2:00PM Water Cooler 3/13/2018

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“President Donald Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on imports of steel and aluminum has elicited more criticism from members of his own party on the Hill than any policy so far — but don’t expect them to do anything about it just yet” [Politico]. “Republican leaders are getting gun-shy on directly overriding Trump even as Sen. Jeff Flake took the lead in the fight against the new duties on Monday, introducing legislation to nullify tariffs that he previously called ‘this very unfortunate exercise in protectionism.'” The tariffs were popular in PA-18; so popular Democrat Conor Lamb supports them, too.



“What Elizabeth Warren Is In For” [The American Prospect]. “Warren is a skilled and charismatic politician, so she might be able to convince the broader electorate that Trump’s insulting nickname [“Pocohantas”] says more about him than it does about her.” The Berkshire Eagle, which is locally owned and not crazypants, points out that a DNA test would make this non-issue go away. I can’t speak to the technicalities of DNA testing, but if they are right, that’s a very simple solution.

Sanders in Arizona. “The agenda of the billionaire class….”

More on billionaires:


“House 2018: 26 Ratings Changes, All in Favor of Democrats” [Sabato’s Crystal Ball]. “Amazingly enough, the special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th Congressional District now looks like a Toss-up. That’s one of 26 House ratings changes we’re making this week, all in favor of Democrats…. Democrats have been consistently overperforming Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential performance in special elections held since Donald Trump’s election. My colleague Geoffrey Skelley has been tracking these elections, which are mostly for state legislative seats but also include a handful of congressional specials, and he calculates that Democrats have been running on average 13 points ahead of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 margin in the nearly 90 races held so far featuring a Democrat and a Republican.” Makes you wonder if the candidate was part of the problem…..

“Nine months from Election Day, political veterans eyeing the House landscape struggle to even identify a single Democratic House hopeful — of the hundreds running — who openly opposes abortion rights” [McClatchy]. “[Conor] Lamb isn’t the only recent special election Democratic nominee who supported abortion rights despite running in a deeply conservative area: Doug Jones, running in Alabama, also backed a woman’s right to an abortion. Jones won that race, besting embattled Republican nominee Roy Moore.”

“Democratic Campaign Committee Endorses NRA-Backed Blue Dogs in Midterm Elections” [Truthout]. “The influence of the Blue Dogs in DCCC recruitment is evident in the candidates endorsed by the DCCC, many of whom are facing progressive challengers in primaries. As part of the DCCC’s “Red to Blue” program to help support Democrats in districts currently held by Republicans, the Democratic Party is manufacturing primary nominees who have long records in support from the NRA.”

* * *

PA-18, tonight! “All elections have consequences, but on a scale of zero-to-life-changing, Tuesday’s special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th District between Republican Rick Saccone and Democrat Conor Lamb has fewer real-world consequences than most” [Roll Call]. “The race will not only not change the balance of power in Congress, it won’t even determine who will get a leg up to win the seat this fall. That’s because the district will be entirely redrawn when the primaries for the seat take place two months from now and at least one candidate, Lamb, won’t even live there for a possible rematch…. The race is also not a test for the tariff issue in the Rust Belt, since both candidates support President Donald Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on foreign-made steel and aluminum. Nor is it a question of the power of the gun control issue in the wake of the Florida school shooting, because Saccone and Lamb have similar positions there, too….. Instead, the election boils down to a fight for national bragging rights, plain and simple…. Poor Rick. And poor Conor, too, while we’re at it. Because the sheer lunacy of hyping these special elections up to national spectator events has done a disservice to both candidates.” But we’ve got to cover it anyhow!

PA-18: “The Fight for a Disappearing District in Pennsylvania” [Roll Call]. “Most of the 18th District’s population will be in the new 14th District, though the new congressional map is still being challenged in the courts. The new seat tilts more heavily toward Republicans. Under the new lines, Trump would have carried the district by 29 points. Saccone is already circulating petitions in the new 14th district, since signatures are due on March 20. Lamb has also said he would run for a full term in Congress this year, but he hasn’t said from where.”

PA-18: “On special election eve, Trump Jr. stumps for Rick Saccone, tours chocolate factory in Western Pa.” [Trib Live]. “Donald Trump Jr. toured Sarris Candies in Canonsburg Monday afternoon, sampling chocolates and ice cream… Norm Candelore, a Sarris manager, led Trump Jr. and Saccone through the chocolate factory, which was preparing for Easter with racks of chocolate bunnies, eggs and baskets. Candelore said the company, founded in 1960, has added 80 jobs since Congress passed a tax reform plan championed by Trump. Candelore said the company had been successful for decades, but that changes in the tax bill prompted management to hire permanent workers when in the past they would have taken on temporary staff.”

PA-18: “Pennsylvania Democrats aim to draw in union workers who voted for Trump” [Guardian]. “As Democrats rev up their Get Out the Vote machine for Conor Lamb, Democratic nominee for the political dynamite special election in Pennsylvania’s 18th congressional district on Tuesday, they are relying heavily on organized labor, which has over 80,000 members in the district, to turn out the vote. They are hoping that this leads to a victory in the district, which voted for Trump by a 17% margin, but still on paper at least has 70,000 more registered Democrats than Republicans.” It would be nice if just once labor got something from the Democrats for supporting them. Like card check. Remember card check?

PA-18: “Lamb said he doesn’t think the race is a referendum on Trump and didn’t think the president’s announcement on tariffs would sway voters” [Trib Live]. “‘I just think opinions are divided about it, and me and Mr. Saccone both agree that we should stick up for the steel workers,’ Lamb said.”

PA-18: “Conor Lamb’s Campaign for Trump Voters in PA-18” [The New Yorker]. “Up close the special election in PA-18 looks more complicated. Many of the people who will vote for Lamb are Trump voters who still support the President. If elected, Lamb will have to reconcile the local realities of a district that stretches from Appalachia in the south to wealthy liberal Pittsburgh suburbs in the north, as well as navigate a polarized national landscape that will put pressure on his conservative views about energy and guns.” And then there’s this:

For the past seven years, I’ve reported from Washington County [in PA-18], an area hit hard by the collapse of the steel industry and more recently by the slow death of coal. In the wake of these industries, deep drilling for natural gas has created revenue that has helped to keep hotels and diners and chainsaw-repair shops, among many other small businesses, afloat. The influx of money has also further divided the residents of small, rural communities, separating the larger landowners who are earning money from gas operations from those who see little benefit.

Who “see little benefit,” can’t afford to buy bottled water, and cope with the trucks on the roads.

PA-18: “The Needle’s Back. Maybe This Time, It Will Really Be Wrong.” [New York Times]. “Our live forecast is just a formal means to do for online viewers what analysts like Mr. Kornacki or Mr. King have been doing for television viewers for years. It looks at where votes remain to be counted, and makes an educated guess about how those votes will break based on past election results and trends evident in initial returns.”


“Why the Gun Issue Has Shifted (It’s Not What You Think)” [Stuart Rothenberg, Inside Elections]. Not Parkland. “the reason why the gun control issue was a big advantage for the GOP for decades but now favors the Democrats can be traced to the shift in the electoral coalitions of the two parties… The gun issued changed the political arithmetic so completely in the Republicans’ favor that Democrats, increasingly located in the suburbs and in America’s cities, gave up on culturally conservative voters and decided the party should avoid talking about gun control if it hoped to woo any working-class whites…. Now, suburban voters increasingly find that on guns they have more in common with their urban friends than with their rural ones. Some restrictions on guns, in particular, seem increasingly reasonable to swing voters after numerous mass shootings. As the issue has become more salient politically, it has also become potentially more effective for Democrats.”

2016 Post Mortem

Here’s the video of Hillary’s “dynamic places” speech, just in time to inspire and unify our divided country:

“Girls trip! Hillary Clinton takes private jet for sight seeing tour and stay with maharaja friend in India – after claiming Trump won because his voters ‘don’t like black people’ and ‘told their wives not to vote for her'” [Daily Mail]. There’s a lot here, but this hasn’t garnered a lot of attention: Clinton: “[W]hat the map doesn’t show you is that I won the places that represent two-thirds of America’s Gross Domestic Product.” For starters, what’s the solution? Re-introduce income qualifications for voting?

New Cold War

“Russia Investigation” (PDF) [House Intelligence Committee]. This is the one-page summary. Proposed recommendations:

The draft report includes 25+ proposed recommendations for Congress and the executive branch to improve:

  • Election security, including protecting vote tallies;
  • Support to European allies;
  • The U.S. government response to cyber-attacks;
  • Campaign finance transparency; and
  • Counterintelligence practices related to political campaigns and unauthorized disclosures.

I’d like very much to see that section on election security; I would bet that there’s no mention at all of hand-marked paper ballots, hand-counted in public (an erasure that commands bipartisan support).

“Draft GOP report: No coordination between Trump and Russia” [AP]. “Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee have completed a draft report concluding there was no collusion or coordination between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign and Russia, a finding that pleased the White House but enraged Democrats who had not yet seen the document…. [T]he public will not see the report until Democrats have reviewed it and the intelligence community has decided what information can become public, a process that could take weeks. Democrats are expected to issue a separate report with far different conclusions.”

“Broadside for the Trump Era: McCarthyism 1947–1960” (PDF) [Verso]. Handy infographic.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Democrats and the Crisis of Legitimacy” [Rob Urie, Counterpunch (OregonCharles)]. “These mass exoduses [from both major parties] have several implications: (1) with voters fleeing both duopoly Parties, it is the political system that has lost credibility, (2) the back-and-forth of faux ‘opposition’ that provided the illusion of political difference has lost potency as a driver of domestic politics and (3) charges that foreign influence determined the 2016 electoral outcomes are wholly implausible when placed in the context of the scale of voter disaffection with the duopoly Party system…. For instance, 71% of eligible voters didn’t vote for the Democratic Party candidate. 73% didn’t vote for Donald Trump…. Carried to its logical conclusion, as long as there are an odd number of votes cast to prevent a tie, the duopoly Party leaderships are indifferent to how few voters participate in the electoral process.”

“The wild, wild world of Sheriff David Clarke” [The Spectator]. “Clarke filed for divorce from his wife two weeks ago, on the day before this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference. Since last year, he has been seen regularly with Hedieh Mirahmadi, a Muslim woman who has a job conducting sensitivity training with law enforcement agencies.” Forbidden sex is always the best, isn’t it?

UPDATE “Little Big Man” [John Steppling]. “Adorno noted that the fascist community is one in which there is no real joy, but only the release of repressed material and frustration, but a frustration merged with others frustrations.” A bit dense; perhaps somebody who knows the Frankfurt School better than I do can comment. I like the illustrations, though, especially John Heartfield’s.

Stats Watch

Consumer Price Index, February 2018: “Last week’s average hourly earnings did in fact set the pace for February’s inflation readings, and the word is subdue” [Econoday]. “Prices are not risking extra vigilance from the Federal Reserve. Until wages get moving, overall inflation may very well continue to run flat with only the slightest hint of upward pitch.” And: “Shelter, apparel, and motor vehicle price changes remained the driver for inflation. Core inflation remain below 2.0 % year-over-year” [Econintersect].

NFIB Small Business Optimism Index, February 2018: “Confidence among small business owners approached record-setting heights in February” [Econoday]. “The only decline among the ten main components was registered in plans to increase employment, which fell 2 points to a still strong showing at a net 18 percent. Overall strength in employment continues to be evident from current job openings, which remained unchanged but at an impressive net 32 percent. But small business owners reiterated reports of difficulties in finding qualified applicants for positions they were trying to fill, and they identified the lack of qualified workers as their number one problem at the highest rate since 2000. The situation is prompting business owners to increase wages, and higher worker compensation was reported by a net 31 percent of small business owners, also the highest rate since 2000.” Yet another survey not (yet?) reflected in data. And: “The historically high numbers include a jump in small business owners increasing capital outlays and raising compensation” [Econintersect]. “For the first time since 2006, taxes received the fewest votes as the number one business problem for small business.”

Bank loans: “Actually dropped a bit last week” [Mosler Economics].

Employment Situation (last week): “Nice surprise on the upside, though there’s discussion it’s weather-related, as highlighted below. The growth rate moved up some as per the chart shows, but remains in a multi-year downtrend, with the low growth in hourly earnings an indication that demand remains very weak” [Mosler Economics].

Commodities: “Gold miner now in the blockchain business” [Mining.com]. “Vancouver-based Caza Gold and Arctic Blockchain have agreed to merge through a transaction described as a ‘reverse takeover’ of Caza by Arctic. This means that the former will change its business from a mining issuer to a technology issuer.” Wonder if they’ve found a way to salt the blockchain. Kidding!

Commodities: “The world’s biggest mining companies are growing more concerned about costs even as they count up big profits. Barely into a commodities rebound, the sector faces a fresh cost crunch as production and transportation prices begin to climb…, placing new pressure on suppliers including the dry-bulk carriers that are still trying to climb out of the financial hole created by the long commodities downturn” [Wall Street Journal]. “New stresses are spreading from production to distribution. Workers are demanding higher wages in countries like Chile, where truck drivers argue better copper prices should translate to better pay. And the Baltic Dry Index measure of shipping prices has been tracking lower this year after rebounding late last year, suggesting shipping customers may be pushing back harder against rate increases.”

Shipping: “Robotics at a tipping point” [Logistics Management]. “I’m going to go out on a limb, but I’m now convinced that robotic materials handling is at a tipping point in materials handling, and it feels as if the adoption rate is about to take off [for two reasons]. “The first is the over-night emergence of one start-up after another, thanks to funding that is pouring in from an investment community that previously ignored our space. [Second,] it starts with labor. DC operators tend to congregate in logistics hubs, where everyone is vying for their piece of a finite workforce. ‘It’s becoming more and more difficult to find labor, especially around peak, in a lot of the markets where we’re in,’ says [Alan McDonald, senior director of continuous improvement, at GEODIS, another global 3PL giant like DHL]. ‘A big part of our strategy is how do we make the current employees we have more productive and to reduce the requirement for more labor at peak.'”

Shipping; “While venture capitalists and tech gurus are fretting over cryptocurrencies, the future of the underlying blockchain technology may be in the warehouse. Nitty-gritty research on the technology is underway in logistics, far from hype that surrounds cryptocurrencies like bitcoin,… the behind-the-scenes efforts may bring much-needed change to some of the world’s most critical, if unsexy, industries” [Wall Street Journal]. “Already, 1.1 million items on sale at Walmart Inc. are on a blockchain, helping the company trace their journey from manufacturer to store shelf. Maersk Line uses the same technology from IBM to track shipping containers, making it faster and easier to get them through customs and transfer them from one freight-handler to the next. Blockchain is gaining traction in logistics because it’s well-suited to transactions that require trust and a permanent record and involve many different parties. And critically, the technology has buzz that attracts developers and investment, providing a new jolt to operations that have made only small progress in technology in recent years.” I’m guessing it’s the buzz that’s the most important, since a distributed open ledger isn’t a new idea. Am I too cynical?

Five Horsemen: “Amazon fights the Battle of the Round Number at a $1,600 share price, as its four Big Tech counterparts dither” [Hat Tip, Jim Haygood].

Five Horsemen March 13 2018

NakedCap Mania-Panic Index: “Mania-panic index rises to 56 (complacency) as new 52-week highs outpaced new lows by 147 to 25 yesterday” [Hat Tip, Jim Haygood]. (The NakedCap mania-panic index is an equally-weighted average of seven technical indicators derived from stock indexes, volatility (VIX), Treasuries, junk bonds, equity options, and internal measures of new highs vs new lows and up volume vs down volume … each converted to a scale of 0 to 100 before averaging, using thirty years of history for five of the seven series.)

Mania Panic March 12 2018

Rapture Index: Closes up 1 on Anti-Semitism. “There has been a increase in anti-Semitic activity” [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October, 10 2016: 189. Current: 185.


“The cliff that changed our understanding of time” [BBC]. “Up close, the contrast between the vertical sheets of oceanic rock along the bottom of the cliff and the horizontal layers of sandstone high above were clearly visible. Back in 1788, few people understood the significance of that contrast. It took an Enlightenment thinker – 62-year-old farmer James Hutton, who made this journey around Siccar Point more than two centuries ago – to realise that it proved the existence of ‘deep time’.” And what started Hutton thinking? Soil!

“One of the difficulties he faced was a lot of soil erosion,” said Colin Campbell, chief executive of research centre The James Hutton Institute. “He was forever wondering how to keep the soil on the land and stop it disappearing off in rainstorms down the rivers. But he started to realise there was a renewal process, so while the soil would wash away, eventually new soil would form, and this cycle took large amounts of time.”

Health Care’

“Red-state changes could strengthen ACA, Medicaid” [Axios]. “Democrats, advocates and liberals will continue to resist red state strategies and waivers they believe are harmful. Conservatives in red states will pursue changes they want to make to the ACA and Medicaid. That is how our system works. The end result, which won’t make either side happy, could well be a broader political constituency for both the ACA and Medicaid.”

Neoliberal Epidemics

“Trends and Patterns of Geographic Variation in Mortality From Substance Use Disorders and Intentional Injuries Among US Counties, 1980-2014 [JAMA]. Deaths of despair still going strong. Finding: “In this study of 2 ,848 ,768 deaths in the United States from 1980 to 2014, mortality rates varied widely among counties and increased by 618.3% for drug use disorders but decreased by 8.1% for alcohol use disorders, 6.0% for self-harm, and 44.9% for interpersonal violence. Mortality rates due to drug use disorders increased in every county, while mortality rates due to alcohol use disorders, self-harm, and interpersonal violence increased in some counties and decreased in others.” I wonder what the labor market would like like, if not for the excess mortality….

“Should Doctors Use Naloxone Even If It Doesn’t Save Lives?” [The Incidental Economist].

Class Warfare

“Interviews Show Teachers on a Collision Course with Unwavering Lawmakers” [Oklahoma Watch]. “OEA President Alicia Priest suggested lawmakers revisit earlier proposals that failed to get the three-fourths vote required of revenue bills. Among those was the Step Up Oklahoma plan, pitched by civic and business leaders, that would have raised taxes on cigarettes, motor fuel and oil and gas production. Other Step Up changes were proposed in separate bills. But early indications were that legislators’ lines in the sand weren’t shifting…. The legislators – Oklahoma Watch reached out to 35 of them – included a strange-bedfellows mix of fiscally conservative Republicans reluctant to consider most tax increases and Democrats seeking a tax package that draws more from the oil and gas industry and higher earners. All had voted no on the Step Up Oklahoma plan.”

News of The Wired

“Novel study is first to demonstrate brain mechanisms that give “The Iceman” unusual resistance to cold” [Wayne State Universities]. ” Dutch adventurer Wim Hof is known as ‘The Iceman’ for good reason. Hof established several world records for prolonged resistance to cold exposure, an ability he attributes to a self-developed set of techniques of breathing and meditation — known as the Wim Hof Method — that have been covered by the BBC, CNN, National Geographic and other global media outlets. Yet, how his brain responds during cold exposure and what brain mechanisms may endow him with this resistance have not been studied — until now. ….. The researchers hypothesize that by generating a stress-induced analgesic response in periaqueductal gray matter, the Wim Hof Method may promote the spontaneous release of opioids and cannabinoids in the brain. This effect has the potential to create a feeling of well-being, mood control and reduced anxiety.” One for New Englanders!

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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 (PH):

PH writes: “Herewith a few more from south-central British Columbia: Lance-leaved Stonecrop, Sedum lanceolatum : Crassulaceae, Stonecrop family.” Isn’t that a pretty yellow!

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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. flora

    Clinton: “[W]hat the map doesn’t show you is that I won the places that represent two-thirds of America’s Gross Domestic Product.”

    What her map doesn’t show you is the states that had their economic engines and contributions to GDP offshored by NAFTA.

        1. Big River Bandido

          “any kind of sophistry…or scapegoat[ing]…to avoid moving to the left”…

          pretty much nails what Hillary Clinton and the Democrats are all about.

        2. bwilli123

          It looks like Thomas Frank has “Econned” on the top shelf in the Library behind him (visible at 17:41) Both in hardback and paperback.

        3. Knifecatcher

          What would it take to get a NC-commentariat led push together for the NYT to hire Frank onto their op-ed page? I’d be willing to back that for sure.

          1. John Wright

            Having the correct message is a job requirement at the NY Times

            Always supporting USA military interventions, having blind faith that technology will solve the significant problems in the USA and believing anyone can lift themselves up by their bootstraps are other qualifications.

            That is why Tom Friedman survives, Chris Hedges is pushed out, and Noam Chomsky never has editorials in the Times.

            While Frank’s opinion would be welcome relief, I don’t see that they would hire someone with his clarity of thought.

    1. Big River Bandido

      Does this qualify as “grasping at straws” for Clinton? It sounds like she’s desperate to avoid being cast as a loser.

      1. Arizona Slim

        Poor dear. She lost the Electoral College and is having a hard time coping with that.

        Suggestion to her fan club: If you’re interested in having her win, work to eliminate the Electoral College. That would keep you busier than posting anti-Trump articles on Faceborg.

        1. Plenue

          There’s a guy named Bob Chipman, who goes by Moviebob on the internet. He does movie and video game reviews. He’s basically a self-parody of a Clinton voter, to the point that he now proudly describes himself as a neoliberal coastal elite shill. He actively, and vocally, hates the ‘obsolete’ parts of the country and wishes they would all die. He doesn’t just shrug and accept the rust belt as a necessary casualty of globalization that will ultimately benefit all; instead he openly wants these ‘backwards’ people to suffer and vanish.

          He’s convinced that Clinton lost because of deep-seated misogyny that has been blocking her ascent to supreme power since the 90s (even when she wasn’t running for president, apparently).

          This is the type of person Clinton is now speaking to. The diehard-iest of the diehards. Her excuses aren’t intended to convince anyone who isn’t already a committed member of the cult.

        2. Conrad

          In a binary contest she won nothing at all. And not for the first time either.

          Telling that she makes her speech to an audience in India, well away from inconvenient hecklers.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        It sounds to me like she is expressing her class snobbery and class bigotry and her desire for vengeance on all the Deploristanis who voted for Trump. She will continue her meddling in American politics.

        We really need a “Clintonite watch” which can name and trace every Clinton-connected person in public and/or political life. They need to be outed wherever they are “hiding in plain sight” and they need to be kept under constant exposure so they can be deleted from public life. Setting up a permanent and ongoing Clintonite Watch is a very valuable thing that the right combination of activists and researchers and ongoing funding could achieve.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Sorry, I should have mentioned with the above that obviously not at the same time!

          Clinton’s interpretation of the electoral map is not mine. Mine says that those blue islands mostly suck the productivity out of the rest of the red country in a massive wealth pump operation. That page featured here recently on conditions in flyover country simply confirmed this idea for me.

    2. Charlie

      And given that 40% of GDP is now determined by fraudulent finance, that shouldn’t surprise anyone.

      Lambert: “Reintroduce income qualifications for voting” falls under Don’t Give Them Any Ideas. It would just be the latest anti-democratic measure they keep harping about.

  2. Darius

    Since Trump has been able routinely to brush off continual scandal outbreaks, any of which would have been career-ending for any past president or contender, I suggest we ignore stuff like Pocahontas. Or perhaps, every time Trump calls her that, Warren can fire back, “rapist,” and move on.

      1. Arizona Slim

        Yeah, but I pity the side that they’ll heave Bill over. Poor side. What did it do to deserve such a fate?

      2. Darius

        In this environment, consistency doesn’t count. It’s who piles on the BS the fastest and most. Unless they’re talking policy, I say follow the conventions as revised by Trump.

      1. Inode_buddha

        I remember when the National Review used “PoliticallyCorrectahontas” years ago when the Disney movie came out

    1. JohnnyGL

      Better idea:

      Warren gets Trump to stop making ‘Pocahontas’ cracks and Warren, in return, agrees to stop claiming Trump loves Putin and colluded with Russia.

  3. John k

    Would be nice if labor got something for supporting dems…
    Anybody expecting real material benefits from supporting neolib dems is either not paying attention or a donor.
    Voters get appreciation. Donors get real material benefits.

  4. HotFlash

    WRT Mrs. Clinton, I believe that she is one of those people who, I have observed, do not believe that anything actually occurs when she/they is/are not actually there. That is, the ‘real world’ only exists when she is present. In normal people, this delusion disappears at about 3 or 4 years of age (again, my observation). Sometimes it persists into later life — there is probably a scientific term for this.

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        That’s the opposite, that things by longer in your field of sight–like a parent who just walked out of the room waah!–still exist.

  5. John Beech

    Lambert wrote in part “. . . Makes you wonder if the candidate (HRC) was part of the problem….. ”

    I would have voted for my dog Maggie rather than vote for Hillary Clinton. Trump, nailed it on the head when he nicknamed her Crooked Hillary. My vote for Trump was consistent with my views better him than her but to be frank, had Senator Sanders won I would have been pleased to vote for him, instead.

    As a consistent Republican voter (since 1980), I believe the GOP underestimates the risk of marginalizing candidates that swear fealty to the concept of Medicare for All. This will be the hot button issue for me in 2020 and I don’t really care what other damage he may visit upon the economy if Sanders is the only one toeing the line on this. Will it be expensive? Yes. But we need to just pay the piper and move on to other subjects because we are wealthy enough as a nation to afford this in my view. And this needs to especially include both dental and vision. It’s a crime to see people too poor for a dentist pulling their own teeth. For shame!

    1. Code Name D

      So H. Clinton has become the new benchmark? So that’s how Democrats are “over performing.” Gee, how can we miss her if she just wont go away!

    2. WheresOurTeddy

      If republicans passed Medicare For All, no gimmicks, everyone qualifies, single payer….they’d control 2 of the 3 branches for the next 40 years and have the presidency the majority of the time.

      Same goes for the democrats. BUT DONOR MONEY THOUGH

    3. Big River Bandido

      Will it be expensive? Yes. But we need to just pay the piper and move on to other subjects

      We need not fear the blowback from for-profit health insurance zealots. I don’t think we even need to be the slightest bit defensive about the cost of a single-payer system. It’s absolutely sensible to believe that a single-payer system will be less expensive than the current scam — because we won’t be paying premiums that include large subsidies to support a layer of private-sector bureaucrats whose only function is to deny health care to people who have paid their premiums.

      Private-sector health insurance companies exist to make a profit. A single-payer system would exist to make sure that people receive medical care. The vast difference between those two missions says pretty much all I need to know about which system is better for the nation. I think any self-respecting politician ought to be able to stand on the stump and make that case with confidence and conviction. It’s true. It’s not a difficult case to make. And it would be a huge improvement over what we have now.

      1. EricT

        I think the first thing that should be tackled is drug pricing. Letting the government negotiate drug prices would go a long way to reduce cost, and it’s a rather easy and broad issue. If a congress person votes against negotiating drug prices, tar them come election time, reminding everyone that they sold out. Medicare for all would be the next card to reduce costs, but once you knock the anti-negotiators come election time, you should be able to get Medicare for all passed.

    4. a different chris

      >we are wealthy enough as a nation to afford this

      You *are* a conservative… it’s actually markedly cheaper than what we have now. How did you miss that?

      Although to be fair, I do often say that being Americans, once we clue into single payer we will take it to a point that would make the French blush. We do seem to have a hard time with moderation.

    5. mini

      On paper, the difference between a Trump vote and a Sanders vote is insane, but I found myself in the same situation.

  6. Elizabeth Burton

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: none of the “experts” has a clue how this November will pan out because they persist in treating people who voted for Trump as an single entity. They ignore the fact many if not most of those not regular Republican straight-ticket voters were, in fact, people who voted for Trump because they knew Obama had stiffed them and hated Hillary. So, any assumption of how they would vote if provided with decent candidates who acknowledge their anger and frustration is well-founded are nothing but blarney.

    1. WheresOurTeddy

      At this point i am of the opinion that if the checks clear, the DCCC consultants don’t care if they lose. I see very little evidence to the contrary.

      It would be difficult to imagine the democratic collapse over the last 10-15 years at the state and local levels being more complete even with active sabotage at play. The democratic party is a money laundering operation.

    2. Code Name D

      More and more, I keep seeing Pedesta’s shadow over the mid-terms. Targeting wealthy moderate Republicans as if this was such an oh so successful strategy in 2016.

      1. a different chris

        Well from his viewpoint his options are:

        1) Win but now have a stable of leftists who will shortly get rid of him.
        2) Lose but keep getting those big paychecks.
        3) Win with suburban Republicans. Nirvana!

        So from his point of view there are 2 successful strategies and one decidedly not.

    3. Big River Bandido

      Unfortunately, the Democrat campaign committees are doing their damnedest to ensure that we get the exact same non-choice of candidates that we had last time.

      In that sense, the so-called “experts” might just be correct.

    4. Arizona Slim

      Me? I voted for Sanders in the primary and Stein in the general because I knew that Obama stiffed me and I hated Hillary. My opinion of her hasn’t changed.

      1. roadrider

        I wasn’t allowed to vote for Sanders in the primary because my Dem-bot state (MD) doesn’t allow non-affiliated voters to participate in duopoly primaries. Voted for Stein in 2012 and 2016.

        1. Arizona Slim

          I held my nose and re-registered as a D. And then, on the day after our stolen primary, I went back to being an Independent.

  7. Rob P

    I think Hillary is positioning herself for 2020. Not as a candidate, but she wants to retain her influence over the Democratic Party. She said it herself: “I am done with being a candidate. But I am not done with politics because I literally believe that our country’s future is at stake.”

    Looking at approval polls, about half of Democrats still have a positive opinion of her, that, plus her network of wealthy donors, could be enough for her to sabotage Bernie or another progressive candidates in 2020. Imagine the shame if Bernie was able to beat Trump after Hillary couldn’t–I think she’d rather watch Trump win again, if they can’t get rid of him by then through #Russiagate.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      There were Republicans thinking Democratic solutions to Trump in 2016.

      Perhaps Hillary is thinking Republican solutions to Sanders in 2020.

    2. redleg

      I’ll wager my entire salary starting tomorrow until the first primary/caucus in 2020 that Dearest Leader, Her Royal Clinton (may perpetual light shine upon her) is on the 2020 ballot. Even if she’s a corpse, she will be on the ballot. God help us all, because Clinton and the Dems sure as hell won’t.

      1. ambrit

        Yep. As Phyllis put it after we watched the Eskow program: “She’ll (Clinton) reach out her claws from the grave if need be to maintain control.”
        If the later Reagan was a Disney animatronic robot, (switched after the successful assassination attempt,) then I see nothing preventing an actual zombie Hillary from running. That coumadin, it be strong juju!

      2. crittermom

        It needn’t be Hillary herself to carry on the carnage. Has everyone forgotten Chelsea?
        She’s entering politics & no doubt being groomed for 2028 if not 2024. Any female Clinton in the WH, right?

  8. WheresOurTeddy

    UPDATE “Little Big Man” [John Steppling].

    Who becomes a fascist because they’re happy (or capable of happiness)?

    Re: Hillary’s sour grapes tour enters month 18 – where’s an ice floe to push out into the polar bear habitat when you need one?

    1. Arizona Slim

      What self-respecting polar bear would want to be with her?

      I mean, there they are, out on the ice floes, enjoying their nabe. And then she shows up …

    2. hemeantwell

      The Steppling article is quite a goulash. He seems to have gleaned from Adorno the idea that theoretical riffing, a piling up of observations, is the way to go because a more systematic presentation tends to crush the object under a lumbering conceptual machine.

      But what gets lost is a fairly simple notion that — to borrow from psychoanalysts writing after Adorno but whom I think he would have agreed with — that fascism tends to draw on what Andre Green thought of as death narcissism, which involves a Triumph of the Will against not only the external world but also the internal. Once more or less spontaneous impulses become not so much suspect, as in something to feel guilty about, but rather seen as sources of weakness and frightening dependency, than you’re on the road to potentially emptying out the self and replacing it with an identification with a leader figure or, more accurately, their schematic understanding of you in order to be in synch with a powerful system. Nazi ideology was remarkably specific about this demand. Marcuse’s essay “The Struggle against Liberalism in Totalitarianism” [yes, he did use the T word] is good for examples of the demand for self-negation and total obedience that was part of Nazi mobilization ideology.

      It is from that standpoint that Steppling’s points early on about an individual identifying with a system make some sense. I’m uneasy with the notion of new anthropological types, but perhaps a useful exercise is to imagine the difference between, for example, someone like the mail carrier in All Quiet on the Western Front, who is clearly yearning for an authoritarian hierarchy within which to act out his lusts but then “goes home” and, on the other hand, a full blown fascist who has been assimilated into a war machine. The sort of Battlefield Man that Junger wrote about is pertinent here.

      Needless to say, in these terms Trump is at most a precursor to fascism.

  9. Steve H.

    Little Big Man: “Mass electronic media, social media, is awash in ambivalent eroticized indignation and outrage. How often does one read or hear the phrase ‘how dare you’!”

    Well, I know Yves has used the phrase, but I missed the eroticised part.

    Nice to know someone still applies Freud to cultural abstractions. Quaint.

    The pictures are good. The Idris Khan speaks to me most. Reminds me of the opening credits for ‘House of Cards’, how it captures the Capitol.

  10. Summer

    Clinton: “Girls Trip”
    “Speaking to a business conclave…”

    News should be when she doesn’t speak to a business conclave.

    1. Off The Street

      Clinton: “Girls Trip”
      “Speaking to a business conclave…”

      News should be when she doesn’t speak to a business conclave.

      Much of the country probably thinks that she is speaking to a coven!

  11. Ed

    Fauxcohontas is and always was the Democrats’ token anti-Wall Street crime spokeslady so the party could pretend it wasn’t beholden to Goldman Sachs. Hillary can’t walk down a flight of stairs even when being held up under the armpits by two strong men. “Hillary Clinton was running and is running a global financial criminal syndicate. She was using these secret servers to conduct Clinton financial money laundering business.” But Trump’s own crime syndicate has been mapped by Wayne Madsen. We are immersed in crime, and corruption, and the corporatocracy cloaked in personhood.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Fauxcohontas

      Ya know, I used to invent these clever coinages all the time, back when I was a mere sprat, in 2003. Snark was fun, it was easy, it seemed transgressive, it seemed to make a difference. Bush then won a second term. Then we got Obama. I don’t think my clever coinages — and those of all the other left/liberal bloggers of the day — did a damn thing and if anything they were an opportunity cost. And I didn’t like the person I was becoming when I was dreaming that stuff up.

      Shorter: Stop it. It makes me sick. Say “Warren,” and maybe people will think you’re making a serious point.

      1. Carolinian

        So “Hildabeest” is out too? I’d say the acceptability of verbal abuse depends on the target.

        But agreed that in Warren’s case it is unacceptable. She’s a serious person and the Indian stuff was just Trump pulling another birther attack.

        Verbal abuse has to be earned….

        1. dcblogger

          Since Hilliary did win the popular vote, it would be unwise to insult her supporters. If we want single payer health care (and I do) we will need their support. Cheap insults are not going to bring us good government.

          1. Carolinian

            So would hinting that Sanders is a Putin stooge be a cheap insult? After her loss Hillary and her supporters have been throwing the kitchen sink at any and all opponents. The spirit of compromise doesn’t seem to be coming from that direction regardless of what we may call her.

            But site policies are not up to humble me. The above is just my opinion.

          2. Jen

            Per Democrats and the Crisis of Legitimacy, 71% of eligible voters did not vote for Hillary. While I agree with you that cheap insults will not bring us good government, I see more opportunity in the 71% who did not vote for Hillary, than the 29% who did, and specifically the subset of that group that voted for her with genuine enthusiasm.

            We will never have good government as long as we continue to make excuses for those who betray our interests. I believe I’m loosely paraphrasing Ian Welsh.

          3. nippersdad

            Well, clearly, fawning adulation didn’t get us anything like good government under Barack Obama or Bill Clinton, either. Maybe it is just time to point out that those who sell their souls for what amounts to a PR exercise brought to us by the arms and petroleum industries don’t get to set the terms of debate.

      2. Angie Neer

        Hear, hear! There is far too much argument-by-cleverly-insulting-nickname in the world, and it disturbs me to see it increasing on NC as a substitute for reasoned argument.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          The only exceptions would be for robots…like Flippy.

          I’m not sure if Flippy, being artificially intelligent, or when it becomes so, would not feel insulted. But it’s a robot. So, we can do that…I think*.

          *One day soon, maybe like now, we will need an etiquette book on how to interact with robots.

          1. Carolinian

            The robot/human interface is a big theme in sci-fi these days. See Bladerunner 2049.

            And just to Angie Neer I’d say NC isn’t even close to being the food fight that most comment sections are. People around here are pretty polite and that’s a good thing. In fact flame wars were quite common some time back and have mostly gone away.

            But IMO that doesn’t mean we have to be polite to Hillary or, for that matter,Trump. Politicians have always served as punching bags for the electorate. That’s what they sign up for. Cheap shots, though, should be called out.

      3. begob

        We get sacks of coinages in the UK’s Brexit panic – remoaners, EUSSR etc – and all they add up to is a signal to stop reading.

  12. Tim

    Clinton: “[W]hat the map doesn’t show you is that I won the places that represent two-thirds of America’s Gross Domestic Product.”

    Which is precisely why she lost.

    And precisely why the Democrats won’t change.

    1. Darthbobber

      With judicious use of the neutron bomb she could just win the places and dispense with the people. Which she might find more convenient.

  13. Judith

    I Imagine that Clinton’s Enemies List is much longer than Nixon’s. Scary to think what she might have planned.

      1. Anon

        But you can use the color cells function in the spreadsheet to prioritize who should receive praise/punishment first. Or maybe she uses the concatenate function for less typing?

      2. roadrider

        Ha! End users (especially in the sciences) employ Excel like some kind of Swiss Army Knife even though it kind of sucks at doing anything else aside from what a spreadsheet is actually intended to do. Its the bane of my existence as a corporate developer – trying to explain why, no, Excel is not the proper tool for that.

        1. Arizona Slim

          Yes! I know that tendency well.

          I mean, come on. Making an enemies list. Can’t you do that with a word processor? Y’know, like Word?

          1. pretzelattack

            i’ve read that even a pencil and sheet of paper will work, but i will defer to archaeologists who study ancient technology.

            1. ambrit

              It’s more of an ethnographic problem to tackle. There are still remote, out of the way places, (like the fabled ‘Flyover country,’ [taken from Carlos Castaneda perhaps,]) where the “Olde Wayes” are still honoured.
              We here at the “American Deep South Society For Anachronistic Creativity” favour wedges impressed on clay tablets for communications. Much more ‘solid’ and dependable.
              ADSSFAC welcomes those of all faith levels in technology to its covens.
              Just look for the ‘Standing Stones’ and head South of the Sun and North of the Moon.

          2. Jen

            Word is a fat, bloated idiot of a program. I go to great lengths to avoid using it, including making lists in Excel.

      3. JohnnyGL

        But McCaskill seemed to forget that favor when NBC’s Tim Russert asked her whether Bill had been a great president, during a Meet the Press debate against then-Sen. Jim Talent (R-Mo.) in October 2006. “He’s been a great leader,” McCaskill said of Bill, “but I don’t want my daughter near him.”

        Wow, helluva quote that one…

  14. Darthbobber

    Clinton, Clinton, Clinton… The good thing is that if she runs again, we’ll get to see some of this footage over and over again. And not from her, either. The attack ads write themselves.

    Optimistic, forward looking places would seem to be circular, as there seems to be no criteria for that except having provided Clinton with electoral votes.

    And still with the Comey letter. Ill advised or not, Comey should have had no decision to make about how to handle that. Because there should have been no that to handle. Even the die hard apologist Neera Tanden purported some months back to have been mystified by the decision to wipe the server and say Trust my personal attorneys , it was private. She opined that the server should have been turned over to the Archives with no need for a subpoena. She of course blames an underling, rather than Clinton herself, for the decision, which is a pattern in explaining all Clinton decisions that failed to turn out as hoped.

    Of course, if there was more to see there the decision becomes more rationally explicable. A conclusion which more than one person drew, seemingly.

    The consignment of huge portions of the nation and their foolish, backward looking denizens to the status of- I don’t know- Libyans maybe- who don’t know what’s good for them and need the great white mother to fix all that sort of encapsulates a great swath of what is nauseating about this mindset.

    I won the gdp election is really just priceless. And given that she was running against Donald f’ing Trump, her assumption that the votes she did get were actually for her rather than against him is beyond questionable. Certainly her handlers knew better. That’s why they essentially campaigned on not being Donald Trump.

    Increasingly, the fact that she was almost president seems just as bizarre as the fact that Trump is.

    BTW, what does it say about her that she’s still going on and on about this in March of 2018?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Optimistic, forward looking places

      Which is bizarre, if you read today’s cross posts, especially Yves’ intro here. These optimists are in fact riddled with anxiety about maintaining their social status. Clinton doesn’t even understand her own base (unless she’s consciously feeding them delusion).

      1. Pat

        David Brooks is also very big on optimism, and trying to blame the state of the country on those who are coming from a place of fear and deprivation rather than abundance. In both cases I believe this is the result of 1.) living in a bubble where everyone they consider successful, intelligent and on point tell them the things they want to hear, and ignoring all signs this is not the situation for everyone, and 2.) being totally closed off from the reality that the very things that have made their world so comfortable and ‘abundant’ have closed off that possible future for the majority of Americans short of winning the lottery.

        It is yet another way of blaming the victim when you’ve been robbing them blind. But unfortunately reality is now intruding on their world as Lambert notes, and my bet is that this line will become more and more strident and insistent as they also get scared.

      2. Darthbobber

        I thought Ehrenreich’s best book was Fear of Falling: the Inner Life of America’s Middle Class. And the anxieties have only grown and moved further up the ladder in the years since.

    2. John D.

      “I won the gdp election is really just priceless. And given that she was running against Donald f’ing Trump, her assumption that the votes she did get were actually for her rather than against him is beyond questionable.”

      Exactly. And how many people who actually did vote for her had to hold their noses to do so? She is not popular or well liked. Vast portions of the country hate her. They hate her. And yes, some of that is due to whackadoodle FOX News generated bulls*t…but not all of it is. Something her followers refuse to acknowledge with the fanaticism worthy of a religious cult.

      1. marku52

        She had the credibility of wet cardboard. The only issues she had any credibility on were issues where I felt she was dangerously incorrect. Like starting a war with Russia.

        As Bernie wittily pointed out, “experience” is one thing. Dick Cheney has “experience”. Judgement is more important.

      2. DonCoyote

        Long, but on-point to several of the comments made today (and several NC themes in general:

        “Like many black men, the first time I voted was eight years ago…I remember that day. I voted for Obama. I voted in Ohio, and my vote matters in Ohio–Ohio is a battleground state. I pulled up to the polls, and there were so many black people in line, I didn’t even know if it was the polls–I thought it was a check-cashing place.

        Eight years later, I’m pulling up to the polls again…I was early voting, and when I parked my car, I figured out something that it would take the rest of the country another week to figure out, that Donald Trump would be our next president. Because in Ohio, unlike in D.C., you could see the results in the parking lot. I saw pickup trucks and tractors and shit. And then I walked up and got in a long, long line of dusty white people…I looked ’em right in their coal-smeared face, and to my surprise, you know what I didn’t see? I didn’t see one deplorable face in that group. I saw some angry faces and some determined faces, but they seemed like decent folk…And they looked at me. They could tell who I was voting for just as easily as I could tell who they were voting for.

        But you guys know what we all had in common? Not one of us, not a single one, looked like we felt good about what we had to do in that booth. We were just doing our duty. Yes, I voted for Hillary Clinton. Of course I did. I voted for her because I liked what she had to say vastly more than I liked what he had to say. But, to be honest with you, at that point it was like watching Darth Vader do the ‘I have a Dream’ speech.”

        –Dave Chapelle, Equanimity

        So yes, many red-state voters knew Trump was probably lying. But they also knew HRC was *definitely* lying, and hope springs eternal–Trump might have been telling the truth. Team D can still get their votes, if they are given something to vote for (i.e. they are not a monolith, and will support a candidate with the right message). But HRC is still calling them deplorable, just in different words (“backward”). Because that worked so well before…

    3. nycTerrierist

      “BTW, what does it say about her that she’s still going on and on about this in March of 2018?”

      That she is tasteless and tonedeaf and utterly self-absorbed.
      She should consider therapy. Unseemly for an elder to have so little self-awareness.

      1. Jim Haygood

        Un-self-aware personalities such as Hillary resort to ever more tortured rationalizations to ward off the literally unthinkable [for them] fact that their own sociopathic lack of empathy makes it impossible to be elected to a position of trust by their fellow humans.

        “GDP-adjusted victory” is such a baroque example of complex self-exculpatory rationalization that it probably deserves mention in textbooks on abnormal psychology … as an illustration of how a malfunctioning high IQ can run off the rails into the weeds.

        1. EricT

          She literally subverted democracy in attaining the nomination. How can you trust a person like that as President?

    4. Annieb

      I believe she keeps going on and on about this in March 2018 because people, news media, etc still give her the attention she craves. She will never go away as long as people keep talking about her. The attention also distracts people from focusing on more important issues and events. Did you know that top Democrats are
      ” calling on Congress to give the FBI $300 million to fight potential foreign interference in this year’s midterm elections” https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/powerpost/wp/2018/02/21/top-democrats-want-300-million-for-fbi-to-fight-foreign-election-interference/?utm_term=.5af697396720

  15. Jim Haygood

    Mark Hulbert — one of the few financial commentators worth paying any attention to — on a couple of stock market patterns which bode poorly for the next few months:

    The so-called presidential election year cycle holds that the stock market typically produces its best returns in the third [pre-election] year of the cycle [and its weakest returns in the second, “midterm” year — JH].

    A second seasonal pattern is the so-called Halloween Indicator, otherwise known as “Sell in May and Go Away.” It holds that the stock market tends to produce above-average returns between Halloween and May Day (the so-called “winter” months) and mediocre returns during the remaining “summer” months.

    The contrast between third-year winters and other six-month periods is significant at the 95% confidence level that statisticians often use to determine if a pattern is real.

    Note carefully that the six-month rally that I’m referring to [after Oct 1] is not inconsistent with the long-term bearishness that is the conclusion of various [overextended] valuation indicators. Even multi-year — secular — bear markets experience powerful counter-trend rallies.


    Despite all the MSM celebration of Bubble III’s ostensible ninth birthday last Friday, its last record high was set on Jan 26th. Until proven otherwise, Jan 26th could’ve been it — much as it wasn’t obvious until early 2001 that March 24, 2000 was Bubble I’s death knell.

    Bubble III poster child Amazon appears to have lost its battle at the 1,600 round number for today barring a final-hour miracle, as founder Jeff Bezos quite literally turns space cadet on us.


  16. Corbin Dallas

    Trampy roles back Obama regulations on animal welfare: https://www.yahoo.com/news/trump-administration-eliminates-animal-welfare-200022013.html

    The proposed rule drew 47,000 comments, but only 28 supported its withdrawal, according to data compiled by the OTA.

    “This is representative of the influence lobbyists and election money has at the Trump administration’s USDA,” said Mark Kastel, co-director of the Cornucopia Institute, which provides research on organic agriculture and has long been critical of USDA standards.

    Draining the swamp indeed.

  17. marym

    Today in “good guys with guns”
    School Resource Officer Accidentally Fires Gun Inside Alexandria School: Police

    The officer was inside his office at George Washington Middle School in the Del Ray neighborhood when he accidentally discharged his service weapon …

    The officer, a five-year veteran of the Alexandria Police Department, checked the area for any potential injuries and found that everyone was OK.

    ‘No Excuse’ for Leaving Gun in High School Locker Room, Sheriff Says

    A county sheriff apologized Tuesday for accidentally leaving his backup gun in a Michigan school gym locker room.

    “In the 20 years of law enforcement service I have never left a weapon anywhere,” he said in a statement.

    Main said he used the locker room at Shepherd Middle School to change from street clothes into uniform for an event at the weekend. Main said he believed the gun — his backup weapon — was in his bag when he left. A student later found the gun and told an adult, according to Main.

    [emphasis added]

    1. ArcadiaMommy

      It was probably right by his keys, wallet and iPhone.

      The logistical nightmare of dealing with a gun around kids is one of many clues that guns in schools are a horrible idea.

      1. pretzelattack

        i’ve seen people advocating online to arm the kids. not sure if there is an age cutoff; i mean i would think the wisdom of keeping guns from 6 year olds would be apparent, but these people are batshit.

  18. mle detroit

    I do wish the talking heads and DNC types would ditch the word “collusion.” Yes, the Russians butted in, but there was no collusion, simply because all those closest to Trump — family, campaign staff, Foxy good-lookers — are too stupid to collude. The Trump campaign didn’t collude — they got rolled.

  19. Scott

    Sanders has got it wrong in his speech. Yes, Republicans who give big tax cuts to billionaires, but it’s Democrats (including their last two Presidents) who use the ensuing deficits to cut Social Security.

        1. Arizona Slim

          Yup. And Bernie Sanders fili-Bernie-ed against that legislation.

          That was during the fall of 2010, and he blew up the audience on C-Span. To the point where the Obama administration had to hold a press conference. Y’know, to hijack Bernie’s C-Span audience.

          Bernie’s filibuster was later published in book form. Title: The Speech.

  20. DWD

    . . . and Lambert said, “Makes you wonder if the candidate was part of the problem….. ”

    To which I reply (and I have distilled this down)

    You mean that nominating someone entitled, condescending, and arrogant wasn’t a good idea? Who coulda known?

  21. John D.

    It’s a pity Trump didn’t fall into the chocolate river while touring the factory. Or get sucked into one of the pipes leading to the Fudge Room. Or try an experimental bit of chewing gum, etc. etc.

    1. Duck1

      You could hear the shrieks of women, the wailing of infants, and the shouting of men; some were calling their parents, others their children or their wives, trying to recognize them by their voices. People bewailed their own fate or that of their relatives, and there were some who prayed for death in their terror of dying. Many besought the aid of the gods, but still more imagined there were no gods left, and that the universe was plunged into eternal darkness for evermore. Pliny

      1. Jim Haygood

        As far as the securities markets were concerned, Trump’s first year was all manic fun and games. But now it’s increasingly obvious to all that the world is becoming a darker place by the hour, as neocon wreckers with blood in their eyes and an alien agenda in their hip pockets are slotted into positions of power in the world’s self-anointed exceptional nation.

        America is headed for a head-butting confrontation with its allies, not only over trade but also over Iran. It’s not just Europe — Japan and China among others would welcome the chance for expanded trade and investment in Iran, a natural part of their region.

        With its usual bellicose unilateralism, the US doubtless can escalate the coming confrontation into something seriously destructive. There are consequences to handing the nuclear football over to a raging flake.

        Many of the emperor Caligula’s wackier stunts were designed to insult and humiliate senators and other elites. By bestowing a high public office on his horse Incitatus, Caligula aimed to show his underlings that their work was so meaningless an animal could do it.


  22. lyman alpha blob

    RE: 2020 election

    All the speculation is on the Democratic primary and who will come out as the nominee, with the assumption being that person will take on Trump.

    Why are we assuming that no one will primary Trump? I know the Beltway types generally don’t consider it good form to run against the incumbent, but all bets are off for everything else concerning Trump so it doesn’t follow that they’s stick to precedent here. The Republicans would have to be really stupid not to consider other options at this point, and yes there are plenty who fit that description but not all of them. They have to know that unless the Dems are dumb enough to run Clinton again, they will probably lose the presidency.

      1. Quentin

        Her idea of tact is now not to badmouth Americans to their face. So she does so abroad, India of all places. Truly astonishing, Indians really sit and listen to this American upperclass lady.

    1. nippersdad

      Or, for that matter, why are we assuming that Trump will run again, that he won’t just let Pence carry on in his stead? Looking at his underlings tells the tale, for me. I doubt that he has ever even heard of Liberty University, yet their alumni form a large part of his Administration.

      If he runs to form, that is exactly what I am expecting of him. He only ever wanted to poke Obama in the eye and the job gets in the way of his golfing.

  23. Censorship 2018

    Scott Creighton has clearly ‘stepped on’ some very big toes, this is really ugly. I’m guessing it’s because his criticisms aren’t filtered by ghastly party loyalty:

    03/12/18 So Now They are Using the Federal Court to Attack Bloggers… Specifically… Me

    His latest post on it:

    03/13/18 CNN’s Oliver Darcy is Asking Me for a Statement Regarding Lawsuit

    Just prior to that:

    03/02/18 Paypal has just Deleted My Account …. which I’ve had for years

  24. Montanamaven

    Regarding Election Security, I heard a Republican say that he would support paper ballots when asked about them on this mornings “ Fox and Friends”. I think it was in the third hour. It might have been Devin Nunez. Tucker Carlson mentioned it again on his show last night. So maybe the conservatives are listening to Tucker. It would be a very conservative position to take.

  25. dcblogger

    Did you know that there is an entire YouTube genre of videos of abandoned McMansions? I stumbled on it last night. Dozens of videos of abandoned developments of McMansions. Our economy is nuts.

  26. Steely Glint

    Thank you Lambert, I dislike “clever coinages” too, for the very same reason.
    In regard to Bernie “Ferocious in Arizona” , I happened to tune into NPR Now in time to hear Bernie talk about the Senate banking bill. Two things of note; Bernie said the Republicans loved hiding behind the skirts of the middle class & small business ( in this instance small banks & credit unions) to enrich the upper class. So true and so simply said. A good bill would only address those concerns. The second follows; Bernie speaks in bullet points, rather than paragraphs. I believe that is what makes him so effective.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Don’t the Democrats then hide behind those Republican skirts who hide behind the skirts of the little guys and gals?

      1. Steely Glint

        Not progressive democrats. I also dislike the “what-about” arguments as much as “slippery slope” arguments.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Not when we have to live through what-about-becoming-reality life situations, and not just arguments, though.

          1. Steely Glint

            First, Bernie is an Indepent, second the majority of Dems. voted against the bill. As to the ” what about” argument, I’ll take anybody who is willing to reassess prior positions based upon consequences. That’s why I dispize the words “caved” or “flip flopped”.

  27. Lee


    It took an Enlightenment thinker – 62-year-old farmer James Hutton, who made this journey around Siccar Point more than two centuries ago – to realise that it proved the existence of ‘deep time’.” And what started Hutton thinking? Soil!

    Tangentially related: for those interested in the study of political ecology, I suggest one of the discipline’s earliest comprehensive works, The Political Economy of Soil Erosion in Developing Countries by Piers Blaikie. Dirt rocks! ; )

  28. Jim Haygood

    Lights out:

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump is seeking to impose tariffs on up to $60 billion of Chinese imports and will target the technology and telecommunications sectors, a source who had discussed the issue with the White House said on Tuesday.

    A second source who had direct knowledge of the administration’s thinking said the tariffs could come “in the very near future” and while they were targeted at technology and intellectual property, they could be much broader and the list could eventually run to 100 products.


    Hope I can get short enough, fast enough. Bubble III is gonna smack the wall in short order.

    1. Lee

      “The worse things get, the better.” Was that Lenin, Mao, Cathy Guisewite or Warren Buffet? I can’t remember.

    2. ewmayer

      Amazon’s market cap alone has increased by $360 billion in the past year, and you think the threat of tariffs on a measly $60 billion of Made-in-China-ware is gonna suffice to pop the Everything Bubble? Musk tripping over a Mars meteorite and breaking his neck or Bezos snuffing it in a bizarre gardening accident, maybe, but a few more tariffs, pfft. The degenerate gamblers might give this one of their patented “Dow down yuuge!” openings tomorrow, only to recover by lunchtime.

  29. Steely Glint

    Trade Policy: I found this article written by Barry C. Lynn in 2015 to be predictive & germane. For example, “As our biggest manufacturers and traders and investors succeed in China, they also come to depend on China for future profits — which brings them increasingly under the sway of a Chinese state that holds the power to cut those profits off. What if the master capitalists and corporate bosses who have so cowed us here at home are themselves being cowed in Beijing? What if the extreme economic interdependence between the United States and China is not actually carrying our values into a backward and benighted realm, but accomplishing precisely the opposite — granting the Chinese Politburo ever-increasing leverage over America’s economic and political life?”
    Also, explaining modern day monopolies
    I greatly admire economists that are able to ground their views in a historical context.

    1. cnchal

      Thanks. Interestingly, the second link is from 2012 and here we are in 2018, with the warnings totally ignored.

      Not surprisingly, then, we find the same sort of fear among our book publishers as we do among the chicken farmers of the Sweedlin Valley. I recently sat down with the CEO of one of the biggest publishing houses in America. In his corner office overlooking a busy Manhattan street, he explained that Amazon was once a “wonderful customer with whom to do business.” As Jeff Bezos’s company became more powerful, however, it changed. “The question is, do you wear your power lightly?” My host paused for a moment, searching for the right words. “Mr. Bezos has not. He is reckless. He is dangerous.”

      Later that same day, I spoke with the head of one of the few remaining small publishers in America, in a tattered conference room in a squat Midtown office building. “Amazon is a bully. Jeff Bezos is a bully,” he said, his voice rising, his cheeks flushing. “Anyone who gets that powerful can push people around, and Amazon pushes people around. They do not exercise their power responsibly.”

      Neither man allowed me to use his name. Amazon, they made clear, had long since accumulated sufficient influence over their business to ensure that even these most dedicated defenders of the book—and of the First Amendment—dare not speak openly of the company’s predations.

      At the minimum, Jeff bullies “his” people just as much as anyone else. To think slobbering politicians gleefully offer up peasants as sacrificial lambs on Jeff’s altar.

      Now, about the first link and the predations that companies suffer at the hands of the Chinese leadership, which has now been consolidated into two hands, what did they think would happen? Didn’t the Chinese government interfere with the elections in 96 to get Billy in, and he then sold everybody out, by speeding their entry into the WTO? Musk knows the deal with China to put a factory in with Chinese “partnership” is rotten to the core.

      And now the rumor mill is that Trump may impose tariffs on Chinese electronic crapola, which if true, would be a great time to grab some popcorn, bunker down and enjoy the fireworks. And after today’s firing of Tillerson, better keep a few buckets of water around to put out stray fireworks fires.

      1. Steely Glint

        I thought the example of chicken farmers & Smithfield insightful. If I remember correctly, a writer/reporter in Nebraska recently criticized Taiwan & was promptly fired

        1. Steely Glint

          Barry C. Lynn & his writing came to my attention after Thomas Frank did an interview with him. Background:
          Barry C. Lynn is an American journalist and writer. He was a senior fellow at the New America Foundation think tank in Washington, D.C., directing the Open Markets Program. The program was shut down, allegedly for criticizing Google, one of New America’s chief funders.

  30. Oregoncharles

    About Naloxone: when our son was having a bone marrow transplant (30 years ago; he made it), his nurse told us an interesting story. There were doctors from all over the world at the transplant center. One of her patients had gotten too much morphine, which can suppress breathing. She said Naloxone cancels the pain suppression effect, too; she called it a “very rude” way to wake someone up. Nurses worry about things like that.

    The attending doctor was European; he suggested IV caffeine. Apparently the pharmacy actually had it. She said she made the doctor administer it because she’d never heard of it. It worked like a charm. Probably not under patent, though. One of the world’s cheapest drugs.

    1. redleg

      I often dream of IV caffeine during the week after pointless clock manipulation weekend (aka DST). You’re telling me IT EXISTS?!?!

  31. Oregoncharles

    Beautiful shot of the sedum. We have a similar one, Sedum oreganum, that also grows on the cliffs, sometimes facing the ocean; and a version with blue leaves. We can only grow them in pots or perched on a rock.

    Anecdote: when we moved to New Mexico for a while, I had some Oregon sedum in a little pot. It survived the trip, but expired immediately when set outside in New Mexico.

  32. Wukchumni

    “Novel study is first to demonstrate brain mechanisms that give “The Iceman” unusual resistance to cold”
    Native Americans in really cold locales had trained themselves probably in a similar way, to be able to co-exist in sub freezing conditions. They only had 10-15 thousand years to figure it out~

  33. NotTimothyGeithner

    Hey, everyone needs to calm down about two time Presidential loser’s Adlai Stevenson’s remarks. Yes, he’s a two time Presidential loser, but he carried the flag against Eisenhower. That was tough. Its not like he lost to a black guy with no experience and a name that’s bad for politics or a trashy reality show host, so he can afford to be a little cranky. Yes, its likely he knew he rules and still lost. He tried and lost twice. Its a tough road. You can’t blame a person who challenges a war hero and loses.

    As for Hillary….

    1. Wukchumni

      Hard to say what path Adlai would’ve led us down versus Ike, and i’ve never heard any disparaging comments in regards to his remarks, which often were remarkable in displaying his intelligence, via ovum cranium difficilis est.

  34. pretzelattack

    does anybody have links to evidence about the alleged “nerve agent” used in the attack on skripal and his daughter, including that only russia could produce it?

    1. Buttinsky

      Forgive the long piece, but since you asked…

      The layers of “dodginess” in the tale of Sergei Skripal are extraordinary, even allowing for the usual wariness I suppose one should always bring to any affair involving the corporate media reporting on self-interested government claims about the alleged assassination of former foreign spies/double agents.

      First, it’s not even clear what actually happened. At first the poisoning seemed to be a brazen incident in a public place, Skripal and his daughter having been found slumped on an outdoor bench after dining out.


      It made sense then that 21 others might have been affected. But it makes no sense if father and daughter were poisoned at home (succumbing to a supposedly potent neurotoxin only after being out and about for a while?!):


      Then there’s that “Russian” neurotoxin, “Novichok.” Even the presumptive expert, Robin Black, former Chief Scientific Adviser for Chemistry of the UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down — the UK’s chemical warfare research center a mere 5½ miles from the poisoning in Salisbury — wrote just two years ago, in 2016, that nothing was really known of these speculative “Novichok” agents:


      In recent years, there has been much speculation that a fourth generation of nerve agents, ‘Novichoks’ (newcomer), was developed in Russia, beginning in the 1970s as part of the ‘Foliant’ programme, with the aim of finding agents that would compromise defensive countermeasures. Information on these compounds has been sparse in the public domain, mostly originating from a dissident Russian military chemist, Vil Mirzayanov. No independent confirmation of the structures or the properties of such compounds has been published.

      And, most interestingly, the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons does not include Novichok in its schedule of such agents, and indeed makes no mention at all of “Novichok” on its website (though, not being a chemist, I can’t say that there isn’t some precursor to “Novichok” agents on the schedules):


      Now journalist Will Englund, who apparently broke the story of Vil Mizayanov back in 1992, claims he spoke to other scientists at the time who also had been engaged in work with regard to “Novichok” agents, so maybe these neurotoxins really do exist — though the Russian word “novichok,” meaning “newcomer,” may be an even more generic category than current news reports take into account.


      But even if there really was work being done by the Soviets on a specific new set of neurotoxins called “Novichok,” its legacy would surely have been of interest to other governments — starting with the United States, which very “kindly” moved into Uzbekistan to help clean up the site of all that Soviet development and testing:


      A group of American defence experts have arrived in Uzbekistan to start helping the Uzbeks dismantle and decontaminate one of the former Soviet Union’s largest chemical weapons testing facilities.

      US officials say the chemical research institute in western Uzbekistan was a major research site for a new generation of secret, highly lethal chemical weapons, known as Novichok.

      I confess I don’t know what to make of all of this. Can we even know for sure that Skripal was the target, or that the proximity of a chemical weapons facility at Porton Down was purely coincidental? But I certainly think the Russians lack any obvious motive for leaving their fingerprints all over a weapon used to attempt to murder a former employee they could have quietly offed in prison 8 years ago. Quite the contrary, and former diplomat Craig Murray’s points are as valid as anybody’s: Maybe we all should be looking for an explanation in matters closer to hand, not least of all the Steele dossier on Trump.


    2. Lee

      Here’s a Wiki article on this very nasty nerve agent: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Novichok_agent

      It was developed in Russia but “In 2002, the United States Department of Defense dismantled the major research and testing site for Novichok at the Chemical Research Institute in Nukus, under a $6 million Cooperative Threat Reduction program.” I’m guessing it could be produced by any number of evil phkers. As for representation made by Ms May et al, who knows these days. You know, WMD, Gulf of Tonkin etc.

      1. pretzelattack

        thanks for the replies, i am very much reminded of the buildup to iraq, but just want to have a solid basis for arguing against blaming russia.

        1. Buttinsky

          And just to cap off the night, the Russia Federation’s representative to the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons has referred the UK to the international legal procedure for dealing with such charges, while offering some avuncular advice: “Our British colleagues should save their propaganda fervour and slogans for their unenlightened domestic audience, where perhaps they will have some effect.


      2. VietnamVet

        The Russian deaths in the UK are strange. The frame is that Russia did it. But, the nerve agent was designed to pass through protective gear, disable combatants and kill in minute amounts. The “newcomer” agent is five times more potent than VX that reportedly killed Kim Jong-un’s brother. The affected policeman who entered the deceased’s home and ended up in the hospital is still alive. The father and daughter walked to the town’s restaurant, dined and then died on the park bench. No one in the town was affected.

        Rather than dampening down speculation and informing the people, war drums are beating louder. The accession of CIA war hawk Mike Pompeo to replace Rex Tillerson is unsettling. Donald Trump appears to be spinning the world out of control. This seems to be in concert with Turkey’s threat against US troops in Manbij. Rather than withdrawing from Syria; removing Assad remains a national objective; plus, neutering Iran. An attack with Israel against Hezbollah to cut the Shiite Crescent could be in the works which could draw nuclear armed Russia into a World War with America.

    3. fajensen

      Who needs evidence when Russia is (maybe) involved?

      Why whack someone with a very traceable and exclusive chem-weapon when one could buy Carfentanil in bulk from China and Fentanyl right on the street?

      It makes sense if the whole thing is a fake-fake news operation: Russian operators deliberately whack someone with a chemical weapon that is very unique and clearly points at Russia because this is so obviously a fake-news setup that the Mossad, CIA or MI6 must have “dun it” instead to taint Russia and divert the attention away from Brexit idiocy.

      Putin enjoys a cognac while watching the SoMe fighting erupt over whether “they” or “us” did the deed.

      Maybe it is advertising? With the polonium “hit” someone is saying: “We got the stuff for making a nuclear warhead go bang!”, with this, the message is perhaps “We can make a chemical weapon from ‘common household chemicals’ not on the precursor lists, wanna buy?” or maybe: “It would be really bad if those Islamists in London should somehow learn how to cook up this simple recipe from ingredients legally obtained in the UK, like, allegedly, some rogue agents of ours perhaps just did. Maybe you lot should be nicer to us and we can help you with that problem?!”

      These agents were designed at great cost to secretly subvert chemical weapons treaties. There must be some important point in “outing” one of them in such a brazen way.

      1. The Rev Kev

        I think that the Russians are starting to run out of patience with all these loose accusations. See the page at https://www.rt.com/news/421215-uk-russia-skripal-deadline/ but I find it noteworthy that the British refused to give Russia a sample to test and match against their own records. Why would they not?
        Too many weird things going on. Why did it take the British days to send the army when the chemical warfare establishment is only a bike-ride up the road from Salisbury? Why wait a week to tell locals to wash their clothes, you know, in case? This smells like those false-flag gas attacks that Jihadists pull in Syria all the time.
        Some UK politicians have threatened to ban RT in Britain because of this attack. The Russians have said try it and we will ban the BBC and any other UK news media in Russia. It sounds like the Russians are now drawing their own red lines now and giving notice. Watch this space.

        1. fajensen

          Yes, everything is very strange. “Our Leaders” appears to be responding to just about all events in an extremely irrational and emotional way that can only inspire dread. Teenagers and kids can slam ‘the emotional gauge’ into the rails; Adults are not allowed because our brains are better.

          My impression is that Something Important is clearly coming apart somewere inside “elite-land” and they desperately need a Diversion, any kind of diversion, but, what could it be coming that is so bad that provoking a hot war with Russia is an attractive option in comparison to facing “whatever it is” that is haunting them?

          They can’t all be straight-up mad, can they?

          Why they cannot organise anything? I think that the various authorities have simply sat on their fat bottoms for so long, relying on pretend ignorance and agressive “PR & Image-management” instead of actual work to advance their careers, that they have simply forgotten how to do their jobs and what they are there to do. Like with the Rotherham child sexual exploitation scandal, which is still ongoing(!) after 40 years(!!).

  35. JBird

    Girls trip! Hillary Clinton takes private jet for sight seeing tour and stay with maharaja friend in India – after claiming Trump won because his voters ‘don’t like P two-thirds of America’s Gross Domestic Product.” For starters, what’s the solution? Re-introduce income qualifications for voting?

    It looks like they are well along the project to recreate the nineteenth century Robber Barons; any good reasons that they would see to not bring back the Eighteenth? It would make the Berniebros and the Deplorables less pestiferous.

    Every. Single. Problem. That this country has would be ameliorated, if not effective solved, with a full employment with a decent wage doing all the work not being done or would be created. Even using free market capitalism there are ways to greatly improve the economy for everyone.

    It’s ego feeding right? The modern version of the Divine Right of Kings. If they actually dealt with the problems, their power and perks would disappear.

  36. Craig H.

    OK I watched the Clinton video. I thought these people focus-group-test this stuff. Wasn’t the Obama gaffe about the people bitterly clinging to their guns and religion off-the-record and leaked? This is that except it’s in their face. Phooey.

  37. MisterLefty

    “The Berkshire Eagle, which is locally owned and not crazypants, points out that a DNA test would make this non-issue go away.”

    Do politicians who claim to be Hispanic face such calls for DNA testing? Why the double standard?

  38. JTMcPhee

    Maybe the Doomsday Preppers aren’t so off-the-beam after all. Now that the Blob, particularly the AIPAC parts, has pretty completely stripped away any “jaw-jawing” in hopeful anticipation of “bomb-bombing,” highlighted by the replacement of Tillerson by Pompeo, how long will it be before the stuff that followed the “1914 moment” blossoms into megadeaths? The folks over at Sic Semper Tyranis seem quite nervous about the current state of play between the Empire of Incompetence and the rest of the world:


    Note the attention to the degree to which the Russians have fostered and advanced “civil defense.” Planning to survive?

    Maybe the End Timers and Likudniks are about to get what they so dearly desire?

    I personally hope if Florida does get nuked, per the simulations the Russians broadcast recently, and as anticipated by our idiot War Planners and Babblespace Managers in their many “strategy documents,” it happens while I am deep asleep… and that people like Haley and Clinton and Pompeo and the Likudniks and the rest of that tribe get appropriately incinerated and reduced to ash too.

  39. tooearly

    Re; Wim Hof
    Apparently he is the first Westerner that we know about to master the Tibetan technique of Tumo.
    I remember as a kid being awed by the stories of monks drying blankets on their naked shoulders in mid-winter Tibet.

    I had a Thai friend who was a 40 year monk; came to teach in Minnesota in the 80s and never once needed a jacket despite temps in the -20s.


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