2:00PM Water Cooler 2/28/2018

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.



“Oprah Winfrey Reveals the One Thing That Could Make Her Run for President” [People]. That’s right. Oprah: “I went into prayer. ‘‘God, if you think I’m supposed to run, you gotta tell me, and it has to be so clear that not even I can miss it.’ And I haven’t gotten that.” That’s not exactly a Sherman statement.


“Democrats marshal strike force to counter Trump on national security in 2018, 2020 elections” [WaPo]. “[A] group of Democrats is betting Trump’s record in office will push national security issues to the fore in the 2018 midterms and the next presidential election. A group of mostly young veterans of President Barack Obama’s administration and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign is launching a political strike force aimed at countering Trump and Republicans on national security.” One of the founders is Ben Rhodes, coiner of the phrase “The Blob.” Hmm.

“Analysis: Will the Suburbs Flip the House? Watch These Seats” [Roll Call]. “If there is a partisan shift in the suburbs in November, a couple of dozen House Republican seats should be among the first to feel the movement.”

“Dems surge in generic ballot as economy fades from spotlight” [The Hill]. “[P]ollsters warn that the generic ballot is better as a gauge of the entire electorate’s mood than as a predictor of outcomes in individual races. In the Senate, Democrats are defending 25 seats, while Republicans are only tasked with defending eight seats. Many of the GOP incumbents are running in states that Trump won handily in 2016, while several Democrats are running in states Trump won by double-digit margins. Pollsters say not to read too deeply into generic ballot polling at this early stage, pointing to the extreme volatility in the polls in recent weeks. Over the past month, polls have put the Democratic advantage everywhere from 2 points to 16 points.”

“‘9.0 earthquake’: Kansas, Missouri at epicenter as independents try to upend politics” [McClatchy]. “Missouri hasn’t sent an independent to the U.S. Senate in its nearly two centuries as a state, but Kansas City attorney Craig O’Dear says he can prevail in what promises to be one of the most competitive Senate races in the country. In Kansas, Johnson County businessman Greg Orman hopes to be the first independent governor since Kansas officially became a state in 1861. …. Both candidates are backed by the same organization, Unite America, which has recruited a slate of independent candidates to run in high-profile races in a half-dozen states….. Unite America, a Denver-based group previously known as the Centrist Project, existed in an early form when Orman mounted his unsuccessful run for U.S. Senate in 2014.” Here’s United America’s website. I don’t see anything about funding. (To be fair, although the Centrist Project’s website is dead, its snippets live on in Google: “The Centrist Project is a 501(c)4 non-profit organization funded by individuals across the country –– including Democrats, Republicans, and independents. We do not accept any contributions from corporations, unions, or lobbyists.”) Joel Searby, the strategist, ran Evan McMullin’s 2016 campaign. McMullin worked for the CIA as an operations officer with the National Clandestine Service from 2003-2010, says Wikipedia. Not that I’m foily.

California: “Feinstein’s trouble underlines Democratic Party’s shift to left” [The Hill]. “Some Democrats suggest the party has to tailor its message to different districts and states to win.” A “tailored” message isn’t like a bespoke message. It’s more like the Emperor’s New Clothes.

California: “Republican drops out of race for California governor” [Sacramento Bee]. “Republican Doug Ose dropped out of the race for California governor Monday, citing a crowded field of candidates and lack of fundraising needed to defeat Democrats, who are leading in the polls…. Ose declined to say whether he’d back another Republican in the campaign, but suggested that if it’s a Democrat-on-Democrat race, he’d vote for a moderate. ‘Every time I go to the ballot box, I look at my choices,’ Ose said. ‘As an example, in the absence of a Republican candidate for U.S. Senate, I will be wholeheartedly supporting Dianne Feinstein.'”

PA-18: “Rating Change: Pennsylvania 18 Special Moves to Toss-Up” [Inside Elections]. “Republicans have spent nearly two months attacking Democrat Conor Lamb with television ads, but he’s not only still standing but well-positioned to take over a GOP seat in western Pennsylvania that Donald Trump won by 19 points in 2016, 58-39 percent. In 2012, Mitt Romney carried the district by 18 points, 58-41 percent…. What might be most fascinating is that both parties are fighting over a seat that is on the verge of extinction. The state supreme court threw out the congressional map and ordered new lines for the 2018 elections, but directed the 18th District special election to take place under the “old” lines because the race had already started. Win or lose, Lamb is most likely to run in the new 17th District, where he’d likely face GOP Rep. Keith Rothfus…. That means this is a fight for the narrative of the 2018 elections. Republicans explained away previous special election results by either winning or blaming Roy Moore. But losing a district that Trump won by 18 points with a state legislator as the nominee will be more difficult to dismiss. In that way, it could be a bigger political earthquake than Alabama because Republicans won’t have the Roy Moore excuse.”

GA-10: Running on the Jobs Guarantee:

IL-05: If not MMT, MMT-inflected:

NH-1: “Bernie Sanders’ son Levi announces run for Congress” [New York Post]. Good for him, though he must stand or fall on his own merits (unlike, say, Chelsea).

New Cold War

Readers, I’m still gobsmacked that Clinton’s communications director, Jennifer Palmieri, seriously believes she might be abducted by Russians. A moment’s thought will show how lunatic this is: Nothing would suit America’s adversaries more than leaving the grossly incompetent Clintonite team in positions of power.

“Robert Mueller Doesn’t Need a Smoking Gun” [Elizabeth Drew, The New Republic]. “Therefore, we are guaranteed more surprises.” The final sentence. Classic Elizabeth Drew!

“Judge sets Sept. 17 trial date for Manafort on Mueller charges” [Politico]. “The decision from U.S. District Court Judge Amy Berman Jackson would put Manafort on trial at the height of the midterm campaign season, a potentially unwelcome distraction for Republicans as they try to maintain majorities in Congress.” This is the first set of Mueller’s charges, not the second; and I’m confused why there is a second set of charges at all, if the concept is that you climb the ladder by flipping the underlings. If Manafort flipped, why the second set?

2016 Post Mortem

“Nota bene: The arbitrage that won the 2016 election” [Nota Bene]. This is Felix Salmon’s retelling of the story that broke in Wired on how Facebook’s algo priced Trump’s ads much lower than Clinton’s, because Trump’s ads had a greater likelihood of going viral (which apparently the five (5) consultants the Clinton campaign paid a cool $700 million didn’t have the mad skillz to figure out). Salmon: “Either way, it seems clear that the more incendiary Trump’s ads became, the less he had to pay to run them, and the more of an audience they could reach. It’s hard to imagine an incentive structure more damaging to democracy and the substantive nationwide debate that presidential elections are supposed to encourage. The good news is that it’s pretty easy to fix this problem. Facebook could simply insist that political campaigns buy ads on a CPM basis, with the M measuring actually-seen impressions. At the very least, it could insist on a CPM-based floor: a minimum price paid per impression no matter how inflammatory a campaign is. This is urgent. Facebook’s ad-pricing algorithms have failed American democracy once. They cannot do so again.” Just spitballing here, but why not outlaw political advertising on social media entirely?

Obama Legacy

“Meet the Community Organizers Fighting Against … Barack Obama” [Politico]. “‘The [Presidential] library is a great idea, but what about a community benefits agreement?’ [Jeanette Taylor, the education director of the Kenwood Oakland Community Organization], asked [Obama], referring to a contract between a developer and community organizations that requires investments in, or hiring from, a neighborhood where a project is built. ‘The first time investment comes to black communities, the first to get kicked out is low-income and working-class people. Why wouldn’t you sign a CBA to protect us?'” Read the piece for a classic response from Obama.


“Bulletproof Vests, Security Guards Approved for House Members” [Roll Call].

“Mass shootings in America are just the tip of a tragic toll” [The Economist]. It’s the onesies and twosies that really add up…

Realignment and Legitimacy

“From Pushing ‘Thoughts and Prayers’ to Dissing Medicare for All, DCCC Called Out for Sabotaging Bold Demands” [Common Dreams]. That word “bold” — as in “Bold Progressives” — makes my back teeth itch. If you’re really bold, you don’t have to go around saying you are. That said: “Documents on healthcare messaging that were handed out to House Democrats in the wake of the 2016 election treated universal healthcare as a fringe issue, suggesting that lawmakers are not to entertain Medicare for All as a potential solution to the nation’s high healthcare costs and poor outcomes…. The messaging memo also included Republican talking points attacking a single-payer system like the Medicare for All plan proposed by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), without providing any rebuttals to the claims.”

“Democratic National Committee war plan: Target 50 million voters” [NBC News]. “The DNC, which has struggled financially and faced doubts about its relevance, will focus its 2018 organizing plans for the midterms around partnerships with a wide range of groups aimed at boosting turnout among Democratic-leaning voters, who have been less likely to get to the polls in recent nonpresidential elections.” Wake me when the Democrat party makes voter registration and expanding the base a core party function, 24/7/365, instead of a random, election by election effort. (Oh, and a political version of Conway’s Law seems to be at work: Liberals think of themselves as an aggregation of silos (mostly identity-based silos), hence the “partnerships with a wide range of groups,” i.e. not a core party function.

Stats Watch

GDP, Q4 2017: “There’s very little change between the second and first estimates for fourth-quarter GDP, revised 1 tenth lower to an as-expected 2.5 percent annualized rate. Consumer spending is unchanged at a very strong 3.8 percent as downward revisions to spending on durables (down 4 tenths to a 13.8 percent rate) and nondurables (down 9 tenths to 4.3 percent) are offset by an upward revision to the largest category of service spending (up 3 tenths at 2.1 percent)” [Econoday]. “Strength is definitely the message of this report, masked by the nation’s trade imbalance and the quarter’s inventory change excluding which GDP rose 4.3 percent, a reading that is unchanged from the first estimate.” And but: “There was little change between the advance and this second GDP esitmate. The consumer spending declined from the previous quarter, but the real improvement came from fixed investment. I am not a fan of quarter-over-quarter exaggerated method of measuring GDP – but my year-over-year preferred method showed moderate acceleration from last quarter” [Econintersect]. And: “This was at the consensus forecast” [Calculated Risk].

Chicago Purchasing Managers Index, February 2018: “Deceleration at a still blistering pace is February’s result” [Econoday]. “New orders are also the lowest in six months but, like the headline composite, remain very strong with backlogs, however, at a 10-month low. These order readings do hint at slowing in the months ahead for this report including for production where February growth hit a 5-month low. Hiring is likewise slowing but from January’s 6-month high…. The volatility of this report, one that covers both the manufacturing and non-manufacturing sectors of the Chicago economy, limits its usefulness as a predictor of other data. But the takeaway is strength, though easing strength.” And: “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” [Econintersect].

Pending Home Sales Index, January 2018: “Existing home sales appear to be slowing, the latest evidence coming from the pending home sales index which fell an unexpected 4.7 percent in January” [Econoday]. “Lack of supply is a key factor holding down sales along with rising mortgage rates.” And but: “Way down and prior month revised lower as well” [Mosler Economics]. And but: “The rolling averages moved into positive territory. The data is very noisy and must be averaged to make sense of the situation. There is no signs of a surge in home sales, although the trends continue to be upward. I personally do not believe the new tax laws will affect home sales next year as most people do not consider income tax savings when buying a home” [Econintersect].

Retail: “Amazon.com Inc. is coming to your door. The e-commerce giant is acquired video-doorbell maker Ring in a deal valued at more than $1 billion, the WSJ’s Laura Stevens and Douglas MacMillan report, giving the company a bigger foothold in the home-security business and signaling it’s moving more aggressively to deliver packages into customers’ homes. More broadly, the deal plays to Amazon’s ambition to control the devices that power ‘smart’ homes—devices that include its own Echo voice-based home assistant” [Wall Street Journal].

Retail: “Kohl’s fights back—with its stores” [DC Velocity]. “Retailer Kohl’s Corp. aims to stay relevant with the assets that have gotten it to this point: Its 1,100 stores…. Kohl’s stores currently perform 32 percent of its online fulfillment, according to Chawla. On “Cyber Monday,” the stores collectively did three times the fulfillment volume of its traditional e-commerce channels, she said. A key factor for the strategy is that stores shorten the distance to customers, Chawla said. Delivery from stores is 25 percent faster than filling an e-commerce order from a distribution center, she said.”

MBA Mortgage Applications, week of February 23, 2018: “With the rise in mortgage rates taking a pause, purchase applications for home mortgages rose by a seasonally adjusted 6.0 percent” [Econoday]. And but: “Nice increase but year over year remains weak” [Mosler Economics].

Tech: “Facebook rolls out job posts to become the blue-collar LinkedIn” [Tech Crunch]. “Businesses will be able to post job openings to a Jobs tab on their Page, Jobs dashboard, Facebook Marketplace, and the News Feed that they can promote with ads. Meanwhile, job seekers can discover openings, auto-fill applications with their Facebook profile information, edit and submit their application, and communicate via Messenger to schedule interviews.”

Mr. Market: “Short Sellers Can’t Make Up Their Minds on Major Banks” [247 Wall Street]. “[W]hen short sellers make a play against these major banks, they are effectively betting for a downturn. Conversely, when they back off they might be expecting a surge. Granted, some plays are directly against individual companies, like we saw with Wells Fargo early in 2017. The February 15 short interest data have been compared with the previous figures, and short interest moves in these selected bank stocks was mixed.” (Bank of America (short interest up), JPMorgan Chase (drop), Citigroup (drop), Wells Fargo (up), Goldman Sachs (down), Morgan Stanley (up).)

Mr. Market: “Social Media Short Sellers Grow More Selective” [247 Wall Street]. (Facebook (short interest up), Twitter (drop), Match Group (up), Weibo (down), Yelp (up), Snap (down).)

Five Horsemen: “Amazon takes a run at a new high” [Hat Tip, Jim Haygood].

Five Horsemen Feb 28 2018

NakedCap Mania-Panic Index, February 2018: 41 (worry) [Hat Tip, Jim Haygood]. Readers will recall that I’ve been whinging about how CNN’s Fear and Greed Index is lagged, sometimes by as much as four days, and Haygood generously volunteered to create a similar index in chart form. (I’ll leave it to him to chime in with methodology in comments). What do you think?

Mania panic Feb 27 2018

Health Care

“New Proposal Designed to Confuse Public and Prevent Medicare for All” [Margaret Flowers, Health Over Profit]. “The Center for American Progress (CAP), a Washington-based Democratic Party think tank funded by Wall Street, including private health insurers and their lobbying group, unveiled a new healthcare proposal designed to confuse supporters of Medicare for All and protect private health insurance profits. It is receiving widespread coverage in ‘progressive’ media outlets. We must be aware of what is happening so that we are not fooled into another ‘public option’ dead end.” Very good, and includes notes with good perspective on “progressive” machinations in 2009.

“States of Disgrace: A Flawed System Fails to Inform the Public” [MedPage Today]. “Now, a MedPage Today/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel investigation reveals the scope of the problem: between 2011 and 2016, at least 500 physicians were chastised by one state medical board and yet able to hang their shingles at a new address with a ‘clean’ license. They slipped through the cracks even though their actions resulted in suspensions, revocation, remedial classes or a portfolio of ‘letters of concern’ that castigate them for misconduct.”

Net Neutrality

“Washington becomes first state in the nation to pass net neutrality regulations in defiance of FCC” [GeekWire]. “Washington state’s net neutrality law is likely to face legal challenges. The FCC’s official repeal of net neutrality, which was published in the Federal Register last week, preempts states and local jurisdictions from passing de facto net neutrality laws. The FCC said it would ‘preempt any state or local measures that would effectively impose rules or requirements that we have repealed or decided to refrain from imposing in this order.’ That includes laws that would require disclosure of business practices from internet providers, like the one moving through the Washington state legislature.'” At the very least, this lays the basis for more court challenges.

Police State Watch

“Mother of baby killed in Baton Rouge crash involving off-duty cop arrested for failing to secure child seat” [The Advocate].

“Man arrested on six charges four days after publicly criticizing Etowah County sheriff” [Birmingham News].

“NYPD sergeant arrested after refusing to move double-parked car” [New York Post].


“The Radical Left-Wing Theory That the Government Has Unlimited Money” [Vice] (blessed by Mosler). “Most of us assume government has to tax before it spends, that like you and me it has to earn money before it purchases goods. If it wants to spend more than it taxes—and it almost always does—it must borrow from the bond market. But by examining the granular way government accounts for its spending, Mosler saw that in every case, expenditures come first. When your Social Security check is due, the Treasury doesn’t look to see if it has enough money to pay it. It simply keystrokes that money directly into your bank account and debits itself simultaneously, thereby creating the money it pays you out of thin air. When you pay your taxes, the same process happens in reverse. The federal government subtracts dollars your account and eliminates the same amount from the liabilities side of its ledger, effectively destroying the money you just paid to it. Unlike households or firms or even state and local governments, the federal government is authorized to create dollars. It adds money into the economy when it spends, and it takes it out when it taxes. ‘There’s nothing to prevent the federal government from creating as much money as it wants and paying it to somebody,’ is how Alan Greenspan, then the Fed chairman, put it to Congressman Paul Ryan during a 2005 hearing.” And: “Mosler’s understanding of money provided him with an insight: Any government that prints its own currency can’t go bankrupt. That insight made him millions.” Skin in the game….

Class Warfare

“The Widening Cost-of-Living Gap” [Governing]. “In fact, the costs of living in different places throughout the United States are moving apart more now than at any time in the recent past. Local area cost-of-living data tracked by the Council for Community and Economic Research shows increasing divergence over the past few years as the economy has recovered. In 2007, the average cost-of-living composite index for the 20 most expensive urban areas in the nation was 50 percent greater than the average for all other areas. By Governing’s calculations, this gap had widened to 62 percent by the third quarter of last year.”

“Where have all the workers gone?” (charts) [Occasional Links & Commentary]. “As is clear from the chart above, the employment-population ratio (the blue line) has collapsed from a high of 64.4 in 2000 to 59 in 2014 (and had risen to only 60.1 by the end of 2017). During the same period, the average real incomes of the bottom 90 percent of Americans have stagnated—barely increasing from $37,541 to $37,886. That should be indicator that the problem is on the demand side, that employers’ demand for workers’ labor power has decreased, and not the supply side, that workers are choosing to drop out of the labor force.”

“Why ‘Deaths of Despair’ May Be a Warning Sign for America – Moving Upstream” (video) [Wall Street Journal]. Interesting that Case-Deaton have finally made it to the Wall Street Journal.

“Casper Star-Tribune journalists vote to unionize” [Casper Star-Tribune]. “‘Negotiating a collective agreement for the Star-Tribune’s newsgathering staff will allow us to create more stable reporting jobs in Wyoming, attract more experienced journalists and incentivize them to stay longer,’ according to a Feb. 6 news release from the organizers. ‘It will also allow us to have a voice in the event of future layoffs or cost-cutting measures. Finally, it will enable us to speak directly to our readers so that any business decisions by Lee Enterprises that hurt Wyoming will not go unnoticed.'”

“By Day, a Sunny Smile for Disney Visitors. By Night, an Uneasy Sleep in a Car” [New York Times]. Very Third World, showing deference to the tourists. Of course, you’ve got to have your good teeth…

News of The Wired

“Sex and drugs and self-control: how the teen brain navigates risk” [Nature]. “Telzer’s studies7 suggest that teenagers who show heightened ventral striatum activity when making decisions that help others, such as donating money, take fewer risks in the long term and have a lower risk of depression as adults. “There’s very much a yin and yang to this,” says Dahl.”

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Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please 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 (Kokuanani):

Kokuanani: “Weekend escape from DC’s snow & ice in Tucson.”

Readers, I’m running a bit low on plant images. So, whether you’re from the tropics or merely anticipating mud season, we’d like to see what you’ve taken.

* * *

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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. DanB

      ‘Oprah: “I went into prayer. ‘‘God, if you think I’m supposed to run, you gotta tell me…”‘ This is an appeal to charismatic leadership -right up Oprah’s alley. Remember what she said about Obama: “He’s the one…” Same rope-a-dope trope.

  1. Rob P

    “Robert Mueller Doesn’t Need a Smoking Gun”

    So that’s the Plan B when Mueller doesn’t find a smoking gun–just declare that he doesn’t need one, and get rid of Trump because of a “pattern of behavior” deemed suspicious. Democrats should consider a Plan C for opposing Trump, just in case trying to impeach Trump with no real evidence of collusion doesn’t work. Maybe something based on his policies?

    1. Sid_finster

      Sounds like a tacit admission that there may be no there there.

      Did not Yves say that once we grant our unelected and unaccountable intelligence agencies a de facto veto over elections, then we no longer are living in a republic?

      1. foghorn longhorn

        Looks like 2012 was the last “peaceful/amicable” election for quite some time.
        If not the russia, russia, russia, it will something, somebody, somewhere, from here on out.
        Oh joy.

      2. Yves Smith

        Lambert had a different wording of a similar idea first: right after the election, he pointed out how the Clinton faction was pushing as hard as they could for the idea that the Prez had to be acceptable to, meaning approved by the military-surveillance state. That’s a change in the Constitutional order, as well as third world.

    1. JCC

      Very good. While listening I read his entry in wikipedia. As famous as he was in his day, I was pretty surprised that I had never heard of him until today, particularly considering I spent my early years living directly across the Lake from where he was born and raised ( a lot of very interesting people hailed from Upstate Central NY during those times – but I missed this one ).

      On the other hand, considering his prime subjects of Oration (anti-slavery abolitionist, agnosticism, Thomas Paine, and the Rights of Man), maybe I shouldn’t be surprised at all that he hasn’t gotten much ink in modern America.

  2. Bill Smith

    “The arbitrage that won the 2016 election”

    There was no restriction on Clinton buying ads on Facebook. There was no bandwidth limitation on Clinton buying ads on Facebook. This means there was no problem with Clinton buying one more ad on Facebook. Did Facebook turn down any Clinton ads? Was Facebook censoring ads that Clinton was attempting to buy? No.

    What is the real issue here?

    1. DonCoyote

      > Just spitballing here, but why not outlaw political advertising on social media entirely?

      Putin puppet!

      Everyone knows that the only way to stop a bad political guy with a Facebook ad is a good political guy with a Facebook ad.

      Now if only I could tell the good from the bad, or see much good…

    2. Elizabeth Burton

      Repeat after me: It’s only bad if Trump does it. It’s only bad if Trump does it. It’s only bad…

      Situational ethics is now the rule, which is why I suspect so many people are still expressing rejection of Bernie Sanders because supported HRC after the convention. It’s simply outside their understanding that someone would actually do exactly what he said he would do.

      Likewise, they are now doing the same thing they ranted about Republicans doing, all while totally oblivious to that fact. Because they aren’t Republicans, so their reasons for doing it are, of course, purely moral and righteous.

      We are living in the Orwellian world where words more often than not are used to mean their exact opposite. There’s a Third Way propaganda organ on Medium called ExtraNews where this morning was published an article in which a writer insisted she was a liberal but rejected Bernie Sanders and his platform because she’s “not comfortable with big government.” I ignored the irony of an alleged Clinton liberal revealing she was, in fact, a conservative and just pointed out the error in self-definition. I also suggested the services of a good civics teacher, but that’s another story.

      1. integer

        Situational ethics is now the rule, which is why I suspect so many people are still expressing rejection of Bernie Sanders because supported HRC after the convention. It’s simply outside their understanding that someone would actually do exactly what he said he would do.

        Had Sanders lost to Clinton in a fair primary, I think many of the people you are referring to would’ve found Sanders’ support for Clinton a lot easier to accept.

        1. nippersmom

          I think that is a key point. Many feel that by cheating, the Democratic Party had already broken the terms of their agreement, and he was therefore no longer bound by it. They view his continued support of the party that defrauded and disenfranchised them as colluding with those who wronged them, not as standing by his own obligations.

          1. Sid_finster

            Exactly. By supporting the candidate who stole the nomination, Sanders betrayed those of us who supported him in good faith, for those who acted in bad faith from the start.

            No need to make excuses for Sanders.

          2. JCC

            On the other hand, even if naive, sticking to your word shows honor, even if you’ve been screwed by someone and some group without an honorable bone in their body.

      2. Procopius

        Adolph Hitler and the people who believed in him knew that they were good people and therefore what they wanted could not be evil. They wanted to save an entire country and “race,” surely a good thing. This required them to do horrible, painful things, but surely they were still good people, right? At least they believed so. Same with Republicans.

    3. curlydan

      Felix has granted FB “king maker” status thanks to a Wired article that while explaining how FBs algos work, never did tie a single freaking vote or changed vote to a person.

      Stop the mis-attribution, Felix! You’re driving me crazy.

  3. perpetualWAR

    House Approves Bullet-proof vests and security details.

    It appears TPTB believe the natives are getting restless……

    ….and they’re correct*.

    *pitchfork ready

    1. Code Name D

      Its odd that the local hardware stor keeps running out of pitchforks and torch oil. May have to use a rake and a flashlight.

  4. Bugs Bunny

    Re “Meet the Community Organizers Fighting Against … Barack Obama”

    Love BO’s response. He’ll never put skin in the game – except when it’s a guaranteed win and that’s no skin in the game at all.

  5. Carolinian

    Russia mania: going abroad in search of single payer advocates to destroy?

    American liberals would be surprised to know that Putin actually supports many of the same social issues that they support. For example, the Russian President is not only committed to lifting living standards and ending poverty, he’s also a big believer in universal healthcare which is free under the current Russian Constitution.


    The article says Putin has also spoken out against AGW albeit by calling for “groundbreaking, nature-like technologies.”

    1. a different chris

      I would like to see that kind of Russian* genius that built rockets out of near-scrap metal and devised submarines that basically run on vacuum tubes take a serious shot at this, for sure.

      *not saying it’s genetic!

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Putin speaks out against MMGW? I thought Putin was in favor of global warming as a way to make Siberia and Northern Russia more pleasant to live in and grow food in.

      1. ambrit

        Sorry. A lot of Siberia will be a soggy morass when it melts out. Plus, have you seen the latest weather patterns over North Eurasia, (with whom we have always been at war!) Warm Arctic and Cold Continent is how it’s being described.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          I agree with you on the actual outcome. Which means that it is Putin who will be sorry in the end.

    1. grayslady

      Interesting article. Thanks. I was recently looking to replace my favorite Microsoft mouse with new old stock. I looked at two outside vendors for newegg, and the comments suggested that they might have been selling refurbished mice or possibly counterfeits. I ended up buying from an eBay vendor and was very pleased. Glad I took a pass on newegg. I couldn’t tell from the article whether the purchases had been made online in the case of Walmart (from what I can tell, Walmart online sales are all from third party vendors). This is just another reason to buy locally if you can.

      1. Mike Mc

        Macintosh repair tech at a largish land grant university. The $39 Apple power adapter (battery charger) students often buy from Amazon instead of Apple’s official $79 one are 1) gray if not black market – Apple’s never granted a license to anyone for the MagSafe technology; 2) fail in a few weeks or months, and no one seems able to get a refund and 3) may actually harm your expensive Mac notebook.

        Worse are the ‘refurb’ Mac notebooks peddled on Amazon for $400 or $500; parents buy these and when we have to fix them, we (and they) discover it’s a 2009, 2010 or at best 2011 model… in 2018.

        ‘Outside vendors’ used to sell out of the trunk of their car at Midnight Computer/Auto/Gun Supply. Now we have blessed Bezos and his magic sucker box Amazon. (BTW, quite strange to see eBay transmogrified into a reliable supplier in the last few years.)

        1. grayslady

          I don’t often need to buy things, but, when I do, I’ve found eBay to be a reliable source as long as you stick to people who have 100% ratings. As I recall, eBay was one of the first to be confronted with counterfeit–and stolen!–merchandise, so they simply had to clean house earlier than some of the others.

        2. clinical wasteman

          yes, these are all scams in the one thing is advertised and another is sold, but really, if you end up with a 2011 Mac instead of a 2018 one, you’ve hit the jackpot!

        3. ewmayer

          9-year Macbook classic user – only first one bought new, all since have been used/refurbs, current one is an $85 used from a Craigslist local seller whose macbook battery died and who didn’t fancy paying Apple’s nosebleed price for an OEM rplacement. I’ve never had to buy a power converter, since those are really easy to find in the lost+found bin of most any wifi cafe. My $1000 OEM macbook’s battery became unusable due to swelling at one corner within a year of hard use; I ended up buying no fewer than three third-party-made batteries, none for more than $30, online – the first 2 were bricks on arrival but the third one gave fine service for over 5 years.

    2. Annotherone

      Thanks for this link. It supports my recent findings. I’m currently fighting the good fight with Amazon and one of their third-party sellers about a bottle of perfume, bought by my husband via Amazon, for my birthday last month. The perfume is definitely, definitely counterfeit – hardly even that – because it has next to no scent/smell at all, and I know this perfume well from previous purchases. I’m being passed back and forth right now, with standard and irrelevant letters, no doubt sent by robots. I’ve resorted to contacting the manufacturers, “Geir Ness” quoting all the numbers on the item’s box and bottle. I’ve offered to send it to them at my expense so they can see for themselves what is being sold under their brand. Still awaiting response to that offer, but they are said to be “looking into it”.

      1. a different chris

        You are probably right… but in general stuff like that happens often when said company is taken over by the Mitt Romney’s of the world.

        I used to love Grey Poupon mustard. Then they simply stopped making it in France and it sucks now so bad. I have to go to Pgh’s famous (or maybe not famous, but locals know) “Strip District” to one of the small stores there that sell real dijon mustards. Maybe that’s a good thing.

        1. beth

          You are probably right… but in general stuff like that happens often when said company is taken over by the Mitt Romney’s of the world.

          It’s funny that now we can spot private equity firms by what they are selling and what they are not selling, w/o reading the business pages.

          1. ambrit

            Try working for any company recently taken over by a private equity firm. I foresee a surge in bullet proof vest sales to private equity executives soon, out of necessity.

    3. curlydan

      check out kids’ soccer uniforms on Amazon. Your child can get a Barcelona, Real Madrid, ManU etc uniforms for only $25.

      Total fakes. Real ones would probably start at $50 if you’re lucky.

      1. ewmayer

        Given how big a waste of money buying a kid – who will soon outgrow the damn thing anyway – an overpriced ‘league official’ sports-team jersey, this may be one area where insisting on a decently-made lower-priced knockoff sounds like a shrewd move. For all we know – and this is likely true of lots of overpriced brandname swag – both the real and fake versions are made in the same asian sweatshops!

        1. Procopius

          It used to be easy to buy a fake Rolex watch at the outdoor market in Patpong Road (home to many shady bars) for about $20 or $25. Evidently Rolex started contributing to the Royal Thai Police Chowder and Marching Society Benefit Fund, because I am told they are now not available at any price. I used to hear that they were in fact quite good watches and lasted for years, I have never thought of a watch as jewelry, so it never occurred to me to buy one back when they were available, which I now kind of regret.

      2. fajensen

        Well, “They” expect us to pay 1’st world prices for their wares while working diligently to suppress our wages and working conditions to 3’rd world levels. So there is some fairness in skipping the middle man and going directly for the 3’rd world pricing via DealExtreme & Co.

    4. drumlin woodchuckles

      What is the minimum number of people buying from NOmazon and NOmart in order to keep supply chains alive and in bussiness to NOmazon and NOmart? If enough people don’t buy enough goods and services from or through NOmazon and NOmart to keep the supply chainers alive and in bussiness, the supply-makers will be left stranded and with no choice but to sell through Walmazon or die.

      People need to resolve to buy from NOmazon and NOmart and damn the prices.

  6. prx

    “Just spitballing here, but why not outlaw political advertising on social media entirely?”

    Could this be done without running into the first amendment?

        1. Dave

          We do but, as in Citizens United case for instance, it’s really hard to draw the line to outlaw “political advertising,” and “Outright propaganda”, without also outlawing “A Documentary About Some Real Problems with the Administration”. Essential, but harder to do than it seems at first pass. I mean, I see Washington Post and NY Times ads on Facebook, and they certainly veered into political propaganda at times in 2016.

          Facebook has never hid the fact that ads are rated based on potential viralit, and in most cases I would agree this is a good thing – a widely-shared ad is presumably one that people like looking at and talking about more than a less-shared one. But in the case of political ads, they can also be shared more because they’re scary, fear-mongering nightmares. Normally Facebook tries to stamp this out by also heavily penalizing ads that people dislike – when you block or report an ad, it cuts that rating way down. The issue then is the very specific targeting of the audiences – if you can narrow your audience down accurately enough, even the most hate-filled political ad will be “liked” by everyone and blocked by nobody.

    1. The Rev Kev

      In Australia there is a election-eve political advertising blackout for the last 24 hours which means TV, radio and print. Don’t know if it is the same overseas. Even with that the politicians have their sad face on and constantly demand the right to hassle you with political ads right up to and including election day on the grounds of free speech. Sorry, wrong country for that argument.
      The networks are unhappy too as they are missing out on advertising revenue for that last day. Social media political advertising is allowed but that makes the politicians and networks unhappy because that involves that new-fangled internet thingy. Nobody else among the other 25,000,000 people here are sympathetic to their cause. Sad.

      1. WheresOurTeddy

        I like that rule. Hell, in America, Billy Jeff was campaigning AT the polling places in defiance of the law.

        No consequences of course, being a Big Club member and all.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Yeah, I saw that. Blocked all access to that voting station with the circus he had in tow which was probably the point of it all. Nixon may have had an enemies list but the Clintons apparently have an enemies Excel sheet which you do not want to get on. Brave would be the polling official or beat cop who would seek to get through his secret service detail and flunkies to tell him to move it.

  7. Quentin

    Lambert, If Jennifer Palmieri literally and factually believes her statement about the ‘gypsy taxi driven by a Russian’, she has serious emotional problems on all levels. I wouldn’t even try to begin listing them. Whereas if she thinks she’s just being cutely clever (= witty), she’s just a fool (= jerk). So one way or the other she has little to offer in the way of anything. I’d put my money on the second possibility. In no way can I think that her tweet was honest. This would reflect poorly on her two former bosses, Obama and Clinton. But then, come to think of it, Clinton and Chelsea did come under fire at the Bosnia (?) airport so anything can happen at an airport (= point of transition).

    1. roxy

      Right after the election Harvard hosted a forum featuring the top campaign staffers, which quickly dissolved into a yelling match.
      Palmieri: “I’d rather lose than win the way you did Kellyanne!”
      Conway: “No you wouldn’t Jennifer!”
      Guess JP got what she wanted.

    2. Buttinsky

      Whereas if she thinks she’s just being cutely clever (= witty)

      I suggest that the hilarious Jennifer Palmieri might in fact find herself better suited to the stand-up comedy stage than politics. Remember her droll email during the 2016 campaign to the Clintonites debating whether or not to accept donations from lobbyists for foreign governments? “Take the money!!!”

      1. Conrad

        (which apparently the five (5) consultants the Clinton campaign paid a cool $700 million didn’t have the mad skillz to figure out)

        If Palmieri was paid at the same rate as the internet consultants it’d be a profitable enterprise to kidnap her for ransom.

        1. ambrit

          Good point. If the Lords of All want to drive the working classes down to Third World status here in America, they had better be prepared to deal with some of the more common Third World economic compensation strategies that come with that. Such as the kidnapping of wealthy people for ransom.

    3. Optic7

      I finally came to the realization that many of the people going off about russiagate not only believe all of it, but that some of the relatively higher-profile ones actually think they’re in some kind of cold war spy thriller filled with hackers and secret agents everywhere. When you’re up to the neck in this mass hysteria it’s not a major cognitive jump to go from thinking that every skeptic on twitter is a russian sockpuppet to thinking that Russian cab drivers may try to kidnap you because you’re “high-profile”. I firmly believe that Pamieri believes that she’s surrounded by Russians everywhere, and that they might be out to get her. I doubt she’s the only one with this delusion.

      1. a different chris

        Why would some highly-trained Russian allow himself to get stuck playing hack-driver just in order to kidnap Jennifer freakin’ Palmeri?

        If that order came down to me (Russian undercover that I am!) I would go straight to Putin and have him kick my boss’s (family blog) for that type of ridiculousness.

      2. The Rev Kev

        Yeah, Louise Mensch went the same way. Even wanted to bomb Moscow at one stage and started to suspect the Israelis of being responsible for Trump. Even her kids joke about her suspecting Russians being the cause of every problem. And that is the rabbit hole that awaits people like Jennifer Palmieri.

    4. Darthbobber

      This is a continuation of the derangement that we saw in the immediate aftermath of the election. A mediocre pundit whose ebay order didn’t show up who thought that the Russians might have diverted it (Why? God only knows, best not to ask such a question.) ANd another one who was worrying that he might fall victim to a pogrom because of the southern accent of his plumber.

  8. JohnnyGL


    live 4:30pm est: sanders, lee and murphy to introduce yemen war powers resolution

    Senators Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) will introduce a bipartisan joint resolution to remove U.S. armed forces from hostilities between the Saudi-led coalition and the Houthis in Yemen pursuant to the War Powers Resolution. The bill will force the first-ever vote in the Senate to withdraw U.S. armed forces from an unauthorized war

        1. Knifecatcher

          Mike Lee is a weird dude. He’s honestly convinced his particular interpretation of the Constitution is the only true and correct one, and as such you never know when he’s going to do something apparently at odds with his otherwise uber right wing position. Keep in mind, this guy came to power by outflanking Bob Bennett at the 2010 Utah GOP convention. He successfully positioned Bob Bennett as a secret leftie and RINO. Bob Bennett!

          Strange bedfellows, I suppose.

          1. JohnnyGL

            UT and KY as bastions of anti-war libertarians….who’d have thunk it? Gotta take allies where you find them, I guess.

    1. integer

      Good on Sanders. Here is his press conference speech (I think that is Sanders’ official youTube channel). Here is his press-release. I also note that Sanders has stopped making the false assertion that the Houthis are backed by Iran. Not a bad way to make an entrance into the foreign policy arena.

  9. Summer

    I just ran across this. It addresses one of my pet peeves: defining people by marketing terms.

    Today’s crises are not just-so stories of improvident boomers waging war on entitled millennials while X-ers and Z-ers are caught in the crossfire and silents look disdainfully on. The essentialism of generational thinking threatens any alliance that could break the stronghold of the rapacious economic and political elite whose power over the lives of ordinary people drives the single simple story resembling reality.

    1. WheresOurTeddy

      When Baby Boomers admit that life has never before or since been easier than for people born between 1945 and 1965, that their college cost a fraction of ours, that their first houses cost less than our cars, that if you graduated from high school before 1965 and could speak English in complete sentences you could fall backward into the middle class, that the ladder to success has been pulled up behind them, that it’s been 40 years of unmitigated failure since Baby Boomers became the largest cohort of adults, and your presidential history is Reagan-Bush-Clinton-Bush-Obama-Trump (not a progressive or non-war criminal in the lot), we can get around to the generational cumbaya.

      Until then, save it.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          I will just say further that lower class boomers and ex-working class boomers, including the millions who were mass-jobicided by the Free Trade Agreements, had no ladder-to-success to pull up after them.

          If you want to have a shared cynical self interest between poor you and the poor boomers against the upper class of both generations, the poor boomers might be interested. But if you insist on some kind of apology from poor boomers who have nothing to apologize for as a condition of such a multi-generational marriage of social-class convenience, then you should expect to never ever get that multi-generational marriage of social-class convenience because you will never ever get that apology from the poor boomers.

          If you think that poor boomers care whether you want generational cumbaya with them ( us), then you may be mistaken. I personally don’t want your cumbaya, and I personally have nothing to apologize to you about at all.

      1. Darthbobber

        No idea why anybody thinks this sort of intergenerational warfare nonsense has any value.

        Leaving aside how ridiculous it is to see an entire generation as if it were somehow a big person, exercising a unified agency in some monolithic fashion, which is the supposition needed for this sort of thing to make a lick of sense, there are a few additional errors here.
        1) When Mr. Reagan was elected, the very oldest boomers were 35 years old, and the youngest were still three years shy of being old enough to vote. I believe the second Clinton term was the first election in which those collectively known as the boomers were actually the majority of the electorate.

        2) Only the very earliest of the group could be said to have enjoyed that “best of all possible worlds” (leaving aside that little war), since by ’78 in the Carter administration the jacking up of interest rates induced the big anti-inflation recession (the oldest boomers were all of 33 at that point, most were at the beginning of such “careers” as they would have), followed by the deliberate deindustrialization of the nation in the Reagan administration, and an endless decline in real wages. And I can assure you that there were destitute people all over the place even at the peak of imperial American prosperity.

        If one is going to go off in the deep end like this, the later members of the ostensibly Greatest Generation spent much more of their adult lives in the postwar “paradise.” If, like my mom, you were born in 1932 of poor farmers, you had a tough childhood, but Dr Win the War had put everybody back to work by the time you were ten, and things had become pretty darn good before you were actually an adult.

        In any case, there are obviously cleavages and vastly different groups within every generation, which makes generalizations based on some fictional commonality within them utterly useless.

  10. DJG

    The Obama Center, which seems mainly designed to serve the real-estate interests at the UofChicago (™).

    I enjoy this rather bizarre set of observations, which don’t seem tethered to Chicago: “Obama doesn’t need to sign a deal with community organizers in order to win the goodwill of the city government—the city gave him 20 acres of parkland to build his center. And community organizers won’t easily persuade local politicians to throw their weight against the wishes of both Obama and Emanuel, who has called the center a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” for the city.”

    Emanuel is deeply unpopular, especially among black people, who are being forced out of the city. And “gave” isn’t a word about park land that Friends of the Parks likes to hear. FoP has been involving itself, too, and it managed to scare away the Lucas Museum (of Narrative Art) vanity project, which also involved giving away park lands.

    The reason that Obama doesn’t want to negotiate has to do more with his habitual secrecy (often passed off as his great reserve and self-control). But one can be self-possessed and still talk to members of a community that has been mistreated by the university and the city for years, can’t one?

    1. perpetualWAR

      Obama doesn’t intend to change his abuse of the black community. Remember more black wealth evaporated under the 1st black president than at any other time in our history. Nice legacy ya got there.

      1. JohnnyGL

        “Measured as always, Obama began by telling Taylor, “I was a community organizer.” Then he said, “I know the neighborhood. I know that the minute you start saying, ‘Well, we’re thinking about signing something that will determine who’s getting jobs and contracts and this and that’ … next thing I know, I’ve got 20 organizations coming out of the woodwork.” “

        Wow, what a condescending answer. The guy just spent 8 years handing out jobs as president.He had to do it for his cabinet, the entire administrative branch apparatus, running a campaign, DNC consulting gigs. He’s seriously handed out THOUSANDS of jobs. And now he’s too much of a snob to deal with normal residents who want a few jobs thrown their way??!!?!

        Elites want to be able to land-grab without even handing out a few crumbs, I guess.

    2. barefoot charley

      No, one can’t. They just keep talking, complete waste of time. This good article covers only the simplest of many problems with Obama’s proposal. Their process has been determindly dishonest from the get, when they pretended to be considering stealing other park land instead, to diffuse criticism. Then his proponents lost the high ground when Obama refused to concede the first demand of every community organizer, a Community Benefits Agreement, which left the Obamaniacs with the race card to play, suggesting only white people like parks. But black people do too, so more and more people started questioning why Obama could requisition public parkland that had just been protected as a public trust against George Lucas. (Friends of the Parks had caved to the Obamas immediately, btw, and are now nosing back into the game because their grassroots ignored them, and created their own JacksonParkWatch.org .) The arrogance and dishonesty remind of (just between us NCers) the previous 8 years. After the Revolution, let’s make the University of Chicago a stable.

      1. grayslady

        You put into words my own feelings as I watch this play out from farther north of the city. I think Obama thought he could get whatever he wanted from Rahm, just as George Lucas did. So glad to see the community groups fighting back. I’ve always suspected that a lot of Illinois black voters held their noses to vote for Obama: they wanted that first black president but would have preferred someone like Danny Davis, who actually seems to care about what happens to real people.

      2. diptherio

        Looks like Jackson Park Watch is playing ball too:

        Jackson Park Watch urges the Obama Foundation to:
        Alter the landscape design to suit the natural and historic character of the site.
        Modify the design of the Obama Presidential Center tower to harmonize with the Park and the surrounding residential neighborhood.
        Stay within the boundaries of the site designated for the Obama Presidential Center (then “Library”) by the Chicago City Ordinance adopted in 2015, eliminating the need for massive, taxpayer-funded road changes.


        1. barefoot charley

          Yes, putting the Center (it’s no longer a library, it won’t have books, funny how that evolved too) in the park seems inescapable, because of synergies with that other uninstructive monument to public/private synergy nearby, the Museum of Science and Industry. They’re hoping the park doesn’t have to be mutilated and traffic flows ruined by the Center’s collateral damage. An 18-hole Tiger Woods golf course will take over nearby land, and of course the Obamanoids are pretending the two landgrabs aren’t coordinated, so fights are ongoing on several fronts. But yes, the war is lost since no public agency would dream of defending the public against our long-gone homie.

    3. Homina

      Yeah, Emanuel recently made (or attempted, can’t remember if panned out) it a requirement for getting a high school graduation certificate of: getting a job; entering the military; being accepted by a secondary school, or something. Otherwise no hs graduation 4 u. A kid moves to Utah, employer goes “okay, when did you graduate High School”, kid goes “I NEVER DIDDDD” and isn’t hired. Rahm Emanuel. Anyone who reads that collection of 12 symbols including space who doesn’t vomit, has got a very iron stomach.

      Completely terrible for so many reasons, and examples.

      I realize Chicago and New Orleans (Louisiana in general, sorry but true) fight every year for the Corruption Award…[Baltimore coming on strong lately though]…

      But I am utterly baffled why any Chicago native would have ever cast a vote for Rahm Emanuel. Why? Why would anyone, black or white, cast a vote for this person who is laser-focused on destroying them and their communities and protecting the cops who kill them and toss them into gitmo-level boxes and interfering with federal investigations, and so so many other terrible things via that terrible Chicago gov’t and Police Force?

      And hopefully an expert Chicago scholar will write a comparison of which Chicago was better: under Emanuel, or under Capone.


      And now swoops in Obama with the 20 acres and the billion dollar library. Sure to give back as much to Chi-town (not) as if Wrigley Field were replaced by a billion dollar tax-payer funded new field (haven’t looked it up but I imagine some devils are clamoring for such.)

      Oh, well…https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wrigley_Field_renovations

      Since purchasing the Chicago Cubs baseball team and Wrigley Field in 2009, the Ricketts family have been pursuing an extensive renovation of the stadium and the surrounding venue. At its outset, the 1060 Project (so called after Wrigley Field’s Addison Street address) was projected to cost $575 million and was to be completed in four phases during consecutive off-seasons.[1] Funding was generated from advertising revenue and increased corporate sponsorship in the form of additional signage placed in and around the stadium.

      It’s a freaking grass field and a brick wall and ivy and some stands. Not sure why $575 million is needed. But in any event, thanks to the Ricketts for putting that cost on advertising revenue and other corporate funders, rather than tax-payers. That’s how you raise funds. New Stadia of various sports is an enormous bilking of locals and gift to teams via local city and/or state funds. Deadspin site has a long, long cogent criticism of this.

      But again, rare the above, and good iconoclasty Ricketts for not trying to have Chicago or Ill pay for it. Not sure how you escaped Rahm’s tentacles, which would’ve likely had the reno for $2 billion or so, $1 billion for his kickbacks to the mob and Obama’s library and I don’t know–telekinetics, midwife unions, the rat-as-meal-fast-food to starving people, more revenue for Kuwait or Oman or China to learn how to torture prisoners from Chicago’s own black sites…. Who knows what goes on in one of the worst cities in the country, with one of the most corrupt mayors?

  11. Carey

    How many times now has Ms. Winfrey made high-profile statements the she is *not* running for President?
    That photo of her in her wonk-glasses when she gave the acclaimed™ speech made me think
    something was up, and my guess is that yes, she will be running for President.

    Dog help us all.

  12. Tomonthebeach

    Oh, Jeeziz! Apparently God is calling on both Mike Pence and Oprah to lead the country. Now there’s a ticket for ya. Can the odd couple get any odder than that?

  13. Wyoming

    This is the first set of Mueller’s charges, not the second; and I’m confused why there is a second set of charges at all, if the concept is that you climb the ladder by flipping the underlings. If Manafort flipped, why the second set?

    Did you miss read and think they were talking about Gates?

    Manafort has not flipped. Mueller is adding pressure to try and get him to flip. Maybe he indicts Manfort’s wife next as she can probably be tied to the money laundering.

    If Manafort flips then he will plead guilty to a set of charges (others would likely be dropped) and that would only happen if he provides really good new info for Mueller.

    Considering who Manafort worked for I imagine there is real pressure (at least psychologically) coming from those entities also. “Take the fall like a made man would and you will be rewarded (or your family will be) later. Turn on us and you end up in a body bag and maybe your family also.”

    A balance of power going on?

    1. Kim Kaufman

      The second set of charges has to do with tax fraud from money laundering and bank fraud from lying to banks, as I recall or as I understand it. I think it was the same charges for Gates which caused him to flip. Gates also apparently has no money to pay for lawyers any more. Not sure how Manafort’s paying his legal bills since apparently, according to Marcy Wheeler, he can’t make bail because he can’t show that any of his money is legitimate, i.e., not from money laundering.

      I don’t know where any of this will go in terms of a larger story but it is entertaining to watch. Hope Hicks resigned today. Haven’t checked Twitter to see if “white lies” is trending.

  14. Steely Glint

    David Dayen at the California Democratic Party convention on monopolies, in this quote monopolistic health care providers :
    “But the dirty truth we all know is that concentrated economic power begets concentrated political power. So when single payer meets single provider, we know what would happen behind the scenes so the provider protects its profits. You need to break up these concentrations of power first, before you can move forward and make progress on anything else.”
    Still waiting for groups like Move to Amend ( corporations are not people & money is not speech) to hit for the fences along with the kids decrying the power of the NRA & money in politics. Depending on the Janus ruling, money is speech could become even more entrenched.

  15. Kim Kaufman

    “Oprah Winfrey Reveals the One Thing That Could Make Her Run for President” [People]. That’s right. Oprah: “I went into prayer. ‘‘God, if you think I’m supposed to run, you gotta tell me, and it has to be so clear that not even I can miss it.’ And I haven’t gotten that.” That’s not exactly a Sherman statement.

    Sign seen in front of church circa 2012 presidential primary elections: “Rick Perry: This is God. I am not talking to you. Take your meds.”

  16. Kim Kaufman

    NH-1: “Bernie Sanders’ son Levi announces run for Congress” [New York Post]. Good for him, though he must stand or fall on his own merits (unlike, say, Chelsea).

    or whichever Kennedy it was who made the Dem State of Union rebuttal.

    1. Edward E

      Wonder if he has a powerful ‘Levi-tational’ Policy?
      This is really, really exciting, I searched the entire country in vain trying to get a ‘Bernie Action Figure’ before he sold out. Now if Levi doesn’t ‘sell out’ too soon I’ll maybe get my second chance! You go Levi!

  17. WheresOurTeddy

    “Just spitballing here, but why not outlaw political advertising on social media entirely?”

    Amendment 1 to the US Constitution

  18. Polar Donkey

    Memphis, TN is the number one market for the Black Panther movie. Saturday 830 am showings are selling out still. Did democratic party set up voter registration booths? No. One black fraternity did at a couple theaters. Democrats are useless

  19. marym

    WV school employee strike to continue across much of state

    Tuesday’s announcement didn’t include much in the way of immediate plans to provide more long-term funding for Public Employees Insurance Agency health coverage.

    “All along, what we have said our No. 1 issue was a fix for PEIA, to give funding to help out not just teachers but all state employees, and they gave us a deal where teachers get a higher raise than anybody else and there’s no solution to PEIA,” Culver said. “I don’t know why it’s going to take a task force to just say there has to be more funding. You can’t just fudge numbers and decide that there’s a new revenue, there has to be an actual revenue source.”

  20. HippoDave

    [A] group of Democrats is betting Trump’s record in office will push national security issues to the fore in the 2018 midterms and the next presidential election. A group of mostly young veterans of President Barack Obama’s administration and Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign is launching a political strike force aimed at countering Trump and Republicans on national security.

    I can’t fathom what kind of tack they’re going to take on that…considering it seems Trump is going to deport less immigrants, make war on less countries, drone-bomb around the same weddings and first-responders, sell the same or less arms to despotic governments, and perhaps arm less terrorists. So, what other national security optics are there? Granted, I get kind of confused separating foreign policy and warmongering with “national security”, much less “department of defense”…

    …do they mean airport security? Cybersecurity? Even then, how is Trump worse than Obama on either?

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      These National Security Democrats will condemn Trump for changing “Assad must go” into “Assad can stay”. They will condemn Trump for his less-than-Clintonian levels of support to the hotsie-totsie banderazi Coup Regime in Kiev. (Biden’s private bitterness over his son not making as much money from fracking all over East Ukraine as was expected will figure behind-the-scenes in this part of the NatSec Democrats’ complaints).

  21. HippoDave

    Either way, it seems clear that the more incendiary Trump’s ads became, the less he had to pay to run them, and the more of an audience they could reach. It’s hard to imagine an incentive structure more damaging to democracy and the substantive nationwide debate that presidential elections are supposed to encourage.

    I’m pretty sure the mass media, consultants, Correct the Record types, etc. are paid (incentivized). Not to mention of course candidate donations. After-term-in-office speeches and corporate/financial gigs (and back and forth and back and forth in some cases). Money money money

    Why imagine something more damaging when many examples already exist?

  22. Carolinian

    Just watching the Abacus Bank documentary Small Enough to Jail on PBS Frontline. This was very good–highly recommended. The show has been nominated for an Academy Award.

  23. Oregoncharles

    “Where have all the workers gone?”
    Detailed, but doesn’t answer the obvious question: what are they doing instead? Granted, to a degree they’re wandering the streets and very visible. In the past, “hobos” were a sign of severe depression. What do they mean now?

    However, I have to assume that the underground economy has swelled dramatically. Are there any indicators for that? It’s difficult to track by definition. As I said, I encountered an example, who sawed up and sold the logs in our back yard. Cash basis only. And for a while, I was, years ago, before the contractors’ board caught on.

  24. Ed Miller

    Jim Haygood: I don’t know how to interpret the mania-panic index line vs the stock price line.

    How does one interpret the chart of the mania-panic index? If this were a standard technical indicator I would say it diverges from the recent rebound in stock prices. That would imply a retest of the spike lows, or worse.

    Stated another way, does the index reflect that NC’ers are pessimistic about a rally to new highs or something else?


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