2:00PM Water Cooler 4/25/2018

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Patient readers, thanks for all the helpful hints about sinus problems; it looks like medication knocked this one back, so I can avoid going to a doctor (generally, a good thing in my mind). And I will have to go in search of a neti pot. This Water Cooler will be a bit light, but I should be back in form tomorrow. –lambert

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“American suppliers to ZTE Corp. are bracing for big revenue losses from the U.S. moves against the Chinese telecommunications giant. Big tech firms like semiconductor behemoth Qualcomm Inc. and niche companies such as Acacia Communications Inc., a Massachusetts-based maker of fiber-optic networking components, are among U.S. companies affected as national-security and trade issues flare up between the U.S. and China.” [Wall Street Journal]. “U.S. chip makers sold about $1.5 billion worth of products last year to ZTE, an example of the extensive supply chains that are a foundation of electronics manufacturing/



NY: Ouch:

Putting this under 2020 because Cuomo might actually think he can run for President…


“Midwestern Democrats Want The National Party To Stop The Trump-Russia Talk” [BuzzFeed]. “The Democratic National Committee’s drumbeat of messaging on Trump and his relationship with Russia is wearing thin with some Democrats in purple states — particularly in the Midwest, where people on the ground say voters are uninterested and even turned off by the issue. The suit exposes a gap, they say, between the party’s strategy nationally and what Midwest Democrats believe will win elections in their state. ‘The DNC is doing a good job of winning New York and California,’ said David Betras, the Democratic county party chair in Mahoning County, Ohio, home to Youngstown. ‘I’m not saying it’s not important — of course it’s important — but do they honestly think that people that were just laid off another shift at the car plant in my home county give a shit about Russia when they don’t have a frickin’ job?’ Trump and Russia, Betras said, is the ‘only piece they’ve been doing since 2016. [Trump] keeps talking about jobs and the economy, and we talk about Russia.'”

“Poll: Fewer voters say they’re noticing paycheck increases from tax law” [The Hill]. “The [Politico] April survey found that 22 percent of registered voters reported seeing paycheck increases, while 55 percent said they hadn’t noticed a bump and 23 percent didn’t know or didn’t have an opinion. When the news outlet asked about paycheck increases in early March, 27 percent said they noticed bigger paychecks, 50 percent said they didn’t and 23 percent didn’t know or didn’t have an opinion. The April poll found that Republicans were more likely to say they noticed an increase in their paychecks than Democrats…. Republicans say those trends mean that they need to step up their messaging efforts.”

“Trump-State Senate Democrats Raise More Than GOP Challengers” [Bloomberg]. “The 10 Democratic incumbents running in the November election from states won by President Donald Trump raised a combined $24.4 million in the first three months of the year, while the Republicans with at least $50,000 in their bank accounts in those states — 20 in all competing in eight contested primaries — raised $9.4 million, a Bloomberg analysis of filings this week with the Senate Office of Public Records shows.”

AZ-08: “GOP Holds House Seat in Deep Red Arizona, But It’s Way Too Close for Comfort” [New York Magazine]. “[A]n underwhelming win for the GOP in a district they should have swept.”

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Kirsten Gillibrand Unveils A Public Option For Banking” [HuffPo]. “Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) is introducing legislation Wednesday that would require every U.S. post office to provide basic banking services, an ambitious step aimed at improving the lives of Americans with limited financial resources.” Good for her.

“Here’s a look at Maine’s first ranked-choice voting state ballots” [Bangor Daily News].

“Pelosi rejects litmus test on abortion” [The Hill]. Remember when Sanders supporting Heath Mello was such a scandal? Boy, Pelosi’s in trouble now!

Stats Watch

All the interesting stats were yesterday! So here they are:

Consumer Confidence, April 2018: “The consumer confidence report is showing no wear from high levels” [Econoday]. “Details are very positive led by yet another very low reading for jobs-hard-to-get…. in a result that will help lift expectations for strength in the April employment report. Another important reading is a decline in income pessimism as only 6.0 percent see their incomes falling which is a 17-year low.”

S&P Corelogic Case-Shiller HPI, February 2018: “Low supply of available homes for the sale is a key factor behind strength in housing prices” [Econoday]. “Six percent rates for home-price appreciation were a solid fixture of the 2017 economy and a 6 to 7 percent rate appears to be the outlook for 2018.” Oooh, “wealth effect” (as if a house were wealth).

FHFA House Price Index, February 2018: “The FHFA house price index, like Case-Shiller data also released this morning, shows extending strength in home prices” [Econoday]. “Price traction is strongest out West with the Pacific up 10.3 percent year-on-year followed by the Mountain region at 9.0 percent. Growth is strong across all 9 regions in the survey with the Middle Atlantic in the rear but at a still respectable 4.8 percent rate. Low supply is a major factor behind price appreaction, which proved last year to be solid source of household wealth.”

New Home Sales, March 2018: “The risk of volatility is always lurking in new home sales, a report where sample sizes are low and revisions often extreme. The revisions in today’s report are fortunately on the upside and strongly so” [Econoday]. “There’s more strong news as the sales gain, like in yesterday’s existing home sales report, didn’t come at the expense of discounting as the median price rose.”

Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index, April 2018: “The Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index dropped sharply” [Econoday]. “The Richmond Fed Manufacturing Index dropped sharply… breaking a 17-month long string of expansion in manufacturing in the Fifth District by posting the first negative reading since September 2016. The sharp decline follows a 13-point plunge in March and came as a negative surprise to most analysts, whose consensus expectations were for a slight improvement… The declines in business owners’ assessments of current conditions were also reflected in significant declines in their expectations for nearly all business categories in the next six months, yet these expectations still remained very optimistic and well within expansionary territory.”

State Street Investor Confidence Index, April 2018: “Global institutional investors continued to regain confidence and further increased their holding of equities in April” [Econoday]. “State Street noted that the global increases in equity holdings by institutional investors despite the recent challenges of heightened volatility and trade war fears reflects a general confidence in risky assets and echoes the strong start to the first quarter earnings season. Given recent somewhat disappointing economic data for Europe, the sharp gain for this region is particularly notable.”

Chemical Activity Barometer: “April 2018 Chemical Activity Barometer Rate Of Growth Slows” [Econintersect]. “The Chemical Activity Barometer (CAB) slipped 0.1 percent in April to 121.6 percent on a three-month moving average (3MMA) basis. This follows six consecutive monthly gains and a dip from the barometer’s highest point since modeling began. The Chemical Activity Barometer (CAB) slipped 0.1 percent in April to 121.6 percent on a three-month moving average (3MMA) basis. This follows six consecutive monthly gains and a dip from the barometer’s highest point since modeling began.” And: “This appears to be a leading indicator for industrial production” [Calculated Risk]. “The year-over-year increase in the CAB has been solid over the last year, suggesting further gains in industrial production in 2018.”

Shipping: “March trucking volumes are mixed, reports ATA” [Logistics Management]. “”Despite a softer March and February, truck freight tonnage remains solid as exhibited in the year-over-year increase of 6.3%,” said [American Trucking Association (ATA)] Chief Economist Bob Costello in a statement. ‘While I expect the pace of growth to continue moderating in the months ahead, if for no other reason than year-over-year comparisons will become more difficult as tonnage snapped back in May of 2017, the levels of freight will remain good going forward.'”

Shipping: “The last-mile for delivery of online purchases may not have to end at the home. Amazon.com Inc. is starting to bring packages right to the car, using a deal with General Motors Co. and Volvo Cars to give its couriers access to potentially millions of vehicles in 37 U.S. mark” [Wall Street Journal]. Very convenient, since that’s where so many of us sleep.

Manufacturing: “Some big U.S. manufacturers may be casting a shadow over the recovery in the industrial sector. Caterpillar Inc. executives say a strong first quarter could be a ‘high-water mark’ for the year, and 3M Co. says rising costs for transportation and raw materials are raising concerns at the company. … [B]oth companies plan to raise prices to offset the hit to profits from higher expenses, a sign of the growing pressures across the economy as rapidly growing demand adds strains to some supply chains. Caterpillar’s outlook comes after the construction and farming equipment manufacturer saw a 31% surge in first-quarter sales, as dealers across North America boosted inventories to meet growing demand for construction equipment. The manufacturer says its sales outlook remains bright, but the company doesn’t expect its cost increases to slow down either” [Wall Street Journal].

The Bezzle: “‘OK, I’ll say it: bitcoin is a scam,’ says the former CEO of PayPal and Intuit” [MarketWatch]. Bill Harris: “It’s a colossal pump-and-dump scheme, the likes of which the world has never seen… the losers are ill-informed buyers caught up in the spiral of greed. The result is a massive transfer of wealth from ordinary families to internet promoters.”

The Bezzle: “San Francisco Is Fighting the Scooter Trend With Poop and Vandalism” [Motherboard]. Innovative! Lots of disruption going on here:

Mr. Market: “We must heed warnings from the 1970s bear market” [Financial Times]. Shorter: Now would be a good time to buy gold.

Mr. Market: ‘‘Big bear market’ for stocks lasting several months appears to have begun” [MarketWatch]. Wellies, this is from a market timer based on a “key technical indicator.” Readers?

Our Famously Free Press

“MSNBC’s Joy Reid Claims Her Website Was Hacked and Bigoted Anti-LGBT Content Added, a Bizarre Story Liberal Outlets Ignore” [The Intercept]. “How, then, did [these these viciously bigoted posts] end up on her blog under her name? According to Reid, she was the victim of ‘hackers’: somehow, nefarious disinformation agents managed to hack not her blog (which is now deleted), but rather the Wayback Machine and its digital archive. They penetrated the Wayback Machine and then, according to Reid, added some anti-gay content.” That Reid would throw the Internet Archive, which is an extremely valuable public resource, under the bus to preserve her reputation, such as it is, is concerning.

“The Internet Archive Trashes Joy Reid’s Dubious Claim That Hackers Made Her Look Homophobic” [Splinter News]. This is a good wrap-up.

“Addressing Recent Claims of “Manipulated” Blog Posts in the Wayback Machine” [Internet Archive]. “When we reviewed the archives, we found nothing to indicate tampering or hacking of the Wayback Machine versions. At least some of the examples of allegedly fraudulent posts provided to us had been archived at different dates and by different entities.”


I don’t have time to check this archive, but, readers, perhaps some of you do….

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“You never see that point of view in mainstream press.” [New York Times]. “[M]ost major publications lack a proudly socialist voice, or anything like it — someone arguing for single-payer health care, a sweeping crackdown on Wall Street, a return to a top tax rate above 80 percent and the like. This absence is a mistake, multiple readers argued. The media, as one reader put it, should include ‘points of view taken for granted as just and necessary by hundreds of millions of citizens in other countries. You know, backwaters like France, Germany, Sweden, Norway, Japan?'”

Class Warfare

“Neoliberalism: The Movement That Dare Not Speak Its Name” [Philip Mirowski, American Affairs Journal (KF)]. Grab a cup of coffee, this long-form piece on history of “The Neoliberal Thought Collective” is excellent. “The hallmark of the neoliberal thought collective was that they more or less accepted the inherited image of an addled and befuddled populace, but thoroughly rejected any appeals to a scientific technocracy to instill some discipline in the masses. For them, the discombobulation of the masses was not a reason for despair, but rather the necessary compost out of which a spontaneous order might blossom.18 The primary way this would come to pass was through acknowledgement that “the market” was an information processor more powerful and more efficacious than any human being was or could ever be. The cretinous and nescient would propose; the market would dispose. In effect, the NTC believed if only the masses could learn to subordinate their ambitions and desires to market dictates, then their deficient understandings and flawed syllogisms could be regarded as convenient expedients smoothing the path to order, rather than as political obstacles to be overcome, as in the technocratic orientation of postwar social sciences. And, conveniently, the neoliberals would mobilize numerous institutional structures to nudge the people down that path.”

“Between Obama and Coates” [Catalyst]. “Coates’s critique of the New Deal centers on two of its most well-documented deficiencies: the exclusion of disproportionately black agricultural workers from coverage under the Social Security Act (1935) and the explicit exclusion of blacks from Federal Housing Administration (FHA) and Veterans Administration (VA) mortgage policies. According to Coates, these examples highlight the limitations of universalism, while demonstrating a history of white plunder of black bodies. The realities, however, are far more complicated. As Coates correctly notes, exclusion of agricultural and domestic workers from Social Security coverage placed 65 percent of African American workers beyond the reach of the SSA’s old-age retirement coverage in 1935. Drawing on the work of political scientist Ira Katznelson, Coates ultimately attributes the exclusion of agricultural and domestic workers — “jobs heavily occupied by blacks”— from the Social Security Act to southern Democrats’ desire to infuse Jim Crow into federal policy. Though there is little doubt that southern Democrats argued passionately against extension of Title I Social Security benefits to African Americans, the contention that racism was the principal impetus behind the SSA’s exclusion of agricultural and domestic workers is hard to defend. The most obvious problem with the claim is that it ignores the fact that the majority of sharecroppers, tenant farmers, mixed farm laborers, and domestic workers in the early 1930s were white.”

News of The Wired

“Why I’m Quitting Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Facebook, and Apple for a Month” [Motherboard]. “Despite my total dependence on these products, however, I also have a deep-seated distrust of the companies behind them.” Quite a bill of particulars:

Amazon’s success is built on the labor of its nearly 600,000 underpaid and overworked employees, huge tax breaks, and the total invasion of our personal space with spy-ready products like Alexa. Facebook harvests user data and allows nearly anyone to target you with advertisements, a business model which resulted in an epidemic of fake news, political ad targeting in the US and Britain, and allegedly fueling genocide in Myanmar. Google is a military contractor that has more data on us than any company in the world and uses its products to target us with ads while aggressively avoiding taxes. Apple’s flagship products are built on the suffering of its contractors in the developing world, from the children dying in cobalt mines in Congo to the Foxconn factories in Shenzhen, where nets hang over the courtyards of labor barracks to stem the rising tide of worker suicides. And finally there’s Microsoft, a company slapped with landmark antitrust suits in the US and Europe that has cooperated with Chinese censorship and handed over user data to the NSA for its infamous PRISM program to spy on US citizens. In short, I found myself a hypocrite. On the one hand, I was staunchly opposed to many of the business practices that made these companies into the globe-striding behemoths they are today. On the other hand, I was a sucker for the total convenience their products provided.”

I wonder what Thoreau would have thought of “convenience” as a value.

One for humanity:

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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 (TH):

TH writes: “After being in our house for 12 years, I finally know what this plant in our front yard is; a trumpet honeysuckle. I’d never heard of a scent-silent (not a scientific term) honeysuckle. The birds and bees adore it, so perhaps their senses are more acute and they would disagree with me that there’s no detectable aroma.” I understand that in the South, honeysuckle is a pest, but in Maine, you actually have to grow. I used to have three varieties, but winter killed one.

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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. Arizona Slim

      A close friend was a university adjunct. Her summation of how she was treated: “You’re lower than whale sh!t.”

        1. JBird

          And yet students have to pay the same amount while the teacher is paid less. How…surprising!

    2. TheHoarseWhiperer

      Montemagno is the first permanently-appointed chancellor since 2014 when Rita Cheng left the university to accept a position as president of Northern Arizona University.

      He will begin his tenure as chancellor on August 15, with an annual salary of $340,000.

  1. Enrique

    Ha ha good to see SF’ans fighting back against the menace of imbecile VC scooter/bike “share” madness. Hey VC guy, I’m sure you’re all about “sustainability” and environmentalism and all that. So this squares exactly how with having some skeleton-crewed startup company/cash-incinerating exercise dump thousands of your godawful bikes in my city?

    Can’t even walk in a park without seeing these things littering each side, tossed in the river, etc.

    Not the biggest fan of the efficacy of government regulation, but clearly someone from authority needs to step in here.

    1. privatization

      Lacking places for individuals to park their own bikes yet public space being delegated for private interests to profit…. and the writer’s can’t figure out the hostility.

    2. perpetualWAR

      In Seattle, we have a helmet law. I see all these bikes for hire, but no helmet attached. Apparently, the City Council ignores law for private profit. That’s what makes me enraged. Why do they get to flaunt breaking laws—-??? Oh yeah, profit.

    3. nonesuch

      I live in SF and was talking to a friend about these things everywhere and he said that it’s not the idea of transportation that brought bikes and scooters but the apps, and their information-gathering software, that is the key, if you will. With these apps, the disruptive CEOs and their VC benefactors can then sell the app and the company, making big bucks, and leaving the detritus of scooters and bikes behind. Kinda like those pictures of China’s bike sharing programs recently published.

      1. Wukchumni

        Those bikes would be much better repurposed @ Burning Man, where newbies that didn’t realize how much easier it is to get around with one instead of walking, would much appreciate it.

  2. drumlin woodchuckles

    I have seen my own personal example of the Wayback Machine having had something retro-changed long after the fact.

    I used to listen at random to some of those Spitfire List/ For The Record broadcasts that David Emory recorded for playing on Left Wing Public Radio. In one of them he talked about the legacy of genuine nazi-allied political activists in the Arab Countries of the middle east . . . who were the only category of nazi-collaborators never even touched at all in the post-war denazification process. He talked about how their literal blood-descended children/ granchildren/other relatives were/are still active in various extreme-nationalist corners of various Arab political struggles. He talked about how they still practice methods of propaganda their ancestors had learned from the Nazi Germany propaganda teachers.

    One example he gave was what he described as a Hamas-fabricated photoshop of Rachel Corrie sitting in front of a Palestinian House with a bulldozer charging at her. David Emory invited us to notice that the shadow cast by Rachel Corrie and the shadow cast by the bulldozer leaned in opposite directions.
    He said that showed that the Hamas photoshoppers didn’t even care about making the photoshopped placing of Rachel Corrie and the bulldozer in the same frame look plausible.

    A few years after hearing that broadcast, I went to the wiki page about Rachel Corrie. I saw that photoshop picture there as described. Several more years after that, when I wanted to make some kind of point about something or other, I went there again to find the photoshoppo and I found it wasn’t there anymore. Instead, a neutral photo of a building was there with no Rachel and no bulldozer in the picture.

    So I decided I would go to the Wayback Machine and look up old time-capsuled screen-shotted captures of that Rachel Corrie wiki-page from years before . . . . to find that original photoshoppo. And I saw that IN THE LEGACY HISTORICAL SCREEN-SHOTTED TIME-CAPSULE PAGE . . . that “somebody” or “something” had reached back, and deleted the Rachel-and-the-bulldozer photoshoppo from the years-old legacy historical Wayback Machine archive wiki-page. And put in that very same many-years-more-recent photo of the impersonal building. Hackers? Inside jobbers? I don’t know. But I know that the Wayback Machine has been reached back into and changed years after the fact at least once.

    Has it happened at other times on other occasions to other Legacy Historical preserved-for-the-ages documents there on the Wayback Machine? I have no way to know or even guess. But I know that I saw it to have happened that one time to that one Archived Page.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        No, neither of those pictures. In the first picture, the shadows cast by Rachel Corrie and the bulldozer may look sort of differently leaning, but they would have to be carefully analyzed. The picture looks like it could be plausible. The second picture looks absolutely real.

        The picture I saw was so crudely stupidly photoshopped , with the shadows leaning in such screamingly opposite directions, it was as though the maker of the picture was laughing at us and daring us to object to the blatant falsity of the picture. And David Emory is the only person that I ever heard object to the screaming blatant falsity of the picture. And that picture is now just gone gone gone. And , as I say, gone from the Internet Archive. To reach back into the Internet Archive and retro-erase a picture so that it as if the picture never existed . . . is to exercise POWER. The power of Memory Proof Deletion. The power which George Orwell could only fictionalize about via the device of the “memory hole”.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            And the thing is, is that if you had decided to say ” oh yeah? prove it! ” . . . I would have been unable to prove ANYthing. Because the picture is GONE. GONE from the Internet Archive . . . which is suPPOSED to be the impartial and un-retro-changeable REcord of what Really Truly WAS on the internet.

            Maybe David Emory himself has a personal copy of the photoshoppo somewhere. But if he produced it upon request, and someone said ” oh yeah? How do we know you didn’t just photoshop it your own self to fake your case?” . . . well, what could David Emory possibly say in a situation like that?

            1. Katsue

              Is it possible that the photo you describe was only on the Wikipedia page for a couple of days?

              1. drumlin woodchuckles

                I think that picture was up there for some years. Here’s why I think that.
                The picture must have already been up there for some time before David Emory was able to see it and talk about it on his For The Record broadcast that week. And I never bothered to go look at it at the time.

                It was a couple years later that I went to the relevant Wiki page just to see and yes, it was there just as David Emory described it. So that is at least a 3 year span of time in which that picture had been there undisturbed.

                It was some years later that I went back again and found the picture gone. After some moments of frustration I said ” Aha! Surely it will be preserved in amber on the Wayback Machine’s Internet Archives pages.”
                But it wasn’t. I searched through the relevant “time-snap screen-shot” pages for that wiki page going back quite a few years, and even the ones from years before . . . . had that “new picture” which was replacing the photoshoppo which had been removed.

                I think somebody must have alerted the keepers of the Rachel Corrie wiki page to tell them about how David Emory had fingered their photoshoppo as so crude and stupid as to be downright embarrassing. So they removed it.

                What really impressed me is how someone was able to go “back in time” and remove that picture from the Historical Wiki and put a whole new fly into the old photographic amber. As I say, the power to do THAT . . . is POWER.

            2. Amfortas the Hippie

              That’s pretty scary.
              I’ve kept all my old computers(back to 1999) for this reason…I couldn’t trust(intuitively, at first) that such things were as reliable a repository as a book, or a sheaf of mimeographed paper. Especially after 911, and second iraq, I saved a whole bunch of stuff I can’t find now.
              I remember it, and the few occasions I’ve managed to spin up the old drives…well, there they are,lol.
              The Memory Hole is real.
              “There’s a war on for your mind…”
              Somebody is tinkering with our collective apprehension of reality.
              I can think of few things that are scarier than that.
              –see other post on links about my mother,lol. MKUltra or whatever doesn’t sound so crazy in light of all this.
              “1984” as a manual.

  3. Wukchumni

    Mr. Market: “We must heed warnings from the 1970s bear market” [Financial Times]. Shorter: Now would be a good time to buy gold.

    This isn’t your dad’s 1970’s bullion market, with ETF’s (extreme tom foolery?) and the like setting the trend now as opposed to the real thing. That said, old yeller has been a paragon of stability spot price wise compared to everything else, since the reign of error took over.

    …funny that

    1. Andrew Watts

      This isn’t your dad’s 1970’s bullion market,

      I sure hope not ’cause I’ll end up investing in a fake gold mine.

      1. Wukchumni

        A friend bought a hard rock gold mine about 10 miles from Columbia, Ca. in the heart of the gold country, about 20 years ago.

        One weekend about 15 years ago he invited about 6 or 7 friends to come see it, and it was a working mine from the 1890’s until 1942, when every last gold mine was ordered closed by the government, as they did nothing for the war effort, and as a result, they all flooded.

        He paid I think $150k for it, and as it turned out the long weekend was more of an attempt to find investors, and the hints to invest were subtle at first, edging towards blatant by the time we escaped.

        I’d guestimate the mine needed $2 million to get it going again, which never happened.

        1. Oregoncharles

          I have a brother-in-law who operated gold mines. He developed a specialty in resurrecting them – could probably do wonders for the one you mention – then in shutting them down.

          Today his business is in remediation – pretty ironic considering his earlier attitude toward “‘varnmentalisists.” He’s done very well, all told.

          $2 million sounds very cheap for a gold mine.

  4. drumlin woodchuckles

    By the way, I have my own complaint about how the Wayback Machinists present their Internet Archives. They don’t have any way to find a site by its name. You have to have the exact URL for the site. You have to type that exact URL in.

    I wanted to find a site I remembered from 20 years ago or so, called Disembodied Eyes, about entheogenic drugs and herbs. Since I don’t know what the exact and total URL is, I have no way to find it.
    I bet it is in there. But it can’t be found. So the Internet Archives is like a library with many millions of books in it. And NO card catalog for any of them. And each book is locked and can only be unlocked with its very own key.

    1. a different chris

      You’ve made two statements in two different posts.

      1) The Wayback Machine changed the Rachel Corrie picture
      2) I can’t find what I expect in said Wayback Machine

      I can’t discount the conclusion that you simply aren’t turning up your original link, thus the different picture. There are obviously more than one, real or not. Your inability to find the picture you remember is far from proof that somebody messed with the link.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        It was from the Rachel Corrie wikipedia page. As i said, I first went to look at the “current edition” of the Rachel Corrie wikipedia page to see if the photoshoppo was really as bad as David Emory said it was on his “For The Record” broadcast. And when I went to look for it several years later on the “current edition” of the Rachel Corrie wikipedia page, it was no longer there.

        Since by that time I was already familiar with the need to give the Internet Archive the EXACT URL to what I am looking for, I wrote down the EXACT URL of the “current” Rachel Correy wikipedia page.
        Then I typed that very same EXACT URL into the ” type URL here” space that the Internet Archive Wayback Machine gives you to type the EXACT URL into. And the EXACT URL called up the EXACTLY SAME Rachel Corrie wikipedia page. The Wayback Machine shows you a chart going back in time of when they “scraped” the website you are looking at, so you can see snapshots of that website going back in time. So I looked at bunches of different “time-scraped” snapshots of the Rachel Corrie wikipedia page going back . . . and back . . . and back. . . . and they all had the very same “neat new replacement” photograph that the current edition of the wikipedia page had.

        I don’t know if that is courtroom quality proof, but it seems like airtight evidence to me. But you can make of it what you will. If you know of two, or three, or many unrelated-to-eachother wikipedia pages about Rachel Corrie and you can offer a link to each unrelated page with its own unrelated URL, I can do a brute-force search of each URL on the Wayback Machine to see if I can find the photoshoppo I remember having seen after the David Emory broadcast inspired me to look for it.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Just now I went over to the Rachel Corrie wikipage and it has some other new photographs, including a photograph of Rachel Corrie and a bulldozer which looks real to me without any photoshoppo at all. So on the current realtime wiki, the photos keep changing around, just like lots of things keep changing around on millions of different wiki pages.

          If I am feeling super-diligent, I will go to the Wayback Machine and see if their photos have also retro-changed around yet again.

  5. Catman

    Read the trucker story yesterday and thought the quote from the cop stood out, something like, “don’t talk about the trucks or me, think and write about the fact that he changed his mind in not jumping.”
    Humanity on top of humanity all the way down

    1. Oregoncharles

      It’s plausible that the display of human concern, from total strangers, helped convinc him to change his mind. It’s just the sort of thing that would.

    2. WheresOurTeddy

      One assumes the driverless trucks that makes all of these men unemployed will not be programmed with empathy, as that does not contribute to profitability.

  6. fresno dan


    I had never heard of the Golden State Killer until I saw a crime show documentary, mostly I guess because he was up in the Sacramento area when I was living in Fresno, and his crimes weren’t tied together for a long while and no one gave him a catchy moniker. And than I moved near Washington DC early in his criminal career.
    If this is the guy, it is extremely unfortunate that he is old enough that he probably won’t end up serving a sentence nearly long enough to even remotely give him the retribution he deserves.

        1. Wukchumni

          Exeter is an interesting town, once a hotbed of the KKK, and after WW2, it had the most millionaires on a per capita basis of any city in the USA, thanks to the large citrus orchards there, and the invention of frozen orange juice concentrate, supplying OJ during the war.

  7. mle detroit

    Re quitting Facebook and Google: Can the NC commentariat recommend substitutes? Facebook is particularly good for growing groups like Michigan’s citizen redistricting initiative — is there an alternative to FB?

    1. Arizona Slim

      Phone trees? E-mail discussion groups? Face-to-face meetings publicized via flyers, phone trees, and e-mail?

    2. Lee

      Search engine https://duckduckgo.com/ claims it does not track users.

      I typically use Chrome when visiting the Naked Capitalism site. Most of the ads here are finance related. Lately, I’ve been seeing ads here for trendy young women’s clothing, a demographic to which I most certainly do not belong. Perhaps the Goog thinks people who come to this site have money but lack clothing. I could see that making perfectly good sense to an algorithm. Do we really want them driving cars?

      1. curlydan

        I like duckduckgo. It makes internet surfing slightly more enjoyable because you’re not totally bombarded with ads for something you just searched on.

    3. Oregoncharles

      There is one called MeWe. I’m on it, but i”m not a social media guy so it’s not apparent to me what to do with it.

    4. Isotope_C14

      Minds is an alternative to Facebook, haven’t used it much but it exisists. Lee camp interviewed the creator..

  8. Darius

    Credit where credit is due to Gillibrand on postal banking. Same for Cory Booker on pot. Not yet saying I’d vote for either given the chance. But neither of them is an Andrew Cuomo in my book. Both are playing it better than Kamala Harris.

  9. Big River Bandido

    So, Kristen Gillebrand thinks a postal bank is a good idea? Bernie Sanders proposed this very idea 3 years ago.

    I’m sure the writer will amend the article. Not.

    1. makedoanmend

      I dunno, but maybe the take away is: had Bernie not brought it to attention on a national stage 3 years ago would Gillebrand ever thought about it as a concept this year? Just wondering. Small steps. Small steps. (But hold their feet to the fire!)

      1. Big River Bandido

        My point was simply that the HuffPo writer sees fit to use the story to serve two establishment Democrat ends: boost the chances of a phony progressive, while flushing the contribution of a real one down the memory hole.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          But the idea itself is out there now. More and more so.

          ” You can get a lot done if you don’t mind getting zero credit for it.”

    2. Craig H.

      At the footer they had a link to suggest a correction. I submitted your correction and am giving the author a chance. I never heard of the fellow. He might have been a college freshman three years ago for all I know.

      1. Big River Bandido

        Thank you. I started doing the same, but I’m mobile ATM and commenting anywhere is tough. Submitting corrections on that site proved impossible.

  10. Big River Bandido

    I avoided commenting on sinus infections yesterday because so many people offer such advice unsolicited. But since you expressed appreciation for all the suggestions…

    As an alternative to the Neti-pot, I recommend Neil-Med Sinus rinse. It’s a bottle applicator rather than a “gravy dish”, and thus a little easier to use (and less messy.

      1. marku52

        Yes indeed. Not a good thing to put a flesh eating bacteria in the immediate vicinity of your brain…..

  11. Sid Finster

    Found on internet:

    “A wolf, meeting with a Lamb astray from the fold, resolved not to lay violent hands on him, but to find some plea to justify to the Lamb the Wolf’s right to eat him. He thus addressed him: “Sirrah, last year you grossly insulted me.”

    “Indeed,” bleated the Lamb in a mournful tone of voice, “I was not then born.”

    Then said the Wolf, “You feed in my pasture.”

    “No, good sir,” replied the Lamb, “I have not yet tasted grass.”

    Again said the Wolf, “You drink of my well.”

    “No,” exclaimed the Lamb, “I never yet drank water, for as yet my mother’s milk is both food and drink to me.”

    Upon which the Wolf seized him and ate him up, saying, “Well! I won’t remain supperless, even though you refute every one of my imputations.”

    Moral: The tyrant will always find a pretext for his tyranny.
    For a few more years, the US will have absolute power over other people and we will use that power in an absolutely corrupt way at the behest of our overlords in Riyadh and Jerusalem. When retribution finally comes our way, no one will shed a tear for us.”

    Nor should they, for we have done much evil of late, and little good.

  12. perpetualWAR

    The DNC needs to catch a clue: we are ALL exhausted by their attempts of “Russia…Russia…Russia.” It is a pathetic attempt to make us (idiots in their opinion) believe that Russia is a boogeyman.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Once again, I’d like to thank the DNC — and all of its cronies — for inspiring me to learn the Russian language and study Russian history.

      1. Sid Finster

        Russia is a nice place, nothing like what is shown in the news. Much of what I learned about life, I learned in Russia.

      2. JTMcPhee

        For the scopophiliacs among us, who don’t want to dive deep into Russian language, literature, history and culture but would like a little peep into “that strange place over there,” might I suggest some time spent in Youtube land where if you search for “We love Russia,” you will get a nice eyeful.

        Seems most vehicles there have dash cams, and there are lots of surveillance cameras under private ownership that capture lots of “local moments.” The selection probably tilts toward the aberrant and cruelly slapstick humorous, but look at the streets, the weather they put up with, the buildings, the PEOPLE. I do like the many clip;s of Russian police walking up to people that US cops would shoot dead out of hand, and either talking them down (drunk or deranged), or simply overpowering them physically, and without the gratuitous ‘free kicks’ that feature in so many of the “Cops Run Wild” videos captured by bystanders here ate home.

        Russians have their problems — check out the liquor stores and the long shelves and racks in every store interior, stuffed with vodka and other animal spirits. And there are some amazing demonstrations of physical impossibilities by inebriated people whose brain stem functions might be all that’s left operational due to ethanol overdoses that would kill most of us pikers.

        Better than us, morally and ethically and spiritually? I have no idea from my peek through the chinks. But they seem a lot more vital, somehow… real-world, as it were.

        One entry point: https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=2lUJ28uTGbQ

        1. 4Corners

          Steinbeck’s A Russian Journal, written at a time when the Cold War was heating up (cooling down?) might once again be a timely reminder that Russians aren’t all out to get us.

        2. Sid_finster

          I lived in Russia and Ukraine and Poland most of my professional life.

          Some day, I will tell stories but for now, even though I have not (AFAIK) a drop of Slavic blood in me, no ancestors from that part of the world, Russia is the place that I think of as “home”.

          1. RWood

            NM is a state with a lot of pain. There’s an epidemic of heroin and its similitudes. Domestic violence. It’s estimated that there are 1/5 drunk drivers after 10 p.m. Somebody who was a driving instructor told me that the place with the most liquor stores per resident was Los Alamos.

      3. Oregoncharles

        A Russian folk group we enjoy – without the slightest idea what they’re saying. Two links, from my wife who found them, but I’m sure there’s more of their music to be found:

        Wonderfully alive music, breathtaking Russian landscape.

        This one seems to reference a folk tale or historical events:


        This is fun music to go along with the Cossack dancing that looks like fighting.

        Отава Ё – Сумецкая (русские частушки под драку) Otava Yo – russian couplets while fighting

        The videos are gorgeous, and sometimes very funny; another glimpse of Russia, and of Cossack dancing in the latter video.

        One thing that struck me was the similarity to a lot of Irish folk music.

        And Slim, maybe you can tell us a bit about what they’re saying! I THINK they’re folk tales.

        Afterthought: I actually learned that Cossack squat dance, back in college, just not at all well – I’m a klutz. It’s more doable than it looks. Tossing logs around is agood way to get a hernia, though.

    2. NotTimothyGeithner

      What would the DNC etc rally around? There are consequences to the personal cult style politics of recent decades and the recruitment of candidates who were largely self funders interested in buying a title rather than doing anything.

      We can ask what did Hillary stand for but the problem is its not just Hill thats the problem but everyone else in the Democratic organization. Occasionally, they will discover low hanging fruit when they are under extreme pressure. What is the success story of the Clinton Administration? The economy by which they mean the tech boom paid for infrastructure investments made in the 1980’s and earlier, and the Y2K hiring binge. 70% of households saw declines. These aren’t values. Hillary belonged to the unholy trinity along with Tipper and Joe Lieberman in the 90’s that was out to protect Americans from naughty language in rap music (if that was the real reason). Boogeymen are all they have.

      There were a flurry of reports about Democrats trying to figure out Sanders secrets, but they are so far removed from what politics is supposed to be they can’t comprehend or rally around anything beyond the insane.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        I seem to recall Obama opening up Cuba…and he talked alot about LGBT issues. Other than that it was the Bush program all the way

    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      Millions and millions of Jonestown Clinties are not tired of it. They are energized by it and devoted to it.
      The DNC will be their helpless hostage. Maybe it already is.

      Riverdaughter’s blog The Confluence is as good an example as any of the Jonestown Clinton Cultists on parade.

  13. Jason Boxman

    In the buzzfeed article, it quotes David Betras bemoaning the focus on Russia rather than the economy, but just yesterday the NYT had an article about a study declaring definitively that Trump voters really are just racists rather than concerned about their own economic welfare, so it appears he’s off message.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Elite Team Blue types still have to come to grips with the conflicting problems of the “moderate suburban Republicans” were the same people the Clintons tried to appeal to with their “super predator” language and that the Bernie Bro myths was largely created to prevent Sanders from gaining crucial support in early states where Democratic organizing was virtually non-existent and thus the establishment candidate would be so far ahead. Democrat elites might want to believe they are the upper crust of society, but Republicans hold the wealth. There are a few enclaves on top of areas which are heavily dependent on international markets whether its Hollywood or finance and will timidly call for certain “liberal” positions.

      Racist hierarchies aren’t imposed by hillbillies but by the powers that be. The local power brokers promote these structures and always have. Yes, I think its possible for the average general election Trump voter to not care about the economy and largely be racist while the economy is the real story of the election as Hillary bled votes who probably didn’t swing to Trump. There were probably some, but in so many competitive states in recent elections, she did worse than JOHN KERRY. Team Blue can go on all day about the second highest vote total ever, but in states in play, she did worse than Kerry. We overlook it especially on the left side of the column, but Trump isn’t a Mormon. There were voters who stayed at home in 2012. I believe Obama wasn’t black, it would have been more noticeable as evangelicals stayed home in greater numbers.

      1. IowanX

        The Southern State March Primaries were decided by the D’s/Hillary early on, before Bernie could even have a crack at trying the “concrete, material benefits” message. Elite Team Blue Members cannot stop a) fighting the last war; and b) completely misunderstanding how to win elections in fly-over country. As we all know, and to quote Firesign Theater, “Sometimes I think they do it on purpose.”

        Re:”Midwestern Democrats Want The National Party To Stop The Trump-Russia Talk”–Totally correct, even if Robby Mook’s/DNC data theory disagrees. My sign in is my bonafides. Family remains in Iowa and Illinois.

        Re: “Neoliberalism: The Movement That Dare Not Speak Its Name”, Thank you, Lambert. Nancy McLean’s Democracy in Chains is cited in a footnote, and I cannot recommend that book strongly enough to the NC readership. The American Affairs author, Philip Mirowski, differentiates the Neo-Liberal project from Libertarianism. I’m not sure I agree, having grown up in the midwest, but if you read Nancy McLean’s book, and I hope you do, I think Neo-liberalism and Libertarianism are connected at the hip, via the same funding mechanisms that Citizens United has made possible.

  14. Big River Bandido

    So…Joy Ann Reid. How appropriate that a neoliberal media hack who uses empty identity politics as a flamethrower against true reform finally gets burned. Couldn’t happen to a nicer person.

    I would have preferred she got her takedown for being a elitist warmonger. But the current manner of her undoing (if it comes to that) would have cosmic justice.

  15. John D.

    Joyless Reid certainly is one contemptuous would-be aristo, isn’t she? “Who ya gonna believe, me or your lyin’ eyes?” Just how stupid does she think we are?

    1. Kurtismayfield

      I distrust the extremes. Scratch a conservative and you find someone who prefers the past over any future. Scratch a liberal and find a closet aristocrat.

      Frank Herbert God Emperor of Dune

  16. Ed

    Our inventions are wont to be pretty toys, which distract our attention from serious things. They are but improved means to an unimproved end,… We are in great haste to construct a magnetic telegraph from Maine to Texas; but Maine and Texas, it may be, have nothing important to communicate.

    Thoreau (a manufacturer of pencils)

  17. PKMKII

    From the scooter article:

    “Overall, the Bird community is an agreeable flock,” Bird spokesperson Kenneth Baer told me when I asked about cases of abuse.

    Now I know corporate spokespeople are soulless hacks, but how does a human being uttered that phrase without having reflexive projectile vomiting?

  18. ambrit

    Well, here’s a sign of the times. An ad on craigslist looking for subcontractors for repair and rebuild work in Puerto Rico. Pay is commission, by the job, set price, and applicants need insurance and truck and tools!
    Why not ask for a surplus LCT (landing craft tank) to get to the place, as well?
    If contractors are casting their net this far for potential sub contractors, then this is a really low ball operation.
    Read: https://hattiesburg.craigslist.org/trd/d/seeking-remodel/6571007320.html
    Do notice the 20% ‘hold back’ provision. I seem to remember 10% being the standard ‘hold back’ in the long ago. (Any other small contractors from way back remember the correct percentage?)

    1. Steve from CT

      10% hold back was used from 1973 to 2009 when I was an affordable housing developer.

      1. ambrit

        Thanks one and all. I did think that the 20% ‘hold back’ was a scheme. According to Phyllis, I had a few small jobs have 10% ‘hold back’ provisions in the way long ago. The 20% is probably a form of “float” where the originator gets to use the extra 10% to generate some investment income from off of the sweat equity of the subcontractors. I also wonder about that 80% upon final inspection clause. Acceptance of each part of the job, or acceptance of the job as a whole?
        It makes me fear for the poor Puerto Ricenyos. They are going to get stuck with the products of a race below the bottom scenario. And we thought that conditions after Katrina were bad. Ol Brownie is looking good compared to these f—–s.

  19. doomed to life long transience

    Seems like the Pew Charitable Trusts & Research Center offices have ditched their office phones?

    Intriguing, I’ve now tried to contact Pew™ at 5 telephone numbers (which span three different street addresses at Pew’s Philadelphia Headquarters and their Washington D.C. office), over the course of 6 days. None of them work, noting that the number has been disconnected, etcetera; though the online ‘pages’ I retrieved the numbers from are ‘current’ as of today:

    Pew Research1615 L St. NW, Suite 800 Washington, DC 20036 USA … Main phone: (+1) 202-419-4300 … Media inquiries: (+1) 202-419-4372

    Pew Charitable TrustsPhiladelphia [Headquarters] (215)-575-9050, One Commerce Square, 2005 Market Street, Suite 2800, Philadelphia, PA 19103-7077… Washington, D.C. (202)-552-2000 901 E Street NW, Washington, DC 20004-2008 . I didn’t bother with dialing London +44 020 7535 4000, The Grove, 248A Marylebone Road, LONDON NW1 6JZ (8 hours away, for one; not in my budget, for 2; what are the odds, for three); and they don’t even note a phone number for their noted Brussels office

    and (at the same street address as Pew Research) Pew Internet and American Life Project 1615 L St. NW, Suite 800 Washington, DC 20036, Phone: 202.419.4500

    Apparently Pew – though they purport to be benefitting that same public – is not only not concerned with public input via a communications device, the TELEPHONE, that far more have access to than reliable and secure internet communications (for still millions, even in the US, it’s their only access outside of ‘snail’ mail, and Pew knows this); they are also utterly unconcerned with relaying incorrect contact information; which information, people might rely on to perhaps have a voice in effecting their fates for the better when they find themselves utterly falling through the cracks for no morally defendable reason.

  20. Oregoncharles

    No need to post if someone already did, but cayenne pepper tea will open sinuses, albeit at the cost of considerable pain. But then, you’re already hurting. I haven’t used it myself, but my wife is anti-pharmaceuticals and swears by it.

    A friend with persistent sinus problems used to eat the stuff by the dry spoonful. Thats a bit desperate.

    My son inhaled the fumes from grated raw horseradish to similar effect. He only did it once, but it did work. Sort of like using dynamite.

    Take care of yourself, Lambert.

  21. Summer

    Re: Between Obama and Coates
    “Though there is little doubt that southern Democrats argued passionately against extension of Title I Social Security benefits to African Americans, the contention that racism was the principal impetus behind the SSA’s exclusion of agricultural and domestic workers is hard to defend. The most obvious problem with the claim is that it ignores the fact that the majority of sharecroppers, tenant farmers, mixed farm laborers, and domestic workers in the early 1930s were white.”

    You could call it class bias, that is at play, but why assume that don’t understand the concept of sacrifice? Percentage wise, which population is decimated the most?
    Along the lines of: I’ll sacrifice fewer of my own if in the long term it decimates the majority of the other.

    1. Jeff W

      The most obvious problem with the claim is that it ignores the fact that the majority of sharecroppers, tenant farmers, mixed farm laborers, and domestic workers in the early 1930s were white.

      Yeah, it’s not clear to me that the fact that a majority of those workers were white vitiates that claim. It might be that a greater percentage of the black population were sharecroppers, tenant farmers, mixed farm laborers, and domestic workers, even if they were not a majority within that composite group. Blacks were just 9.7% of the US population in 1930—you could have a very high percentage of blacks be in that group and still not be a majority. (That high percentage might be what you are referring to when you say “the majority of the other.”)

      It might not matter much that, in absolute numbers, whites outnumbered blacks in that composite group—irrespective of how many whites were disadvantaged by not having Social Security benefits extended to them, it seems consistent with that claim of racism that, at some level, Southern Democrats might not have wanted to extend benefits to a high percentage of the black population.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Way back in those early days, was Social Security written, structured and passed in such a way that the covered employEE had some FICA tax deducted from herm’s paycheck and credited to herm’s number ( “account”?) in the Social Security Agency? And did the Social-Security-covered employEE’s employER also have to pay his own self some FICA tax on behalf of that covered employee?

        Because if they did have to pay those FICA taxes starting from even then, at the start of the program, the Great Farmlords of the South might have simply not wanted to pay that money in the teeth of their low-profit-per-worker bussiness models. And their opposition to SoSec coverage for domestic workers might be an expression of pure class feudalism and a desire to pay as little money in the future as they had paid in the past for domestic rental-servitude.

        Does anyone have any evidence one way or another on this question? Testimony, diaries, etc. from the Great Farmlords themselves? Because I am certainly prepared to believe that that was their reason for this, and I am prepared to believe that Mr. Coates’s theory is just paranoid racial self-pity.

    2. Summer

      “Why assume that racists don’t understand the concept of sacrifice.”

      That’s how the sentence should read and the word got dropped…

    3. funemployed

      Bit late to this party, but be sure to click on a footnote in this article. It is glorious.

  22. lyman alpha blob

    RE: “Poll: Fewer voters say they’re noticing paycheck increases from tax law” [The Hill].

    So did they only poll the independently wealthy who just let their paychecks stack up on the coffee table uncashed? Because I definitely noticed the increase in my check.

    But then again I have a full time job that pays the same every pay period, as opposed to all the gig economy employees or part time retail people who work a different number of hours every week.

    Hard to believe 50% noticed no increase – my guess is it’s either due to the increasing number of people earning irregular wages or a it was just a bad poll.

    1. Big River Bandido

      I don’t understand the mental gymnastics involved here. Why is the default assumption that people just “didn’t notice” their pay increase, and that clearly this is a “messaging” problem? In a way, this is the Republican version of disconnect that Democrats display toward their so-called “deplorables” — discounting the lived experience of real people and assuming that the statistics and spin must be the truth because, after all, it was generated by “professionals” who know better than the rest of us.

      Couldn’t it simply be that people’s pay didn’t actually increase? My paycheck didn’t. And no amount of political messaging is going to deceive me into thinking that it did.

    2. Scott

      As did I, but I wonder about the timing of the impact on paychecks, especially as it relates to the annual raise/cost of living increase.

      Some of us even got emails stating when and why our take-home pay would be increasing.

    3. Utah

      My husband’s check would have been bigger, but it was offset by an increase in health insurance premiums. I suspect most families are in a similar situation.
      I work part time; so my paychecks don’t get affected, unfortunately.

  23. libertyweepswhileunclesamdies

    I’m not sure which Water Cooler category the following falls under:


    Maybe a new category called “Chutz-pocrisy” is warranted as the woman in the video was, believe it or not, the “ethics” chairwoman for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

    One certainly does not need to look very far to find corrupt adults behaving like entitled brats these days. But then again, how long has CalPERS, Wall Street, banks, housing, higher education, healthcare, the fourth estate, local-state-federal government been putting people like Caren Turner in positions of power and influence?

    It takes but one generation for a nation to lose its legitimacy, which has been built through the blood, sweat and tears of several generations. We been on that road for quite some time now and no sane person can now claim legitimacy in America’s institutions when such blatant displays of venality are all too common.

    1. flora

      We been on that road for quite some time now and no sane person can now claim legitimacy in America’s institutions when such blatant displays of venality are all too common.

      The neoliberals certainly use every trick to discredit democracy and government-of- the-people.
      Neoliberals would prefer a strong government of-the- few, the select people of property who would tell us all how to live by market rules. It’s reported that Milton Friedman “would plead that he wanted the same ultimate objectives as his opponents, only differing in the most efficacious means to achieve them. In private, he would concede his intolerance for democracy….”
      -‘Neoliberalism: The Movement That Dare Not Speak Its Name’. from WC links

      So, yes, there are some greedy, short sighted, and corrupt individuals in democratic government. That doesn’t change the fact that democratic government is still a legitimate institution made better by a broad franchise and strong regulations to prevent corruption.
      Deregulation has lost its legitimacy; the idea that ‘the market’ can replace democratic government has lost its legitimacy, imo.

      1. flora

        And most discredited of all: the idea of the ‘entrepreneurship of the self’, particularly discredited in the case of politicians. That idea is pure bunk when used to lend a supposed “ethical” cover to greedy or corrupt behavior, imo.

  24. allan

    Pelosi Floor Speech in Honor of the Late Peter G. Peterson

    I rise today to remember a great American patriot Mr. Pete Peterson who passed away at the age of 91 last month. Born to Greek immigrant parents in America’s heartland of Nebraska, Pete rose from humble beginnings to contribute to our nation as a public servant, statesman, business leader and especially through his philanthropic and policy work.

    Pete was a voice for fiscal responsibility and a strong moral conscience in Washington working tirelessly and always reaching across party lines. …

    His prophetic voice on the importance of fiscal sustainability brought together generations of policy makers no matter their political background to find common ground and effect solutions. His strong moral leadership to ensure our his children and grandchildren inherit a healthy fiscal future leaves a remarkable legacy. …

    Fixed it for you, Madame Minority Leader.

  25. flora

    re: ““Neoliberalism: The Movement That Dare Not Speak Its Name” [Philip Mirowski, American Affairs Journal “(KF)

    Thanks very much for this link.

    After reading, new things like the ‘gig economy’ and new ‘disruptive’ business models take on a political aspect I hadn’t considered. Uber, for instance, I can imagine being used as a stalking horse for the larger neoliberal political project, and thus financed and feted far beyond what its real business model warrants.

  26. allan

    Senate Democrats [sternly] demand information on Trump CIA nominee [Reuters]

    Three Senate Democrats complained on Wednesday that the CIA is refusing to make public important information about Gina Haspel, the senior undercover officer President Donald Trump has nominated to be the intelligence agency’s next director.

    Senators Dianne Feinstein, Ron Wyden and Martin Heinrich, members of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in a statement that the Central Intelligence Agency’s response to congressional requests for information on Haspel’s career at the agency has been “wholly inadequate.” …

    If only there were some thoroughly researched, publicly available compendium of the Agency’s misdeeds
    relating to torture and rendition.

    1. Oregoncharles

      Isn’t it still in the physical possession of the Senate? In fact, I tried to get Wyden to use his Constitutional immunity to release it, but he thought it would harm his career (he actually answered the question, in a town hall).

      This is the one subject he’s good on, but there’s a limit.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Well . . . it will just teach us to be more careful. And the truth did out, after a time.

        1. JTMcPhee

          …and how many “stories” never get to the point of “the truth getting out”?

          I follow NC because, though I am personally convinced that we humans are forked, and likely on our last laps, I don’t want to go out in complete ignorance of how it’s happening, how it was done to us and by us, and to offer my little bit of observation and, of course, a “Je Proteste!”

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            We will never know. But at least some do. And a place like NaCap allows people who discover the “getting out” of a truth in some tiny obscure corner are able to bring it here or elsewhere for a wider audience.

            I am impressed that someone up above was able to find and bring me Disembodied Eyes within hours of my lamenting its apparent disappearance, for example.

  27. ocop

    I immediately called bullshit on the Bitcoin student loans article and was explicitly thrown into moderation for that and challenging the legitimacy of the polling organization.

    NC has one of the best commentariats on the internet but we are all still human, prone to groupthink, and given to our biases and priors.

    1. ocop

      Sorry this should have been in reply to comments above this discussing Drew Cloud, student loan “reporter”

  28. JCC

    The article “Neoliberalism: The Movement That Dare Not Speak Its Name” is one of the most interesting articles posted here on The Water Cooler that I’ve read in some time. Much food for thought, and a frightening look at a potential future of The Market As God… the neoliberal definition of that market, of course, where the individual is completely subsumed into The State defined as The Market.

    Or, as Mirowski describes two of the eleven primary themes of neoliberalism:

    * There is no contradiction between public/politics/citizen and private/market/entrepreneur-consumer – because the latter does and should eclipse the former.

    * The most important virtue – more important than justice, or anything else – is freedom, defined “negatively” as “freedom to choose,” and most importantly, defined as the freedom to acquiesce to the imperatives of the market.

    It feels to me to be a very sick social philosophy that is slowly taking over what is left of the personal and private lives of citizens and communities.

    Maybe I should consider another slog through Hardt and Negri’s “Empire” in order to attempt to renew my faith that neoliberal capitalism cannot survive in the long run.

    1. abyssus abyssum invocat

      Thank you, JCC. I wish there were more comments like yours.

      I would second JCC’s recommendation for Hardt and Negri’s Empire for those who wish to understand social/economic philosophy more than just name-dropping buzzwords du jour such as neoliberalism.

      But be warned. Like JCC said, it’s a slog.

    2. Redlife2017

      I just looked up Empire. How did I not know about that?? I do love the comments here on NC. I am always the grasshopper learning!

      I’ll put it on my to-do list, which is getting way too long…

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