. Market’s Perspective; “Calm down, the wage increase really was a blip.” From the worker’s perspective: “Averages conceal. Where’s mine?”

Stimulus: “[The spending bill] alone could add maybe 2% to nominal GDP” [Mosler Economics]. “How much real output it adds is another question, of course.” Since our sclerotic economy allocates capital to things like hand-crafted fighter jets that catch on fire, or Juicero, or houses that fall apart after twenty years. Similar to trade; “the economy” didn’t do all that badly on aggregate demand, which is why imports increased, because we outsourced manufactutring (and why transport and real estate for distribution centers are doing well).

Infrastructure: “President Donald Trump unveiled his long-awaited infrastructure plan Monday, in which the administration aims to spend $200 billion in federal funds to spur at least $1.5 trillion in infrastructure investments with state, local and private partners” [MarketWatch]. “Analysts at Height Securities put the odds of Congress passing infrastructure legislation this year at just 15%. ‘Because infrastructure policy will require 60 votes in the Senate, and because Republicans hold only 51 seats, we are highly skeptical that the Administration’s plan can garner the necessary support to become law,’ said a note from Height on Monday.” So, the currency issuer isn’t going to do it; and $200 billion is pissant. It would be hilarious if what amounts to Trump’s stimulus package in 2018 turns out to be as pathetically inadequate as Obama’s in 2009.

Infrastructure: “The Trump administration’s infrastructure push is beginning. President Donald Trump is set to unveil a program today that aims to transform the way the nation’s infrastructure is funded and developed, but … the initiative faces an uncertain road in Congress over finding the money to pay for it. Mr. Trump will propose spending $200 billion in federal funds over 10 years, most of which will come in the form of grants that encourage states and cities to raise their own funds for improving infrastructure” [Wall Street Journal]. “The plan will also expand the size and scope of existing federal loan programs for building rails, airports, highways and water systems. There’s no agreement on where the initial new funding comes from, however, and the recent two-year spending deal that Congress agreed to may complicate things. Analysts say that could relieve pressure on lawmakers to produce a big infrastructure initiative this year, even as shipping groups try to keep the pressure on.”

The Bezzle: “Insider trading has been rife on Wall Street, academics conclude” [The Economist]. “INSIDER-TRADING prosecutions have netted plenty of small fry. But many grumble that the big fish swim off unharmed. That nagging fear has some new academic backing, from three studies. One argues that well-connected insiders profited even from the financial crisis.* The others go further still, suggesting the entire share-trading system is rigged.** Holy moley!

The Bezzle: “Weighing the Regulatory Risk at Wells Fargo” [Barron’s]. “But can Wells Fargo put the scandals well behind it? S&P Global Ratings cut its rating on Wells to A- from A last week, noting that the regulatory risk ‘is more severe than we previously expected and the process for improving its governance and operational risk policies may take longer than we previously expected.’ And changing the bank’s culture might be a difficult task, given its long history of pushing sales volume and cross-selling. Wells Fargo’s former CEO, John Stumpf, promoted ‘eight is great’ as an internal mantra: Every bank customer should have a total of eight Wells Fargo accounts, cards, and loans. It was a high bar for the bank’s branch salespeople.” Crikey! Eight?!

The Bezzle: “‘This Airbnb displaced 5 people’: Here’s the story behind that photo that spread on Facebook” [Times-Picayune]. “Airbnb critics say residents are being pushed out as property owners trade reliable income from long-term tenants with greater, if less certain, income from tourists. Proponents say Airbnb provides homeowners and renters with extra cash to pay the rising costs of living in New Orleans.”

The Bezzle: “Airbnb income now pays off when you refinance your mortgage” Maybe! [Cnet]. “Income from your Airbnb rental may soon help you refinance the mortgage on your primary home. A new initiative from Airbnb with Fannie Mae and three major financial institutions will let some mortgage lenders consider income from Airbnbs for applicants looking to refinance their home. The initiative will allow Airbnb hosts in the US to include their Airbnb Proof of Income, along with their application and other standard financial information when they apply to refinance their mortgage with Quicken Loans, Citizens Bank or Better Mortgage. Banks didn’t previously consider money received for an Airbnb as part of an applicant’s total income.”

The Bezzle: “Tech companies are the new investment banks” [Financial Times]. “The much-lauded overseas “cash” pile held by the richest American companies, a treasure that Republicans cited as the key reason they passed their ill-advised tax “reform” plan, is actually a giant bond portfolio.” Big if true!

Mr. Market: “Dow up triple digits, as focus shifts to Trump’s infrastructure plan” [MarketWatch].

Honey for the Bears: “A strong wind is expected to continue blowing on the economic seas in the first half of 2018 but could recede for the full year, based on the most recent edition of the Port Tracker report, which was released late last week by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and maritime consultancy Hackett Associates” [Logistics Management]. “[T]he report said it is calling for the first half of 2018 to be up 4.9% annually at 10.3 million TEU. That figure is slightly ahead of its estimate for all of 2018, which is expected to be closer to half of 2017’s growth pace and come in around 4%…. Hackett said he is keeping an eye on global PMI (Purchasing Manager Index) readings, which indicate things are slowing down and suggest slower sales are coming through in the U.S. and China, among other nations.”

The Fed: “Inflation expectations of consumers declined in January, according to a New York Fed survey released Monday that conflicts with how markets are assessing price developments” [MarketWatch]. “The survey of consumer expectations showed median inflation expectations fell by 0.1% to 2.7% on the one-year horizon. The three-year horizon also slipped 0.1% to 2.8%. The consumer assessment comes at a time when markets are pricing in frothier inflation.”

Rapture Index: Closes up one on The Economy. “The markets have dropped sharply in the past few days” [Rapture Ready]. Record high, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 186.

Five Horsemen: “Apple bounces in morning trade as Facebook slumps” [Hat Tip, Jim Haygood].

Five Horsemen Feb 12 2018

Today’s Fear & Greed Index: 10 Extreme Fear (previous close: 8, Extreme Fear) [CNN]. One week ago: 40 (Fear). (0 is Extreme Fear; 100 is Extreme Greed. Last updated Feb 8 at 7:00pm. Still lagged, WTF!

Neoliberal Epidemics

“Failing health of the United States” [British Medical Journal]. “Ironically, leaders are outspoken about ending the opioid epidemic and bemoan spiraling and unsustainable healthcare costs. Solutions to both problems—which involve investment to support struggling families and communities and thereby improve public health—are often rejected, usually by leaders with competing self interests or ideological objections. The consequences of these choices are dire: not only more deaths and illness but also escalating healthcare costs, a sicker workforce, and a less competitive economy. Future generations may pay the greatest price.”

“Inequity aversion is observed in common marmosets but not in marmoset models of autism induced by prenatal exposure to valproic acid” [ScienceDirect]. Hmm…

Class Warfare

There’s a well-known movie about the privatization of space:

“Why American Workers Aren’t Getting A Raise: An Economic Detective Story” [Jonathan Tepper]. A very good compilation with lots of charts.

That VW ad about the giant meteor used to sell an SUV:

A TV ad whose premise is that a giant meteor is about to strike the earth seems like a strong zeitgeist indicator; it’s also a strong zeitgeist indicator that the young couple protagonists in the ad rush to fill the back of the car with consumer goods…

“According to Credit Suisse data over the past three years, anywhere from 4 to 10 percent of the world’s poorest decile are Americans. That’s 20 to 50 million adults. It’s likely that many of them are only temporarily in debt, and that they have a much better chance than a third-world villager to climb out of poverty. But it’s just as likely that they’ll be replaced by other impoverished Americans, especially with an aging population woefully unprepared for retirement, and with the great majority of new job prospects temporary or contract-based, without security or benefits” [Common Dreams],

News of the Wired

“Selling violent video game solutions: A look inside the APA’s internal notes leading to the creation of the APA’s 2005 resolution on violence in video games and interactive media” [ScienceDirect]. “Given inconsistencies in the data, it may be important to understand the ways and the reasons why professional organizations take a stance on the violent video game effects debate which may reflect greater expressed certitude than data can support.”

“Bob Ross Plus Google’s DeepDream A.I. Is Utterly Terrifying” [Utne Reader]. “[C]ould even an artificial intelligence be alien enough to pervert the peaceful, soothing imagery of the great Bob Ross? A new video titled ‘Deeply Artificial Trees,’ which applies DeepDream to every frame of a Bob Ross video, proves that the answer to this question is, well, yes. Good grief, yes. Further, it even applies the technique to the audio — making the experience truly nightmarish.”

“This Debater Can Talk Twice as Fast as You Can” [Wall Street Journal].

Yes, I could tallk fast, too (though not that fast), but for me debate was about skills I’ve used my whole life long: Research, framing an argument, rhetoric, critical thinking, mental toughness. That’s why — IMNSHO — your children, if you have them, should go out for debate, not to learn speed-talking! Do better, WSJ!

* * *

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 (Chuck Roast):

Chuck Roast write: “This is a bit of lichen found on a 1664 grave in Newport.”

* * *

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

Donate

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
Tweet about this on TwitterDigg thisShare on Reddit0Share on StumbleUpon0Share on Facebook0Share on LinkedIn0Share on Google+0Buffer this pageEmail this to someone
This entry was posted in Guest Post, Water Cooler on by .

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.

112 comments

  1. nippersmom

    It was the seminal mistake of his presidency—one that set the tone for the next eight years of dashed hopes,

    Why does the author assume this was a “mistake” and not the intended action and result?

    Reply
    1. WheresOurTeddy

      Seminal mistake, planned and expected bait-and-switch, tomatoes tom-AH-toes.

      Usually after the con man leaves town with your money, you at least realize your money is gone and you’ve been had…

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I’ve grown convinced this is wrong. The idea of being conned is so hateful to a person they will find the con man and send him more money in an effort to prove they made a smart investment.

        Reply
        1. clinical wasteman

          That insight is worth a hundredthousandweight of op-ed pulp.
          Incidentally supported by UK circus sideshow: Blair re-elected twice, even Cameron once for no other obvious reason; unelected successors each left hanging like … a parliament.

          Reply
      2. Bugs Bunny

        It felt more like a “wow I have a new boyfriend” moment that quickly became “oh I guess it was a one night stand”… 😔

        Reply
    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      Obama announced Rahm as Chief of Staff the day after the election. A few days later he rescued Joe Lieberman.

      Granted, I was never a fan of the greatest orator of our age, but looking at Obama, besides pointless rhetoric he was a disaster from day one for the Obama coalition of voters. The problems with the previous Administration were there, but mindless followers shouted “No Drama, Obama” as loud as possible when they weren’t calling the left racist for pointing out there problems.

      The hagiographers who have theirs are searching for anything nice to say about 44, and there isn’t much to say that is nice. The disappearance of OFA wasn’t discovered in recent days. It was obvious in 2009 when Obama appointed that twerp, Timmy Kaine, as DNC chair. I do believe the people who aspired to write about the legacy of “hope and change” are having trouble finding something to write about. The time he sang at a rally can’t be stretched out for more than a chapter, and no one cares about the time Michelle “mom danced” on Jimmy Fallon.

      Reply
      1. Altandmain

        The only reason why Obama is defended by the rich is because he served their interests well. His oratory skills were used to deflect anger after 2008.

        The only people who did well under Obama were the upper 10 percent and especially the ultra rich. That is why he is gushed over in the media.

        It is sickening how this whole disaster happened. Obama in his failure to deliver the change he promised laid the ground for Trump.

        Reply
        1. marku52

          I thought he was working for us when he called all the bankers in and told them:

          “I’m the only thing standing between you and the pitchforks”

          As it turns out, he was making out his job description.

          Reply
        2. The Rev Kev

          Hey, look at the bright side. He might eventually come out with his own coffee table book one day. And if he wanted to talk in it about all his lasting accomplishments, he could do it in blank verse. And just to nail down his greatest accomplishment after his eight years in office, the last page of that coffee table book would have a portrait of President Donald J. Trump.

          Reply
      2. integer

        It’s worth remembering that Obama’s Harvard buddy, Citigroup executive, and primary TPP negotiator, Michael Froman, emailed Obama one month before the 2008 election with an amazingly prophetic list of recommended cabinet appointments.

        WikiLeaks: Citigroup Exec Gave Obama Recommendation of Hillary for State, Eric Holder for DOJ Wall Street on Parade

        Just seven days after Froman sent his Hillary and Holder recommendations to Obama in 2008, Citigroup received $25 billion in a bailout. Other Wall Street banks received similar amounts. But what happened just 19 days after Obama’s election was unprecedented in the annals of U.S. financial history. Citigroup received an additional infusion of $20 billion in equity from the government, assets guarantees on more than $300 billion of its toxic assets, and, it was secretly receiving billions of dollars in low-cost loans from the Federal Reserve – an amount that would cumulatively add up to $2.5 trillion from 2007 to 2010.

        Many conclusions, some less obvious than others, can be drawn from examining this incident, and the people involved, in detail.

        Reply
    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      Beat me to it too. I think it was just another part of what Obama did every day, as a perfect expression of everything he stands for, and as a step on his quest to become America’s first billionaire ex-President.

      Reply
  2. Left in Wisconsin

    You guys I just started a Kickstarter campaign!

    Well, I had to see if this was real or a parody (so the rest of you don’t have to). My conclusion from visiting the page: I guess it’s real. After all, there seem to be $23K in contributions and the photographer has already had an exhibit of some of the photos.

    OTOH, there is this:
    This book celebrates Hillary Rodham Clinton’s profound greatness, …

    So maybe it is a parody?

    Reply
    1. Arizona Slim

      And here I thought Kickstarter was for scrappy little people who didn’t have the money for some worthwhile project. Silly me.

      Reply
    2. WheresOurTeddy

      The people of Honduras, Ukraine, and Haiti probably wish her greatness was a little less profound.

      Can’t tell which enemy of working people gets more adulation – HRC or Obama himself. Absurd time to be alive.

      Reply
      1. Liberal Mole

        Facebook is crawling with ignorant “leftish” people celebrating the Obama portraits. Funny that people who supported Occupy, Flint, and NoDAPL can’t connect the dots.

        Reply
    1. The Beeman

      Loved debating in high school – if anyone presented like this, they would have been thrown out…

      Stupidity writ large.

      Reply
    2. Biph

      Having participated in debate in HS and being able to talk fast naturally (it’s never been something I worked at) the point of the fast talking was always in the first affirmative and it was about getting as much positive information for your plan out there in the allotted 8 minutes so the negative side would have a more difficult time refuting all the points you made. In any sort of competition strategery will come in to play at some point.

      Reply
    3. Plenue

      “This Debater Can Talk Twice as Fast as You Can”

      Isn’t this Ben Shapiro’s gimmick? Spew bullshit fast and hard, and never allow anyone a chance to get a grip and dismantle his flimsy constructs.

      Reply
      1. Merd

        One important note is that they specified that she does this in Lincoln-Douglas debate, which as I understand has been on the rise for at least 20 years. Many of us older debate teamsters did parliamentary debate, where you generally weren’t reading. Lincoln-Douglas involved lots of cases of note cards full of arguments prepared throughout the the semester. You actually submit a written form I believe, but you had to say it for the points to be counted. Fast was a big part. My coach hated L-D, and colored my perception of it. I think the fast monotone without pause is hard to understand (and annoying). But I think the point is that the arguments are made on paper first, she’s just making the sounds enough for the judge to say, “yes she said XYZ, as I can read it here on the paper.”

        Reply
    4. doily

      I got to be adept at this once upon a time too, and it was the richest part of my high school experience. There was an art to it, and speed like Marie’s from Hunter College High School didn’t really help much, and often backfired. Yes, you had to go fast, so as to give your opponent a full plate of arguments, preventing him or her from dealing with yours too quickly. Leaving them time to “dump” fresh arguments on you that had to be dealt with in the 4-minute rebuttals guaranteed early exit from the tournament . The point is there was a judge or a panel of judges in front of you and you were lost if they did not comprehend what you were saying (and Marie is not even close to comprehensible in the video). Speed with clarity and concision, that was the art. It was great training, and what a buzz to cover everything in 4 minutes!.

      Reply
    5. The Rev Kev

      I am hoping one day for a return to form over style instead of a machine-gun delivery system. Remember reading how after the Battle of Gettysburg the politicians came out for their speeches. And a politician named Edward Everett got up and delivered a two-hour mind-numbing speech which was supposed to be the centerpiece “Gettysburg address” for that day. Then Lincoln gets up and totally nails it in only ten sentences in a speech that will echo in history. Now that is how you do it.

      Reply
  3. Enquiring Mind

    …yet fail politically at building a governing coalition that outlasts them…

    Failure to acknowledge that the USA is supposed to be a republic, and that those constituents might want their voices heard. Having partisan differences is one thing, while wholesale denigration of the populace is quite another. A constitutional crisis is always in scare headlines, so why not hold a constitutional convention to try to see how people feel at the state and local levels? Or are those bodies so permeated by corruption to provide significant feedback? I plan to be less cynical as the week unfolds. :)

    Reply
    1. JTMcPhee

      How much would a constitutional convention maybe look like the 2016 Democratic caucuses? Speaking of seeing how people feel at the state and local levels.”No matter how cynical you become, it’s never enough to keep up.”

      Like they say in Chicago, “the fix is in.”

      Reply
  4. Left in Wisconsin

    “Why American Workers Aren’t Getting A Raise: An Economic Detective Story” [Jonathan Tepper]. A very good compilation with lots of charts.

    Much to like, esp that he notes it is not simply unions that raise pay but unions that strike. Too many economists seem to think unions can raise pay simply by existing. (OK, maybe in public sector.)

    But one major beef: the author reiterates the phony frame that capitalism has something to do with (neoclassical) economic “markets”:

    Something has indeed gone very wrong with capitalism. In a competitive market, if a company is making a lot of money, other companies will get excited by the prospects of high profits and will enter the industry and compete. Eventually margins decline as more competitors fight each other. That is how dynamic, capitalist economies should be. Something is profoundly broken with capitalism if corporate profit margins do not revert to the historical mean.

    Realworld capitalism has virtually nothing to do with competitive markets. If one were prone to totalizing statements, it would be more accurate to say capitalism (from the POV of the capitalist) is all about finding and protecting non-competitive markets. I don’t know if the “should be” in the quote above is a tell that he knows better or is simply evidence of extreme naivete.

    Thus, there is a basic flaw in his conclusion that the problem is monopoly/monopsony (or oligo- variations). He makes mono/oligopoly sound like a pathological state of capitalism rather than the normal state. Somehow not a word about government or the need for strong regulation.

    Reply
    1. rd

      An anecdotal observation from the past 40 years. 20-40 years ago, companies were aggressively focused on growth which usually meant growing revenue which required more employees. Oddly enough, this period often had GDP growth of 3-4% periodically with wage growth.

      Increasingly over the past 20 years, growth has meant increases in earnings per share which can be accomplished by cost-cutting and share buybacks. Companies will hire when they see no other way to grow earnings per share. Growing revenue is not a focal point if EPS can still be raised through other means. Oddly enough, this periods tends to have declining GDP growth and declining wages. Employees have simply become a necessary evil required to satiate shareholders demand for earnings. the same companies are baffled about why it is so difficult to raise revenues since their competitors should be hiring people that will buy products and services.

      Reply
      1. JBird

        So yesterday, it was the goal of having a good steady rate of return by the business always doing better over the long term; now today, it is maximizing the rate of return today anyway possible, and to Hell with the company, or even with tomorrow.

        And yet, we poor people are accused of short term thinking. I used to wonder about some of the short term stupidity I read in history, but I am living now.

        If the Devil exists, he’s probably laughing his ass off.

        Reply
  5. shinola

    ” The Revolution is Female is a large format, hardcover photography book celebrating @HillaryClinton…”

    #kill-me-now!

    Reply
    1. nippersmom

      My thoughts exactly. The only things I would “celebrate” about Hillary Clinton would be her indictment and subsequent conviction.

      Reply
      1. Jim Haygood

        Sadly Kickstarter seems to be online contributions only, precluding me from mailing a nickel as I did to the Clinton Defense Fund when the penniless Clintons left the White House under a cloud of legal peril. :-(

        Reply
      2. HopeLB

        I’d buy it if it had hidden pop ups revealing the ways she/the DNC rigged the primary, what happened to Seth Rich, what her private positions were when speaking to Goldman.
        They should make two versions! It would create a real dilemma for Berners who want the photo/pop up book but don’t want to contribute a penny to Hillary. Maybe, we come out with our own?

        Reply
    2. polecat

      I’m reasonably sure that only the credentialed 20%ers and up will afford the privilege of owning such a coffee table tome.

      Reply
      1. Skip Intro

        And only they and their favored serfs… the top 25%, even have the coffee table. But you can’t blame an enterprising grifter for trying to squeeze a last handful of lucre from this historic debacle.

        Reply
  6. Greg

    with the return rate of e-commerce purchases being three to four times higher than that for brick-and-mortar purchases, the reverse sector is only going to grow in future years.” I wonder why that is. Could be because, with no human interaction, people feel less committed to the deal? Or is it only “the Amazon Effect” (whatever that really is)?

    My 2c – It’s because in the obsession with customer experience during the purchase (led by disruptive innovators as always), the actual you know, product has been forgotten.
    While ecommerce often presents a much better experience of shopping, with streamlined purchasing and delivery to home and all those nice things, the actual product you’re getting often isn’t as good as it would be if you’d bought in person. Not necessarily quality, that is no more a problem online than it is off, but fit in every sense of the word is the explicit trade off for transaction simplicity.

    Size, style, shape, everything that you take for granted when you interact with the object of your (potential) desire in person is all buggered up by buying based on pictures and reviews. What we’re seeing now is the first steps in figuring out ways around that – not that they’re necessarily worth it. Just like Amazon-style automation is often just about putting a wall between the staff and the customers so they can pretend they don’t exist, it might be that a better physical experience is a more efficient solution than any online jiggery pokery. We’ll see.

    Reply
    1. cnchal

      Some e-commerce retailers encourage shoppers to buy multiple clothing and shoe items, try them on and send back the ones you don’t want. Which means that with a 30% return rate, the probability that the pieces ordered have been tried on and worn by other people approaches 100%.

      It’s considered a competitive advantage, when the reality is one is buying used clothes.

      A colossal waste of resources.

      Reply
  7. Jay

    “Bob Ross Plus Google’s DeepDream A.I. Is Utterly Terrifying” [Utne Reader]:

    I’ve seen that before, just not as a moving picture, and with all the creatures as individual pieces: Hieronymous Bosch.

    Reply
    1. polecat

      Who knew that it was a frozen 100,000 yr old Bob Ross that the Norwegians encamped down in Antarctica dug up and thawed out !

      Reply
  8. ex-PFC Chuck

    Re Obama’s lost army:

    Instead of mobilizing his unprecedented grassroots machine to pressure obstructionist lawmakers, support state and local candidates who shared his vision, and counter the Tea Party, Obama mothballed his campaign operation, bottling it up inside the Democratic National Committee. It was the seminal mistake of his presidency—one that set the tone for the next eight years of dashed hopes . .

    Or just maybe it was part of the plan.

    Reply
    1. PKMKII

      Even if there was more effort, It wouldn’t have been effective. The problem with tokenism is the movement to reach the token achievement is strong, but once achieved there’s nothing there to keep it going. There were a lot of voters who wanted to see the first black president, and wanted him to get a second term as so it would be seen as a success, but that didn’t fill them with any greater allegiance or drive toward the Democratic Party.

      Reply
      1. nippersmom

        Well, maybe if they’d focused on actually achieving policies that helped those voters, they (the voters) would have continued to be active. Unfortunately, they seem to have viewed it only as an opportunity to swell the Party ranks, not to accomplish tangible goals of real benefit. It didn’t have to be “tokenism”.

        Reply
    2. polecat

      The real ‘O Army’ was what thumped Occupy Wallstreet …. with the helping hand cuffs of all those demrat May(j)ors-Generals …

      Reply
    3. perpetualWAR

      Oh….but…but…aren’t the portraits of the Obamas beautiful. And, in the long run, isn’t that what’s most important. Governing? Who needs it?

      Reply
  9. Mark Gisleson

    This link has me flabbergasted: https://www.thenation.com/article/randy-bryces-campaign-is-not-just-pro-union-its-unionized/

    I spent a decade in a unionized tire factory, served on COPE committees, and I’ve worked on campaigns.

    For the life of me, I cannot think of one reason why campaign workers need to or should unionize. They’re the ultimate temp workers, and I can’t imagine the overtime headaches or if this would make scabs out of volunteers.

    Obviously something’s changed and I’m not up to speed. What am I missing here?

    Reply
    1. Left in Wisconsin

      Virtue signaling, nothing more. Could you imagine the S that would hit the F if they ever filed a grievance? Or went on strike? Lol.

      Reply
      1. dcblogger

        Just because someone is doing something decent does not make it mere “virtue signaling”. Bryce believes in unions. Campaign workers are very exploited. Politicians take advantage of people’s idealism and eagerness to win an election. It would be a very good thing if they were unionized.

        Reply
        1. JTMcPhee

          If only “they” had some idea of what they want and need, and a way to make that clear to the “candidates” and the looters that fund them… The United Mine Workers and Ford employees and of course the IWW members and leaders clearly had, and in the case of the residual IWW have, such clarity and focus.

          Reply
        2. Left in Wisconsin

          Everyone should have a union. But for this to be something more than mere virtue signaling, there will have to be at least one outcome, other than virtue signaling, that would not have been attained if not for the union. Maybe I’ll be surprised. Maybe this will be the first of a wave.

          Reply
        3. Mark Gisleson

          Campaign workers are victims now? None of this makes any sense to me. I did the math on just one campaign job I did and the OT came out to twice what the pay would have been had I actually been paid.

          If you unionize campaign workers, you make scabs out of everyone who works for free. And I have this terrible feeling that we’re headed towards the day when no one can raise their voice on a campaign for any reason. They’re going to suck all the passion out and replace it with people who will allegedly do organizing work in the off years? For who? If you run are you guaranteeing employment, win or lose?

          This is the most poorly thought out idea ever. It only makes sense if you think the people running campaigns are monsters. I’m sure some are, but isn’t that more of an issue for the voters than the campaign workers?

          National party sucks up all the money and now this union is working for the day when you can’t even run unless you hire their workers?

          Reply
        4. lyman alpha blob

          Paid professional campaign workers are good sign that your ‘democracy’ is in deep trouble.

          We don’t need endless campaigning. A candidate should be able to maker their case in a few weeks prior to elections. If they need help, they can find some volunteers.

          Reply
  10. Timmy

    The ability to speak swiftly in evidence-based debate was a common weapon to swamp your opponent in detailed arguments that they had to record longhand at the moment they were also preparing (and attempting to write and pull supporting evidence for) their responses. The judge(s) was/were also compiling their own flow charts so one didn’t want to go so fast that you lost them, only the other team. Second Negative and Second Affirmative strategy was often to cherry pick the arguments dropped by the opponent.

    “We have a void of responses to objections 4, 6, 9 and 11 to the Affirmative plan, Judge, These sweep Negative, as should your ballot”.

    Reply
  11. Summer

    The Bezzle: “Insider trading has been rife on Wall Street, academics conclude” [The Economist]. “INSIDER-TRADING prosecutions have netted plenty of small fry. But many grumble that the big fish swim off unharmed. That nagging fear has some new academic backing, from three studies. One argues that well-connected insiders profited even from the financial crisis.* The others go further still, suggesting the entire share-trading system is rigged.** Holy moley!

    There are two economies.

    The Bezzle: “Tech companies are the new investment banks” [Financial Times]. “The much-lauded overseas “cash” pile held by the richest American companies, a treasure that Republicans cited as the key reason they passed their ill-advised tax “reform” plan, is actually a giant bond portfolio.” Big if true!

    Oh, did I mention there are two economies?

    And people keep talking about solutions as if there is one.

    Reply
  12. dcblogger

    Vote Riders
    https://www.voteriders.org/what-we-do/

    and Let America Vote
    https://www.letamericavote.org/about/

    are both devoted to fighting Voter Suppression, and may be the most important groups to come out of the explosion of progressive groups in the wake of Trump’s election. Yeah, this should be a core function of the Democratic party, but clearly the donors are not interested.

    but it is also a concrete example of the enthusiasm factor. The Democratic grassroots is prepared to fight and no amount of incompetence from the national Democrats is going to get in their way.

    Reply
    1. JTMcPhee

      Even here in NC, there is a lot of attention paid to who is raising the most money in the various “races.” Is that an acknowledgement that the Kochs and that guy Adelson who looks like the evil Leprechaun in the movie are right, that money is the mother’s milk and all that, that the rule is indeed one-dollar-one-vote?

      Reply
  13. DJG

    Failing Health of the United States, British Medical Journal: Jeri-Lynn posted this morning about the fatalities of the current flu season. So you have a weakened population under stress from poor diet, further weakened by its agnotological terror of vaccines, showing poor health outcomes. The cycle is further reinforced.

    Reply
  14. Jim Haygood

    Richly ironic commentary from OMB’s budget prodigy Mick Mulvaney:

    “As a nation, we face difficult times – challenged by a crumbling infrastructure, growing deficits, and irresponsible Washington spending,” Office of Management and Director Mick Mulvaney said in a statement Sunday evening.

    “Just like every American family, the budget makes hard choices: fund what we must, cut where we can, and reduce what we borrow,” Mulvaney said in his statement.

    Instead of balancing the budget, the Trump administration will tout lowering the debt relative to the economy in its budget document, to be released Monday.

    https://tinyurl.com/y759l463

    In today’s presidential budget, total US debt is projected to rise from its current $20.5 trillion to $29.9 trillion in 2028. But there’s a monster caveat: namely, no recession for the next ten years.

    Since the probability of a 19-year economic expansion is a fraction of a percent, Trump’s budget is a rank fantasy. A recession will happen, likely by 2020 as Ray Dalio speculates today.

    When it does, total US debt will easily reach $30 trillion by 2024, not 2028. In turn, $30 trillion in debt will be around 125 percent of a roughly $24 trillion economy by then.

    Mulvaney’s deranged lecture about “irresponsible spending” is like a Tenderloin hooker with a bullhorn denouncing unchastity. No lying, spendthrift Republiclown should be permitted to spout such errant nonsense without being laughed off the stage, if not pelted with heavy black wingtips.

    Reply
    1. Lee

      So, there really is such a thing as fake news from somewhere other than Russia and Trump is not utterly delusional on this point. I’m shocked.

      Reply
  15. DJG

    Hillary the photographic essay: At Christmas, one of my sisters, out of the kindness of her heart, secured a copy of the photo book by Obama’s official photographer that was rushed out for Christmas 2017 and became a hit. What is remarkable is how people fall for this stuff. Almost every image of Obama is composed to the point of stiffness (characteristic of Obama). Almost every photo has him in his undistingished three-button suit and tightly tied oxfords, with black socks, of course. And ties without patterns, because even patterned cloth is too much randomness in Obama’s world.

    So the Clinton photograph essay is likely to be one more propaganda exercise: The smiling abuelita! The furrowed brow of the Secretary of State. The spontaneity of pantsuits. At least, she doesn’t wear black oxfords all the time.

    Another remarkable blip is that Obama’s official portrait in paint has been released. Three button suit. White shirt unbuttoned one button so as not to expose too much flesh. Black oxfords tied very tight. The background attempts to make him mythic: The Green Man.

    I know the Green Man. Obama is no Green Man. We are a looooong way from young Albrecht Durer’s mythic self-portrait with his carefully arranged wavy auburn hair.

    As mentioned several times above, there is no great mystery as to why Obama disbanded civic organizations that he couldn’t fully control. Like any Byzantine emperor, he was wary of any power structure that might produce a rival. And like any semi-competent emperor, he tapped a hemi-semi-competent heir.

    So I won’t be contributing at Indy-gogo for some photography essay from the Ministry of Propaganda and Public Virtue. At least when the popes had painters work on the Sistine Chapel, they hired people who produced work worth looking at. At least when Emperor Justinian wanted to be portrayed in all of his static and gilded glory, he hired a good mosaicist.

    Reply
    1. Arizona Slim

      Hmmmm, Sistine Chapel. Justinian.

      For some strange reason, I can’t help being reminded of the satirical portraits that Goya did. Y’know, the ones that depicted the Spanish royal family as a bunch of simpletons.

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        More likely it should be a colour-in book. You fill in the blank bits with what colours you think are there. Remember when he wrote: “I serve as a blank screen on which people of vastly different political stripes project their own views”?

        Reply
  16. flickadee

    Sadly, speaking at blistering speeds is what constitutes “debate” these days. I remembering learning about this maybe six or so years back and being completely shocked and confused. My rudimentary understanding of how this came to be is that the rules favor the team who can put forth the most unanswered arguments. So, talking faster = spitting out moar arguments. Some links I quickly turned up:

    http://fasttalkthemovie.com
    https://www.americamagazine.org/arts-culture/2017/09/26/corrosion-high-school-debate-and-how-it-mirrors-american-politics

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      We also favor those who can spell, standing alone, without the aid of a dictionary.

      “it’s the brain, not the heart.”

      When the heart, if one’s so motivated, will urge one to look up in the dictionary, when the brain is not up to the task.

      Is it that critical that one can spell correctly without looking it up?

      Then, there is that favoritism for those who can do arithmetic quickly, or learn quickly.

      Students who score better in a 10-week course may not necessarily score better if the same subject is covered in 50 weeks (more thoroughly covered, perhaps).

      Reply
  17. Jason Boxman

    I never watch videos, but that Bob Ross video was bizarrely hilarious, perhaps because I remember watching growing up and it’s decidedly not the way I remember it.

    Reply
  18. Big River Bandido

    The Atlantic compares LBJ’s achievements with Obama??? Were these people dropped on their heads as children?

    Nixon did not undo most of LBJ’s domestic policies. He couldn’t; for the most part, those policies were enacted by Congress and firmly defended by Congress. Just taking for the moment LBJ’s greatest policy achievements — the 1964 Civil Rights Act, the 1965 Voting Rights Act, and Medicare — all three are, to some degree, still standing. Under attack, yes, but except for the Voting Rights Act, still intact. I note, too, that the attacks on the latter two items didn’t even start in earnest until the George W. Bush years. (Even Ronald Reagan renewed the VRA.)

    That doesn’t even begin to include all the “smaller” things that LBJ signed into law that we still take for granted, like car safety — to cite a single example out of dozens (hundreds?).

    Not a single damn “reform” that Obama made is even left standing now, 13 months after he left office.

    Reply
    1. rd

      Most of the Great Society and Environmental Protection laws were signed by LBJ, Nixon(!), Carter, and Reagan(!). Conservative and Conservation actually come from the same root word and those Republicans understood that.

      Reply
    2. Lee

      Meanwhile, over at Daily Kos:

      Official portraits of Barack and Michelle Obama unveiled

      Barack and Michelle Obama make history again with newly unveiled official portraits

      Barack and Michelle Obama Have Been Invited to the Royal Wedding; Donald Trump Was Not

      Links not provided so as to thwart full on gag reflex.

      Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It’s very subtle, but we’re being conditioned to think being invited to a royal wedding is desirable, something to aim for in life.

        “If you lowly citizens of a democracy can’t get invited to a royal wedding, it’s because you’re not special.”

        Reply
    3. Darthbobber

      Johnson left behind large congressional majorities for his party. And neither the war nor the repressive measures against dissent were minor enough to be mere asides to an otherwise successful policy record.

      Nixon came into office at a time when sophisticated conservatism and mainstream liberalism overlapped a lot at the policy level, and bastard Keynesianism remained the prevailing economic theory among the governing classes.
      This state of affairs was not fully overturned until the easy reelection of Reagan in 84.

      As to the Obama success, even the author needs to slide in the “by contemporary standards” qualifier, and then proceeds to promote the analysis of the book he edited. Which I suppose can be purchased.

      The Obama legacy will ultimately be judged by how well he dealt with the nation’s decisive problems. And the decision to rely so heavily on mr market virtually guaranteed the gelling of the “new” economy into a tiered structure harking back to the Victorian era.

      Nor was the chance to put foreign policy back on a semirational path acted on. I would say that both domestically and internationally our position had continued to deteriorate by 2016.

      Reply
  19. WheresOurTeddy

    Re: Hillary Clinton “The Revolution is Female” garbage –

    Just a friendly reminder that the next social movement that affects real change in this country — while being spearheaded by people at the top income bracket — will be the first of its kind.

    Ignore the #Astroturf #McResistance

    Reply
    1. polecat

      Amon, praise be the Laird$ !

      … the only ‘change’ anyone at the top of the pyramid are going to see, and do, is when 300,000,000+ veritable Snake Pliskins come forward to say ‘Hi’ !

      Reply
  20. Lee

    Health Care (suspicions confirmed)

    CNN Exclusive: California launches investigation following stunning admission by Aetna medical director
    https://www.cnn.com/2018/02/11/health/aetna-california-investigation/index.html

    California’s insurance commissioner has launched an investigation into Aetna after learning a former medical director for the insurer admitted under oath he never looked at patients’ records when deciding whether to approve or deny care.

    The doctor relied completely on the recommendations of nurses. Why not just eliminate the doctor and his or her salary altogether?

    Reply
  21. a different chris

    I didn’t even realize this, but Pittsburgh Mayor Peduto can just give up. Because *this* is why we won’t get Amazon, and although not getting Amazon will make me happy, the reason why not is making me very unhappy:

    https://projects.publicsource.org/pittsburgh-climate/facebook-live-interview-with-grant-ervin-the-person-leading-pittsburghs-climate-action-plan.html

    The key takeaway from those of you who don’t have time for my link:

    Ervin admitted it’s a problem. He said the emissions from the new cracker plant, about 2 million tons of greenhouse gases per year, would offset all the progress the city plans to make at reducing its own emissions by 2030.

    You think Amazon is going to try to talk 50k of the “best and brightest” (yeah, I believe it will be more like 15k but the point stands) to live downwind of a cracker plant? Thanks but no thanks, will say Bezos.

    Reply
  22. Sharing Economy is Despairing Economy

    Airbnb displace people: our family (one small child, pregnant woman and man) was kicked-out too by our landlord to move to airbnb letting instead.

    This is one of the reasons I refuse to use airbnb. On top of the fact that I actually like not having to clean after me and that breakfast is made and all the other stuff that hotels deliver.

    Uber & Airbnb = helping people all over the world making their lives crappier in the medium and long term.

    Thank you sharing economy!

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      In another 20 years, that will be what new adults only know.

      “You mean life was different, in the backward 1990’s?”

      Reply
      1. Bugs Bunny

        Like full service gas stations, gone and all but forgotten in the West. How I long to pay a bit more to not have to leave the car in frigid weather.

        In India, a service station can still employ eight people, half of them women.

        Reply
      2. polecat

        “Here .. To the new employee of the weak, I would just like to be the first to share with you, some of my pre-mature WHITE hair .. “

        Reply
    2. Summer

      I hope you have found a new home.
      “the sharing economy” is the return to feudalism.

      My Prime Beef said:
      “In another 20 years, that will be what new adults only know.

      “You mean life was different, in the backward 1990’s?”

      The movies Hollywood is spending the most on are comic book (children influencing) stories where one sits back and waits for an elite squad or person or royalty or billionaire to come to the rescue.
      HA!!!!

      Reply
    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      AirBnB “disrupting” the hotel industry means taking jobs away from hotel workers, many unionized, many “people of color,” many immigrants, many women. So it’s good to see liberal Democrats fighting AirBnB tooth and nail. Oh, wait….

      Reply
  23. allan

    Compare and contrast:

    Feb. 4: IATA warns airlines headed for crisis on rising infrastructure costs [Reuters]

    “We are headed for a crisis… Infrastructure in general is not being built fast enough to meet growing demand,” Alexandre de Juniac, CEO General of IATA, an airline industry lobby group, told a conference on Monday ahead of the Singapore Airshow.

    He said airport privatization is among major reasons driving cost rises when the industry needs affordable infrastructure to accommodate capacity increases.

    “Our members are very frustrated with the current state of privatized airports. By all means invite private sector expertise to bring commercial discipline and a customer service focus to airport management. But our view is that the ownership is best left in public hands,” de Juniac said. …

    Feb. 12: Trump administration wants to sell National and Dulles airports, other assets around U.S. [WaPo]

    The Trump administration is making a push to sell off federal assets as part of its infrastructure plan released Monday.

    Among the targets: Reagan National and Dulles International airports and two major parkways serving the Washington region, as well as power assets around the country, according to a copy of the proposal. …

    Reply
  24. relstprof

    How you know you’re dealing with a liberal (and not a leftist) #162:

    Sentences start with “You guys!” or “Guys, guys!”.

    Reply
    1. integer

      The author of this opinion piece is one David French, associate of, and politically aligned with, one Bill Kristol. See:

      Kristol’s white knight: David French CNN

      Bill Kristol’s white knight independent presidential candidate is a fellow conservative writer with no national name recognition: David French.

      Kristol, the editor of The Weekly Standard magazine and a leader of the conservative movement to find an alternative to likely major-party nominees Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton, confirmed to CNN Special Correspondent Jamie Gangel on Tuesday that the search has zeroed in on French.

      And:

      Bill Kristol Wikispooks

      William (Bill) Kristol is a neoconservative political commentator. He was a prominent supporter of the war against Iraq. He also supports the campaign against Iran. He is the editor of the political magazine The Weekly Standard and the chairman and co-founder of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), which advocates American military dominance worldwide.

      Kristol is the son of Irving Kristol (one of the founders of the neoconservative movement) and Gertrude Himmelfarb.

      There is a reason that people like French and Kristol are not outraged at the FBI, and it doesn’t take a genius to figure said reason out.

      Reply
      1. allan

        Preferring the opinions of Andrew McCarthy, a number of whose articles have been linked to recently,
        to those of David French seems … situational:

        Views

        Waterboarding

        He has defended the practice of waterboarding as not necessarily being torture, and as necessary in some situations to prosecute the War on Terror[7][8] whilst admitting that “waterboarding is close enough to torture that reasonable minds can differ on whether it is torture”.[9]

        Barack Obama

        During the 2008 presidential election campaign, McCarthy wrote a number of posts on the National Review’s Corner blog stating that he thought that Democratic Presidential candidate, Barack Obama, was not serious about protecting US national security against threats from Islamic extremism and elsewhere, and that Obama had a number of troubling ties and associations with leftist radicals.[if only]

        In an opinion posted on the blog ‘the Corner’ on October 22, 2008,[10] McCarthy wrote “I believe that the issue of Obama’s personal radicalism, including his collaboration with radical, America-hating Leftists, should have been disqualifying.” [hahahaha]

        In May 2009, McCarthy provided details of a letter declining an invitation from Attorney General Eric Holder for a round-table meeting with President Barack Obama concerning the status of people detained in the War on Terror. McCarthy noted his dissension with the administration in their policies regarding the detainees.[11] On December 5, 2009 he came out publicly against prosecuting Islamic terrorists in civil courts rather than military tribunals, saying “A war is a war. A war is not a crime, and you don’t bring your enemies to a courthouse.”[6] [actually many have been and are now in Supermax Florence, but grifters gotta grift]

        War in Afghanistan

        McCarthy has recently spoken out against the War in Afghanistan, saying that the War benefits the Afghans while hurting American interests, and that the United States should be concerned solely with its interests. [credit where credit is due]

        Medicare

        Coupled with his national security conservatism, McCarthy also espouses strong fiscal conservative views on entitlement spending, and favors the abolition of Medicare, which he calls a fraud and a Ponzi scheme greater than that perpetrated by Bernie Madoff.[12] He says that the goals of the original proponents of Medicare were to get a foot in the door with “a Trojan Horse, whose proponents wanted universal compulsory socialized medicine.” [and your point is?]

        McCarthy is a standard Bush era macho man whose opinions are worth no more
        than those of any other Bush era macho man.

        Reply
  25. RMO

    Re the VW ad: Well, if you want to distract people from the fact your company recently spent a bunch of money poisoning and torturing chimps with diesel exhaust you gotta think big.

    Reply
  26. Edward E

    Signs that economic expansion could be limited because of running out of drivers.

    https://www.bloomberg.com/view/articles/2018-02-09/the-u-s-is-running-out-of-truckers

    Industry leaders have been complaining about a truck driver shortage for a while, but unlike other industries that have been complaining about worker shortages, we have real evidence both in employment numbers and in business activity that the shortage is starting to have an impact on the economy.

    Reply
    1. Oregoncharles

      And by now we know what the solution would be: the industry pays them more, gives them better working conditions, and pays for their training – which is otherwise quite expensive.

      Reply
  27. David Carl Grimes

    Regarding Obama’s Lost Army: Thankfully Bernie is not committing the same “mistake” with Our Revolution.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

  • Keep it constructive and courteous
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Flag bad behavior
  • Follow the rules

Please read our Comments Policies here.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *