2:00PM Water Cooler 4/6/2018

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“WELL, THAT ESCALATED QUICKLY: President Donald Trump upped the ante against China late Thursday by threatening to impose tariffs on an additional $100 billion in Chinese imports. That would be on top of the $50 billion worth of imports the administration is already targeting with a 25 percent tariff as part of its actions to punish Beijing for policies that the White House says forces U.S. companies to hand over valuable technology” [Politico]. “Trump said in a statement Thursday evening that he found China’s retaliation ‘unfair,’ and, for that reason, he instructed U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer ‘to consider whether $100 billion of additional tariffs would be appropriate … and, if so, to identify the products upon which to impose such tariffs.’ ‘Rather than remedy its misconduct, China has chosen to harm our farmers and manufacturers,’ Trump said.” Love the “that escalated” trope.

“Dozens of small- and medium-size American companies that bet on doing business with Iran over the past decade are growing increasingly concerned about their investments” [Wall Street Journal]. “Companies like ImEx Gulf, a Plano, Texas-based exporter of food supplements for livestock, started shipping to Iran under special exemptions created long before the nuclear pact that pulled back international sanctions. And some companies that were looking to get into Iran after 2015 now say shipping insurance costs are rising with the growing uncertainty, a signal to many that the risks are too great to take on.”



I’m watching the liberal Democrat outrage machine crank into action over Sanders’ speech in Jackson. (Here’s a piece from Buzzfeed that includes remarkably little reporting on the speech itself, but does extensively relitigate 2016.) I can’t even. (In fact, the outpouring of liberal outrage has been so ginormous that it’s entirely polluted by Twitter feed, which is why today is a bit light.)

Here are the Sanders quotes that has the liberal Democrats’ knickers in a twist:

The business model, if you like, of the Democratic Party for the last 15 years or so, has been a failure,” Sanders said in response to a question about how to harness millennial energy in efforts to reimagine the Democratic Party in Jackson and beyond.

#”[P]eople sometimes don’t see that because there was a charismatic individual named Barack Obama who won the presidency in 2008 and 2012. He was obviously an extraordinary candidate, brilliant guy. But, behind that reality, over the last 10 years, Democrats have lost about 1,000 seats in state legislatures all across this country,” Sanders added.

A long-overdue discussion, in my book. This is, I think, the dynamic:

And this (a comment on the BuzzFeed story):

UPDATE And from the same source:

I wish Sanders or Our Revolution or whoever would get YouTubes plus transcripts up instantly; it’s always useful to know exactly what he said.

“The Political Landscape Is Not Even Close to Being What You Think” [Jerrry Taylor, Niskanen Center] (original). This is interesting, in that it’s a contrarian article that reinforces the conventional wisdom. For example, this: “Political landscaping exercises, while interesting and useful, are less important than economic fundamentals. That’s because voters have traditionally chosen presidents based (largely) not on ideological or policy criteria, but on how well the economy is perceived to be doing. The election forecasting models built by political scientists are premised on these considerations, along with other non-ideological matters like how long an incumbent party has been in power (politicians and political parties tend to wear out their welcome), the president’s approval rating (which is usually heavily affected by how the public feels about the economy), etc. Those models, which pay no direct attention to the ideological landscape, have far better track records at forecasting electoral outcomes (even in 2016) than forecasts that put a lot of weight on polling data and/or where the public stands on this issue or that. In fact, when these political science models are re-run for past elections, political scientists find no evidence that presidential nominees have ever paid a price (or received a bonus) for ideological extremism.”

“Warren: I’ll serve my full Senate term if reelected” [Politico]. “‘Yes, that’s my plan. I’m running for the United States Senate in 2018,’ Warren told reporters Thursday, when asked if she would commit to serving out her full term. ‘I am not running for president of the United States. That’s my plan.'” That’s still not a Sherman statement, since plans change, but it’s close enough to one that it will do Warren harm if she reneges.

2018 Midterms

“What Issues Should Democrats Ignore In 2018?” [FiveThirtyEight]. The young fogeys at FiveThirtyEight; the whole thing reminds me of Bertie Wooster’s “The Drones Club,” with the members throwing butter pats and wadded up bread pills at each other. IMNSHO, the whole question is irrelevant; the Democrats should settle on a solid left platform and stick to it for two or three Presidential cycles. Yeah, that would disemploy a lot of strategists and consultants. Which would be bad why?

“How to Handicap the Race for the Senate” [Charles Cook, Cook Political Report]. “With the obvious caveat that things can change between now and Nov. 6, it’s reasonably clear that Republicans in the House are going to have a tough election. The question is whether it will be bad, really bad, or really, really bad…. But the Senate outlook is far more complicated. On the one hand, there are those low poll numbers for Trump (39 percent approve, 56 percent disapprove in the March 26-April 1 Gallup Poll) and a heightened intensity among Democratic voters that are flashing “danger, danger, danger” for the GOP. And yet the politics of the states where senators are up for reelection make this Senate map the most lopsided in modern history, favoring Republicans. I keep talking about the Democratic tidal wave crashing up against the Republican seawall; in the Senate, it is a fair fight between the two.”

MN: “Tim Pawlenty makes it official: He’s running for governor again” [Star Tribune]. “Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty announced he is running for governor Thursday, attempting a restoration after eight years out of office that saw his DFL successor move the state in a more progressive direction at odds with Pawlenty’s tenure…. A comeback won’t be easy. Pawlenty’s long public record and most recent job as a bank lobbyist will give his opponents ammunition. And he must win over a Republican Party now led by President Donald Trump, who is fervently supported by the GOP base but was trashed by Pawlenty before the 2016 election as ‘unsound, uninformed, unhinged and unfit’ for office.” How can I vote for a candidate who opposes the Oxford Comma?

WI: “Can Paul Ryan Be Defeated? Maybe Not, but His Race Is ‘a Circus'” [New York Times]. “Janesville, a blue-collar community that was hit hard when the local General Motors plant shut down in 2009, has never been solid Ryan territory, and some in his hometown say that since he became speaker — and especially since President Trump took the White House — Mr. Ryan has lost his way…. But Mr. Ryan retains strong support elsewhere in the district, particularly in rural areas and counties like Waukesha, Walworth and Racine. His Republican backers insist that the speaker will be just fine, especially in the wake of the passage of the landmark tax overhaul, which he has been promoting during carefully controlled visits to businesses here and around the country…. The most recent Marquette Law School poll found that, statewide, 46 percent of voters approve of Mr. Ryan, while 39 percent disapprove and 15 percent say they have not heard enough about him. And his aides note that the local economy has bounced back.”

WI: The Supreme Court election just past:

MD: “Bernie’s Platform Could Win in Maryland’s Gov. Race, With Support From Clinton Voters” [In These Times]. “Bernie Sanders is not on Maryland’s gubernatorial ballot, but cornerstones of his 2016 platform will be. Ben Jealous, former NAACP president and Sanders loyalist, is running in the June 26 Democratic primary on a bold progressive agenda that includes free tuition at public universities, Medicare for all, an end to mass incarceration and a $15 minimum hourly wage. If he is successful, he will take on sitting Republican Gov. Larry Hogan in November.”

New Cold War

“Fuming Rachel Maddow Spends Entire Show Just Pointing Wildly At Picture Of Putin” [The Onion] (TF). I was wondering whether to put The Onion first, or WaPo first, and I finally decided on alphabetical order.

“Trump’s mind-boggling gift to America’s enemies” [Editorial Board, WaPo]. Liberal Democrats beating the war drums.

“Andrew McCabe’s GoFundMe Campaign Was Put Together by K Street PR Firm” [Law and Crime]. Too funny.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“The Teachers’ Strikes Have Exposed the GOP’s Achilles Heel” [New York Magazine]. Yes, it’s good to see the Democrat leadership rallying behind the teachers in Red States. Oh, wait…

Reminds me of the best moment of 2016:

Stats Watch

Employment Situation, March 2018: “In mixed results, March payroll growth of 103,000 is well below expectations but wage indications from average hourly earnings do show a little pressure as was expected” [Econoday]. “Judging by today’s results, the labor market wasn’t quite as hot as previously expected which turns down concern over wages even though those pressures did rise tangibly in March. On net, the March employment report will not likely turn up the heat on the Federal Reserve to increase its pace of rate tightenings.” And: “The data on truck hires gives a kind of glimpse into what would be expected from the economy overall at some point. Carriers are finding it tough to find enough workers to fill available jobs, so they begin instituting wage and benefit increases to lure workers off the sidelines and attract workers from other industries. The kinds of situations are begging to crop up in other industries as well, as areas like construction and manufacturing are experience similar challenges with qualified labor. As the overall labor market continues to tighten, it will be interesting to see if trucking is able to maintain this acceleration in hiring or they find themselves out of workers to lure into the business” [Freight Waves]. And: “Not for the first time, Amazon’s impact on the economy is clearly visible in the monthly jobs report” [MarketWatch]. “Breaking down the March nonfarm-payrolls report released Friday, truck transportation added 6,700 positions, courier and messenger jobs rose by 5,800, warehousing and storage added 2,500 jobs, and nonstore retail added 4,300 positions. On the flip side, the retail sector continues to hemorrhage positions — department stores slashed 7,900 jobs, warehouse clubs and supercenters cut 4,700 jobs, and clothing stores cut 7,300 jobs.” But: “The headline jobs number was disappointing, however the weakness was probably related to payback due to the nice weather in February. For the first three months of 2018, job growth has been solid” [Calculated Risk]. But: “March 2018 BLS Jobs Situation As Bad As Last Month Was Good” [Econintersect]. “The household and establishment surveys were not in sync. Compared to February’s employment situation which had no bad dynamics – in contrast it was hard to find any rays of sunshine in this report. However, like most other data analysis, there are good months and bad months – and the year to date employment growth is nearly the same as last year.”

Leading Indexes: “Most of the leading indicators are based on factors which are known to have significant backward revisions – and one cannot take any of their trends to the bank. The only indicators with minimal backward revision are ECRI and the Chemical Activity Barometer. Unfortunately, the Chemical Activity Barometer is targeted to the industrial sector of the economy – and at best seems to be a coincident indicator, not a leading indicator” [Econintersect]. “At this point, Econintersect continues to see NO particular dynamic at this time which will deliver noticeably better growth in the foreseeable future – and the majority of the indicators are forecasting a near average rate of growth which has been seen since the end of the Great Recession.”

ECRI: “Even with the decline in the rate, this index is indicating modest growth six months from today” [Econintersect].

Retail: “American auto makers are undertaking a historic shift in sales that is pushing their supply chains in different directions. Detroit’s Big Three are moving away from passenger cars and scaling up production of more-profitable sport-utility vehicles and pickup trucks as those vehicles claim a bigger share of the U.S. market. The WSJ’s Mike Colias and Christina Rogers report that small cars have fallen out of favor amid low gasoline prices and efficiency improvements in SUVs, and large sedans now are on the chopping block” [Wall Street Journal].

Shipping: “The Robots are Coming to the Warehouse Dock” [Logistics Management]. “To hear John Santagate tell it, in the not-too-distant future we’ll see warehouse dock workers wearing robotic exoskeleton suits and lifting 200-pound boxes in Ironman-esque fashion with no other assistance…. This is just one example of how the convergence of humans and robots could play out in the warehouse and distribution center (DC) of the future. Made by companies like Sarcos Robotics, which plans to introduce a powered industrial exoskeleton suit in 2019, these advanced products will help reduce the number of workplace injuries and accidents that cost U.S. employers more than $60 billion annually, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).”

The Bezzle: “Is venture capital ready for companies with no founders?” [TechCrunch]. “Unlike today’s startups, an ICO can be a completely decentralized way of founding and running an enterprise. A person or collective could set up an ICO and program it with all the parameters that govern the entity — what it will do, how it will operate and so on — and start a company that builds itself.” What could go wrong?

The Bezzle: “Amazon ignored FDA requests for more than a decade” [MarketWatch]. “If you recently bought snacks, candy, pet food or shelf-stable beverages from the online retailer Amazon.com, it may have come from a squat gray warehouse like the one that sits in western Lexington, Kentucky, not far from a local trailer park and golf course… The safety of these and other food products is overseen by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which inspects facilities where food is being made and stored… Food facilities legally have to be registered with the FDA so the regulator knows about them and can inspect them. But over the last decade, each time an FDA investigator has come for an inspection, Amazon’s Lexington warehouse has not been registered, according to reports obtained by MarketWatch in a public records request.” It’s like these guys are sovereign citizens or sumpin. Except instead of Cliven Bundy fighting the Bureau of Land Management over a patch of scrub, this sovereign citizen is the richest squillionaire in the world.

The Fed: “Yellen begins cashing in with first Wall Street speech” [MarketWatch]. Of course she does.

Five Horsemen: “Amazon weakens in overnight trading after Trump threatens action to help USPS” [Hat Tip, Jim Haygood]. (Haygood writes, Thursday evening: “Can’t update tomorrow, but here are Five Horsemen as of 7 pm tonight, along with the regular Mania-panic index based on today’s closing values”)

Five Horsemen Apr 5 2018 pm

NakedCap Mania-Panic Index: “The mania-panic index rose to 35 (worry) as new highs beat new lows for the first time since mid-March” [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 index Apr 5 2018

Health Care

“Why Americans are avoiding the doctor” [MarketWatch]. “Between a third and a half of people age 45 to 59 and a quarter of those 60+ went without needed health care in the past year due to its cost, according to a troubling new survey from the West Health Institute and NORC at the University of Chicago.” Holy moly:

Age 45 to 59 skipping health care

Specifically, the survey found these results for people age 45 to 59 (members of Generation X and boomers) as a result of health care costs:

  • 49% didn’t go to the doctor last year when they were sick or injured
  • 45% skipped a recommended medical test or treatment
  • 43% didn’t go to a dentist when they needed treatment
  • 40% went without a routine physical or other preventive health care
  • 30% didn’t fill a prescription or took less than the prescribed dose of medicine
Age 60+ skipping health care

The percentages were less dramatic for people 60 + (boomers aged 60 to 72 and Americans older than 72) — perhaps partly because those 65 and older have Medicare. But they are still concerning:

  • 30% didn’t go to a dentist last year when they needed treatment
  • 27% went without a routine physical or other preventive health care
  • 25% didn’t fill a prescription or took less than the prescribed dose of medicine
  • 25% skipped a recommended medical test or treatment
  • 24% didn’t go to the doctor when they were sick or injured

Thanks, Obama! And thanks to years of work by both parties for Medicare’s neoliberal infestation!


“Mississippi River flooding worse now than any time in past 500 years” [Nature]. “Floods on the mighty Mississippi River are larger and more frequent today than at any time in the past 500 years — in part, a new study suggests, because structures erected to control the river have increased the flood risk.” There is surely a catchy name for that sort of paradox.

Guillotine Watch

“Sex, Lies & Audiotapes: How New York’s Establishment Protected Revered Opera Maestro James Levine From Sex Abuse Claims” [Radar]. Ugly.

Class Warfare

“Being a fed in DC is not the same as the rest of the country” [Federal News Radio]. “Those of us who have worked in the D.C. area and in the field can attest to the profound differences between being a federal employee in D.C. and being a federal employee in Florida, or Ohio, or California, or just about anywhere else…. One area where there is significant difference is the type of jobs we see. In D.C., the grade levels are much higher, leading to higher pay. [T]he average pay of feds in D.C.* is more than $31,000 higher than the overall federal work force. It is more than $35,000 higher than feds in Florida and Georgia, and more than $39,000 than those in North Carolina. There is an obvious explanation why that is so — Washington, D.C. is the seat of government and OPM classification standards give greater credit to headquarters jobs that drive agency policy. That does not explain why non-headquarters jobs in the D.C. area tend to be one or two grade levels higher than their counterparts in the field. Competition for scarce talent is the most likely cause of that discrepancy…. Another difference is in supervisory ratios. Even though grade levels are much higher in D.C. than in the rest of the country, the number of supervisors per employee is almost twice the number in Ohio, Georgia, or any other state.”

“Manufacturing Jobs Are Still Pretty Good Jobs” [Bloomberg]. “it also seems fair to say that jobs in manufacturing tend to be real jobs, with a full work week and benefits, while much of the work created outside the sector over the past few decades is of a more tenuous nature. It’s hard to say how much of this is intrinsic to manufacturing work and how much is historical happenstance. Mishel’s report includes a section, for example, on the growing use by manufacturers of temporary-help firms and other staffing-services firms that pay less and offer fewer benefits than manufacturing firms do. 2 But for now, at least, manufacturing jobs remain better than the alternatives.” Interesting in that the author recants earlier views.

“50 Years after Memphis: Black Jobs Crisis Continues” [Labor Notes]. “Since 1979, labor productivity has risen by 64.2 percent but wages have risen only 10.1 percent. This gap reflects the aggressive attack by economic elites on all workers. It means that while Black workers today earn 82 cents for every dollar earned by white workers—an improvement since 1968—neither group has fared well: wages for Blacks rose by 0.6% per year; wages for whites by 0.2% per year. In 50 years, unemployment and incarceration rates have worsened for both Black and white workers, and the racial gap has widened. For 50 years, the Black unemployment rate has remained twice that of whites (see graph). The incarceration rate for Blacks has risen more rapidly than the rate for whites: in 1968, Blacks were 5.4 times more likely to be incarcerated compared to whites; by 2016, Blacks were 6.4 times more likely to be incarcerated.”

News of The Wired

“Have we reached peak English in the world?” [Guardian]. “For English, therefore, its current peak is likely to be as good as it will ever get, its glory as a world language lasting just a couple of centuries – almost a flash in the pan, not yet comparable with those forerunners Latin or Farsi. And on present form, its fall is likely to coincide with the latest rise of China, whose documented history has run for three millennia. Chinese, too, is great.”

“Studio Ghibli co-founder Isao Takahata dies at 82” [BBC]. What a shame. I loved Spritied Away, and I love trains, so (from Studio Ghibli but not directed by Takahata):

Spirited Away – Train Travel Scene [HD] from Alecsander Alves on Vimeo.

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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):

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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. Carey

    The UK have now denied Yulia Skripal’s cousin Victoria an entry via to visit. Why are the Skripals being held

    The plot sickens.

      1. Byron "Works-well-with-others" Dixon

        When a nation-state runs fresh out of real arguments it reboots the The Master and Margarita. [S.l.a.g.i.a.t.t.]

      2. jawbone

        A guess — the guinea pigs were in cages?

        But a better question is why were the pets not cared for? It is usual for pets to be cared for by some animal control or care groups or government agency if owners are otherwise indisposed.

        What’s with the heartless and unnecessarily cruel death by lack of water/food? Plus, I had a cat locked in a neighbor’s tool shed for over 3 weeks. She was a beautiful Maine Coon, but turned up matted and extremely malnourished. Vet gave her IV’s of saline over 3 days, and she almost immediately became livelier and much like her usual self. Getting muscle back took longer.

        So, who was the grinch In Salisbury? Or London? Or Porton Down?

        Somehow, I feel no one in charge was going to allow those pets to live as they might be tested for, oh, unusual stuff. Same for autopsy — oops, make that “necropsy.”

        Maybe that’s why Julia repeated several times that they, she and her father, were all OK. She doesn’t want to have a relapse.

        Also, I read an article, forgot where, that said there were two cats and one escaped from the Skripal residence…and not found?

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      As an English Major, I’d really like to question the idea that one can reasonably call this a plot. #worstfalseflagever is likely to be a future competition, but the sceptered isle gets the first round. The Murder Victims really need to be dead first. It’s like Chekov’s gun.

      1. dontknowitall

        So we have started Cold War 2.0 with Russia over a dead cat and a pair guinea pigs…

  2. foghorn longhorn

    So once again the dem. establishment is forming a circular firing squad to gutshoot the only dude that can put an end to the orange man.
    Way to go dumb asses.

    1. Elizabeth Burton

      When they aren’t co-opting his accomplishments in the primaries. I gather they are now taking credit for bring young people to the polls, and when I pointed out Bernie Sanders did that, I was (of course) immediately called a stupid fool.

      They’re so polite, those liberals.

      1. beth

        :>) E Burton: Yes, I would prefer to go back to the days of conservatives telling me I am for killing babies, rather than the haughty way liberals roll their eyes and treat me a poor stupid soul.

    2. Mark Gisleson

      More than ever this is about people refusing to understand things that jeopardize their paychecks. The jobs in this country that pay best seem to be those that have the least return for the 90%: financial services, consulting, lobbying, media, etc. The best paid people are either stealing from the rest of us or getting paid to lie about the stealing.

      1. shinola

        “The best paid people are either stealing from the rest of us or getting paid to lie about the stealing.”

        Good one Mark!

        I am sooo gonna steal that one;)

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Sanders should not just want to run as a Democrat, and court their votes, but to also really help them, or us all, by being honest with the betrayal.

      With that truth will come reconciliation.

      This is a good start:

      #”[P]eople sometimes don’t see that because there was a charismatic individual named Barack Obama who won the presidency in 2008 and 2012. He was obviously an extraordinary candidate, brilliant guy. But, behind that reality, over the last 10 years, Democrats have lost about 1,000 seats in state legislatures all across this country,” Sanders added.

      Forget the presidency. Stay here and hit back hard on the topic.

      “It’s Hillary, Obama, and their allies…all those fifteen years. Should not have mentioned winning in 2008 and 2012. That puts the focus on Obama. And you guys are thinking about him now. So, let’s talk about him. From one day, it was hope-less, no change. Until we wake up to that fact about saint Obama, who was first a savior…. Until then, I am not moving anywhere. I will delay my ascension until you’re all enlightened.”

      1. Adam Eran

        Obama not only didn’t prosecute the war crimes of Bush / Cheney, he promoted the torturers and prosecuted the whistleblowers. His response to what was arguably the largest theft in human history–the subprime / derivative meltdown made U.S. net worth decline 40% after Lehman’s bankruptcy –was to ignore it.

        There’s only one recovery from recession in the 10 since World War II in which the bottom 90% ended up worse off than before the recession. That’s the Obama recovery.

        With friends like Obama, who needs enemas?

        1. beth

          Yes, Obama didn’t even give a pardon to the only political prisoner possibly ever to be imprisoned for winning the election (for governor of Alabama). Karl Rove & leading Rs accused him of corruption for asking and receiving a $500,000 donation to the Education Fund. Many, many D & R attorney general spoke up for his innocence since taking donations to enhance education is not even a crime.

          A documentary giving the entire story is now on Netflicks & Amazon:

          Atticus v. The Architect: The Political Assassination of Don Siegelman

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          Yes, Sanders was very gentle in his critique. So given the extraordinary pushback he got, it’s easy to imagine the reaction to a more pointed critique.

          1. Tooearly

            It is indeed a clever strategy coming up with Obama followed by trump
            One almost imagines folks really are pulling levers

          2. dontknowitall

            What should be obvious by now is that if Sanders is going to be this mistreated over some mild criticism of Obama and Co. he should not hold back next time because clearly he has nothing to lose.

      2. John k

        But he was the savior.
        He saved bankers from pitchforks.
        He saved us from the pacifists that wanted to end the endless wars.
        He saved monopolies from our energetic anti trust boys.

        Wait… you thought the bankers gave him more money than they’d ever given anybody to save the working class? I can get you this really great deal on a bridge to Brooklyn…

    4. drumlin woodchuckles

      It goes to show why the DemParty should either be decontaminated or exterminated.

      Those Real Democrats who choose the decontamination route should begin by drawing up extensive lists of every DemParty member with Clinton connections or with Obama connections. That should be the starting basis of a Hate List of people to be purged from the party, defeated in every election, fundraising-boycotted ( boycotting any fundraising effort if anyone from the Clintobama List is discovered to be associated with that effort), etc.


      1. dcblogger

        65 million Americans, a clear majority, voted for her. We cannot enact single payer without their support. I think Bernie is going about this in the right way, but that is just me.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          I think you’re both right, but I also the think that the difficulty with brining out those who stay home is that you’ve got to deliver; it’s the only way to break through the cynicism. And the liberal Democrats are hell-bent on not doing that for them, just as much as the conservatives are.

          1. JBird

            Political parties are not set up to deliver anything except to the wealthy few.

            American parties, especially the Democratic Party, had active grassroots level, down to the individual neighborhoods and houses/apartments organization/leadership/leaders with a direct from that level to the topmost. Unlike the political grift machines and money vacuumers of today, the organizations often were problem solvers and communicated the locals needs and thoughts directly from top to bottom.

            The political machines stayed in power, not only by being corrupt, but also delivering the jobs, the infrastructure, the social services to their constituents, sometimes even to those not of the party, which kept them in power.

            Unlike in the Great Depression, where the local parties often ran soup kitchens, or Tammy Hall, which got jobs and housing, we have the entire political system demanding money and votes, and then feeding the crowd propaganda telling them what they need and how someday good things will happen, not the soup and jobs they need right now. Also someone like Clinton would not have been blindsided by losing those districts because her organization would have listened to the local leadership and not to the pollsters and advisors.

            So in the last national election, Clinton was saying job training, and Obamacare is the greatest, and the other pre-Trump Republican candidates tax cuts, and both were saying free trade is the magical cure all, the still somewhat functional local party leadership was saying jobs, jobs, jobs, housing, help; they got you are deplorable from both parties. Clinton just said it openly.

          2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

            Exactly, Lambert.

            The Whigs of the 1840s collapsed after failing to give concrete results to Americans frustrated by the Financial Depression of 1837.

            They campaigned and won on rhetoric that ultimately the Whig Party couldnt deliver.

            Shoulda went Free Soil…

            1. JBird

              Whigs also could not get a party wide agreement on slavery; so it split between the pro-slavery and anti-slavery factions. Couldn’t deliver the goods, nor decide on slavery.

      2. beth

        My preferred path is to ignore the Clinton contingent while continuing to plod forward on pertinent local issues. HRC is not worth my time & energy.

          1. Alex V

            True, but I think this a good approach to staying sane while perhaps enacting change you can actually see happen.

      3. Mo's Bike Shop

        Hate List of people to be purged from the party, defeated in every election, fundraising-boycotted

        Business as usual then. I do not disagree that the Clintons have been toxic as leaders.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Bussiness as usual? Me? The declintamination Hate List? “Bussiness as usual”?

          Well . . . okay . If you say so.

          You could support the exact opposite of what I suggest. You could support dubble-downing on the Clinton and the Obama. You could support keeping the DemParty committed to preserving Wall Street Privilege and Credentialized Meritocratic Snobbism forever and forever and forever. And a day.

          I suppose that would be bussiness unusual? Well alrighty then.

    5. WheresOurTeddy

      Bernie winning is worse to them than Trump winning or Hillary Losing. You can always run an astroturf #Resistance if you lose…

      Get ready for Kamala Harris to be shoved down your throat. Not only will Bernie supporters be called sexists this time, we’ll be called racists too. I care not.

      1. Geo

        We already got called racists for not supporting Hillary. I still don’t understand where that came from in the accusers minds but they seem convinced that Clinton was the choice of non-whites and therefore all opposing her were sexist/racist/homophobic gun-nuts and deplorable.

    6. mtnwoman

      Over at DNC Central, aka, DailyKos, they are calling Bernie Sanders a racist (that ol Clinton playbook fallback) because he only said Barack Obama was a brilliant, extraordinary candidate who won the presidency, and left out addressing him as “President Barack Obama”

      I kid you not.

    7. wilroncanada

      foghorn longhorn @ 2.22PM
      Don’t forget, though, he’s outside the ring. He’s an outsider, but without the DTs.

  3. Carolinian

    Don’t forget Obama won against McCain and Romney. It’s almost as though the Republicans wanted him to win–knowing that he wouldn’t rock the boat too hard.

    And Spirited Away was directed by Studio Ghibli co-founder Hayao Miyazaki. Takahata directed Grave of the Fireflies about survivors of the Tokyo firebomb attack in WW2 (a good film).

        1. Darius

          I saw it with my 10-year-old. I held it together until almost the end. Then I started sobbing uncontrollably. I put myself back together after about 10 minutes. She was more alarmed by my reaction than the movie.

      1. polecat

        Spirited Away is one of my favorites as well !
        …. and thanks to our good host Lambert for, some years back, for putting out a positive shout-out with re. to Paprika, which my daughter and I enjoy immensely !

        p.s. .. re. Antidote #2 .. nice combo of Brugmansia and Bird of Paradise ..
        … wish they were zoned for here, but alas …
        Guess I’ll just have to wait for some of that globull warmth to make it’s way north to my latitude .. ‘;]

        1. stefan

          One of the beauties of “Spirited Away” is that Japanese trains really do clatter just like that. Very nostalgic for the old days…

    1. g

      Grave of the Fireflies is possibly the most haunting movie I’ve ever seen. Just seeing posters for it coming up in news coverage about his death is enough to make my eyes well up. Takahata was a master of his craft and a deeply empathetic human being.

    2. neo-realist

      2009 may have been a tossup for the elites until McCain brought on Mensa Palin as a candidate. After Obama’s first four years, I believe they were confident enough in his not rocking the boat that they were willing to let a colorless Mormon like Romney, who looked and sounded like the corporate executive who would close factories and offices and outsource American jobs, take the fall in 2012.

  4. Big River Bandido

    How can I vote for a candidate who opposes the Oxford Comma?

    I am strong supporter of the Oxford Comma. And while I do not wish to seem as though I have an axe to grind — like Opus the Penguin, I use two spaces after a period. And I notice that this site always removes one of them. :) (Note: I do not reflexively believe this makes you Herman Helvetica.)

    1. temporal

      Actually, sad to say, changing multiple spaces to one space is an HTML feature. This because HTML’s parent SGML did it that way and GML, before it, pretty much did the same.

        1. Lunker Walleye

          If someone starts a conversation about the apostrophe, especially its misuse as possessive, I might actually get my husband to read NC. The comments here are great!

              1. wilroncanada

                Speaking of reducing doubles, I’m waiting for discussion of the coma, not to mention the MNemonic doubled dash.

          1. blennylips

            Funny that. Came up today in another thread:


            In a link, some Welshman goes on about just that abuse:

            In summary:

            Mr and Mrs Jones = The Joneses

            The house of Mr Jones = Mr Jones’(s) house

            The house of Mr and Mrs Jones = The Joneses’ house

            ‘Keeping up’ with the practices or possessions of Mr and Mrs Jones = Keeping up with the Joneses

            Yours, hopelessly lost in grammatical pedantry,

            W. Harrop‐Griffiths

            The Harrop‐Griffithses’ House

            London, UK

            Hunter JM. Electronic manuscript submission to the BJA: keeping abreast of the times, or keeping up with the Jones’. Br J Anaesth

            Google Scholar

    2. Mark Gisleson

      Two spaces are cool if you’re still using a typewriter that doesn’t have proportional spacing.

      1. witters

        The double space interval stops the sentences from piling up, and allows a tiny space for thought that might assess just how well they connect. ‘Tis a pity it appears not here. But still I go through the empty ritual.

      2. Mo's Bike Shop

        Zactly. If your webmaster allows you to do underlines, you should probably think about your life choices. We’d all rather not steal sheep.

    3. Terry Humphrey

      I believe that is traditional newspaper style to use only a single space past a period.

      1. HotFlash

        No. We always used two back at the paper (old proofreader here). Granted, we could always shave ’em a bit, or fill ’em out if required (Linotype ™), but two n’s was the std.

  5. JohnnySacks

    In defense of automakers and buyers abandoning sedans and coupes in favor of SUVs and pickup trucks, all those new crossovers are lumped under the SUV umbrella and most have tiny 4 cylinder motors which get damn good fuel economy. They’re definitely not the gas hog SUV’s of yesterday.

    And with regards to the Sanders speech – OUCH! Some painful truth in there, the source of many an argument in my household.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > They’re definitely not the gas hog SUV’s of yesterday.

      Good to know. The Third World is big on trucks; I wonder if that has something to do with it….

      1. madarka

        It’s the roads Lambert: potholes and irregular/unexpected speed-bumps do a number on sedans after a couple of years.

        1. polecat

          Just wait till gravel road-bedding becomes the ‘new in-thing’ again.
          I can’t imagin doing a ‘Starski an Hutch’ in gravel …
          while racing in a 3 or 4-banger !

          1. polecat

            Puts poor to the image of polecat speeding down country backroads, eluding the au-thor-i-ties while transporting his precious savoured hoochymead across county lines ..
            A Suzuki Sidekick just doesn’t cut it !

            1. polecat

              Actually .. I had in mind a Chevy Chevet, w/ a 3-cylinder Suzuki engine ..
              Anyone remember those … ??

              1. petal

                I sure do remember those. Witnessed the driver of one die in an accident when I was 13. The car crushed like a soda can. There’s a reason I drive a tank(’98 Forester) these days.

                1. polecat

                  I do remember opels, and datsuns (both sedans and trucks), which were better choices than, say, an … AMC pacer ..’uhg’ ly !!

                  I was a bugman, myself .. underneath the en-gine, setting valve clearances every 5,000 miles or so. Flew that beetle to Mars and back, and then some !

        2. beth

          I went smaller the last time I bought a car & didn’t factor in the really bad roads we have here.

      2. Left in Wisconsin

        While it’s true that the smaller SUV’s are much smaller than the big ones, they are much bigger than the cars those people in previous eras would have been buying. And the gas mileage isn’t all that great: up to 34/28 for a new Honda CRV, 30/23 for a Ford Escape.

        From a consumer standpoint, the big advantages of small SUV vs car are:
        1. Higher driving position – better visibility (as Shinola notes)
        2. Easier entry and exit, overall bigger on the inside (USicans are much larger than they used to be)
        3. Perceived safety (though not, as I recall, actually safer)

        From the car companies’ perspective, profit margins are much higher on SUVs and trucks than cars:

        In the subcompact, compact and midsize segments, average transaction prices for SUVs and crossovers in June ranged from 39 to 51 percent higher than sedans and hatchbacks of a corresponding size, an analysis of Kelley Blue Book data shows. Automakers have learned to build roomier vehicles — crossovers and SUVs — that retail for more but with minimal additional manufacturing cost, said Jack Nerad, executive market analyst for Kelley Blue Book.

        I think the margins on pickups are even higher.

      3. Mo's Bike Shop

        Ten year old courier trucks were a drug on the market when I was last looking for a banger. Tho, that’s about 20 years ago now.

    2. shinola

      I must admit that if/when my 10 yr old subcompact hatchback finally bites the dust, I will probably replace it with a compact SUV – mainly as a self defense measure. It’s rare anymore that I can pull into a space in a parking lot without having a pickup, SUV or minivan on each side.

      I just hate backing out and not being able to see anything on either side but the flanks of the tall vehicles until I’m half way out of the space. Even if I park so I can pull out forward, I’m still blind on each side until I’m @1/3rd of the way out.

      1. crittermom

        I know exactly what you mean!
        My 1987 Jeep Cherokee was an SUV when I purchased it new. Now I feel like a tiny bug on the road, with HUGE trucks (which never carry anything in the bed but dust) around me.
        Finding my car in a lot has become difficult as it’s now hidden by massive trucks & SUV’s. Pulling out is a nightmare for me, too.

        There are many of what I call ‘testosterone trucks’ on the road, as well, with 6-10″ lifts & massive tires.
        Fortunately, I can still just drop a gear & ‘sh*t & get’ outta their way if they’re hellbent on passing my ol’ vehicle–even if I’m already speeding. (Common misconception: old=slow).

    3. Jen

      My 2008 Honda CRV gets quite respectable mileage if I curb my leadfoot tendencies. I don’t live a sedan friendly life, and if one has to deal with mud season and frost heaves, ground clearance is your friend.

  6. L

    Apropos of the “Bernie is a Racist” meme. When I read pieces like the one in NYMag I remind myself that pundits like that are not reporting on what is true but what they want you to believe is true.

    Bernie has never been a racist, nor has he ever been a ruskie stooge but as far as the professional Democrats are concerned he is an enemy of the people.

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      Perhaps one needs to really be committed to Social Darwinism to understand what a Racist he really is.

      Not me, I see brilliant people everywhere.

  7. Nom de Plume

    About not going to an MD, this study may be statistically misleading. I receive good care but not from an MD. I haven’t been to one since 1998 and I am in my 70s. I go to a Doctor of Oriental Medicine for acupuncture once a month and, on the rare occasions that I need them, a tailor-made compound of Chinese herbs. This, being active, eating properly and (very important) meditation have kept me in excellent health without pharmaceuticals or expensive and unnecessary routine testing. If a system is broken, why should I give it the power of life and death over me? No thanks.

    As an aside, and as a small example of the efficacy of this approach, when a tooth broke and what was left of it required extraction, I took prescribed Chinese herbs to prevent infection. I had a local. There no swelling post-op and little pain. When I went back for a check-up after 5 days, the oral surgeon said he rarely saw such rapid healing even in people decades younger. The lesson to me: don’t screw up my immune system with drugs. Be kind to it and it will be kind to me.

    1. neo-realist

      About not going to an MD, this study may be statistically misleading. I receive good care but not from an MD. I haven’t been to one since 1998 and I am in my 70s. I go to a Doctor of Oriental Medicine for acupuncture once a month and, on the rare occasions that I need them, a tailor-made compound of Chinese herbs. This, being active, eating properly and (very important) meditation have kept me in excellent health without pharmaceuticals or expensive and unnecessary routine testing. If a system is broken, why should I give it the power of life and death over me? No thanks.

      I had an uncle who was a vegetarian and worked out. Did some of the herbal care as well. Never went to the doctor, or least didn’t do it regularly. When he started getting sick from the cancer that took his life, he continued to go to his nutritionist instead of a doctor. A fat lot of good that did him.

      Some people do the right things, but don’t always luck out on the disease dice roll when they avoid a flawed but mostly competent medical system.

  8. Adam1

    “…neither group has fared well: wages for Blacks rose by 0.6% per year; wages for whites by 0.2% per year. In 50 years, unemployment and incarceration rates have worsened for both Black and white workers, and the racial gap has widened.”

    Just shows how successful Democratic identity politics and Republican race bating have over the past 40 or so years. Black and white workers would be far better off if they were fighting over who gets to pull the guillotine trigger on the criminals who falsely profess to be working for each groups best interests (not).

  9. XXYY

    Bernie Sanders’ Revolution Needs Black Voters To Win. But Can He Talk To Them?


    “Bernie’s comments were tone-deaf and will not help him with communities of color, especially black folks,” said Joshua DuBois, a strategist who led Obama’s faith-based initiative. “On that hallowed day, our focus should’ve been on the transformative legacy of Dr. King and how we can come together to continue King’s fight against systemic racism and injustice — not attacking the legacy of the first black president, who fought against many of the same things Dr. King fought.”

    Apparently, certain people have awarded themselves the role of deciding what’s appropriate to say on MLK Day. I doubt if King would have been down with this.

    Firstly, I don’t think anyone in the country is doing more than Bernie to focus the national attention on systemic injustice. I daresay that the reason millions of people of every race and gender in the US are having conversations on the subject is because of Sanders’ relentless and tireless focus on the issue. He is in fact forcing us to ask “how we can come together to continue King’s fight against systemic racism and injustice.” Dubois and others should be figuring out how to leverage this and move it forward, not organizing a circular firing squad.

    Second, while the election of half-black, half-white Obama as president was undoubtedly a milestone for those who are tired of seeing all-white people in the White House, the guy was no friend to poor people of any race once in office. He energetically carried on the Reagan/Bush/Clinton/Bush neoliberal program of austerity at home and wars abroad. From what I can tell, MLK would have had angry words for someone who systematically disregarded his issues for 8 years. I thought Sanders actually went pretty easy on Obama, given the well known history.

    (It’s also worth noting that both Obama and Hillary were terrible politicians in the matter of party-building. Both these pols subscribe to the same belief: the one and only task of the party is to get them personally elected. The Democratic Party had few successes and lots of failures during Obama’s reign, losing the House, the Senate, and finally the presidency, as well as many state governorships and legislatures while Obama looked on. The party was further dismantled by Hillary beginning in 2015, who was bent on repurposing it to her own personal election machine. Again, I think Sanders was right on point here. )

    1. Yves Smith

      That Joshua DuBois is an appalling hack. Bernie got tons of applause at that talk, as Lambert recounted, including two standing ovations. DuBois is trying to 1. overwrite the record of how well Sanders did; 2. tell other blacks what to think about Sanders; 3. tell Dem money bags (as if any might fund Sanders) that he can’t win because he (presumably) can’t get the black vote.

      There is a special place in hell for traitors like that. Dante actually has one, someplace in his 8th circle, I believe.

      1. Sid Finster

        I would say that DuBois’ job is simply to protect the Team D Establishment at all costs.

      2. wilroncanada

        Re DuBois–agree wholeheartedly.
        I just happened to start reading the John Brunner book from 1972, The Sheep Look Up, and I quote–seems to apply both to MLK and to Sanders, in a way:
        “Yes. It must have been done to discredit Decimus. (killing him) …These stereotyped interchangeable plastic people with dollar signs in their eyes couldn’t bear to share their half-ruined planet with anyone who climbed out of his ordained groove. A black JD dropout was meant to die in a street brawl, or better yet in jail partway through a spell of ninety-nine. For him to be looked up to, like a doctor or a priest, by white as well as black–that turned their stomachs.”

      3. XXYY

        There is a special place in hell for traitors like that.

        I believe it’s adjacent to that other special place where women who didn’t vote for Hillary are destined to go.

    2. Mo's Bike Shop

      “faith-based initiative”

      As an Atheist/Extremo-Agnostic who appreciates every one else’s faith (maybe even has tickled the ivories), I hate that phrase.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        9/11 was a faith-based initiative.
        al Qaeda is a faith-based organization.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      The real DuBois is rolling over in his grave.

      Adding… At some point, Obama’s legacy has to be reckoned with. Naturally, the Democrat nomenklatura is, er, resisting this.

    4. Tooearly

      “not attacking the legacy of the first black president, who fought against many of the same things Dr. King fought FOR”
      There fixed that…

  10. Oregoncharles

    Warren, 2020: “That’s still not a Sherman statement, since plans change, but it’s close enough to one that it will do Warren harm if she reneges.”
    Maybe she knows the outcome is fixed. It’s been rigid since Clinton, with very few exceptions before that. 2 full terms, in alternation. It’s still the Republicans’ turn in 2020.

    Sorry about that. You break the pattern by breaking the model.

  11. Oregoncharles

    ” political scientists find no evidence that presidential nominees have ever paid a price (or received a bonus) for ideological extremism.””
    Yes, that’s the long-term problem: Americans do not vote on issues, but on personalities and the economy. As it happens. the media actively encourage that attitude. It’s almost as if everyone knows that votes don’t influence policy, as the Princeton study established. So why not treat it like a Prom Queen election? Or a football game.

    If we can somehow get people to vote on issues, the 2-Party will break immediately, as it’s been doing slowly. I would then be worried about a coup, but it’s worth a try. Unfortunately, not everybody reads NC.

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      Don’t put up prom queens for election? Do not support parties that do so?

      Imagine if a common sparrow had showed up on Hillary’s lectern? Whose fault would that be?

      1. JBird

        “The Political Landscape Is Not Even Close to Being What You Think” [Jerrry Taylor, Niskanen Center] (original). This is interesting, in that it’s a contrarian article that reinforces the conventional wisdom.

        Good article that makes some good points, but I think the writer underestimates the political, economic, social, and maybe religious aspects, never mind global warming and its aspects. I’m just a student, but I think that current political and economic studies focus too much on the past eighty years and assume that it is the way things are, and from those two constraints extrapolate the future.

    1. ArcadiaMommy

      It’s TuCson everyone! Not TuScon.

      Sticking up for the Old Pueblo here.

      Have fun you crazy kids.

  12. ewmayer

    Re. Shipping: “The Robots are Coming to the Warehouse Dock” [Logistics Management] — I think that one fits better under The Bezzle heading, since it’s some Disruptive Techno outfit touting its ‘this will change everything’ exoskeleton vaporware. Because dockworkers currently have no way to lift heavy objects aside from ganging up and chanting “a one, and a two, and a…” as they hoist things in unison, right? Like so many of these tech novelties, there will surely be niche applications where they will prove quite useful, but let’s just say I wouldn’t go short pallet and forklift futures just yet.

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      Same niche as the guys sitting in a robot truck doing 80 miles an hour in the slipstream of another robot truck. “If the red light goes on, do something, or you’re fired.”

      Grippers failed to engage. Crushed by package. Dope found in system.*

      *How much money can one make by pre-copyrighting corporate excuses?

  13. MaxFinger

    I was at the Jackson, MS event featuring Bernie. Loud cheers resonated with the crowd and a standing ovation topped the evening off.
    The mayor of Jackson, Chokwe Lumumba, gave a polished speech but was called out by Bernie for offering up the city to Amazon. Sanders reply was nicely articulated in calling out why should any city be offering tax concessions to any company as large as Amazon.

    1. mtnwoman

      MaxFinger… what was the racial makeup of the crowd featuring Bernie in MS?

      No proof whatsoever but I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the Dem Party is not encouraging attacks on Sanders to try and sideline his influence. During HRC’s campaign they resorted to calling him racist and misogynist — at least their supporters did. It’s still going on over at DailyKos. This just turned me into an Independent.

      1. MaxFinger

        The auditorium was packed. They had to change the venue after the 1st day of RSVP’s. My guess would be 60% AA – 40% white with quite a few young people in attendance. I was fortunate enough to sit with a young man from Jackson that gave me the inside scoop of the political happenings in the city. He was majoring in economics at Tougaloo College and had an amazing education in how neoliberalism doesn’t work for most. We chatted for over 2 hours.So glad to see him getting a good education. I also mentioned NC so hopefully he will become a follower.

  14. dcblogger

    “The 152-year-old organization has always been devoted to getting more Democrats elected, but its secondary mission has increasingly become the courting of wealth. As campaigns became more expensive with the advent of television, the DCCC began to alter its fundraising strategy from a single annual dinner to a year-round program with a full-time staff. In 1972, the Committee was used as a vehicle to funnel money to moderate Democrats from donors “opposing or cool” to George McGovern, as the Washington Post put it, but who didn’t want the donations to appear on their financial reports. These included BankPac (the American Bankers Association’s PAC) and the Mortgage Bankers PAC, among others.”

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Great information. The DCCC has been running with the same playbook for years, haven’t they?

      “The left can’t win!” they cry, stabbing them in the back (the operational definition of “unity,” given what happened with the DNC last year).

  15. Left in Wisconsin

    “Manufacturing Jobs Are Still Pretty Good Jobs” [Bloomberg]. “it also seems fair to say that jobs in manufacturing tend to be real jobs, with a full work week and benefits, while much of the work created outside the sector over the past few decades is of a more tenuous nature.

    This is where we’ve got to – it’s a pretty good job if you work a full work week and get (any?) benefits. Apparently nothing else is required. One thing I’ve noticed is that the people who call these “good jobs” have never worked them. This should be obvious but it’s not a good job unless it’s a good job. Otherwise it’s just a job with regular hours and benefits.

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      When your boss has zero idea what you actually do, or even why you keep doing it, it’s a bit discouraging. I say this as someone paid profligately well for this day and age.

  16. Craig H.

    Re: Levine

    They are still protecting him. That is arguably the top top job in the entire performing arts complex on the globe. He might have even have had the biggest contract. I read one story in the New York Times the day he wasn’t going to show up to work to conduct Magic Flute. Other than that, nothing.

  17. Tom Denman

    > “Fuming Rachel Maddow Spends Entire Show Just Pointing Wildly At Picture Of Putin” [The Onion]

    When the voice of America’s potemkin Left speaks, people listen.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I didn’t manage to get this tweet in:

      Leaving aside the issue of the quality of the data, assuming that the departures are unusually large:
      The chart shows that what liberal Democrats have done is make it more difficult for Trump to govern, by rallying the 10% against him, such that he’s short of the professional services they supply. (Whether that’s the equivalent of shooting your airline pilot because you don’t like the direction the plane is going is another question.) That hasn’t prevented the Trump administration from executing the destruction portions of its agenda, of course. It also hasn’t prevented Trump from acting where he has the power to act unilaterally, in trade, and in matters of war and peace.

  18. dcblogger

    Number of California teenagers pre-registered to vote reaches 100,000

    to my way of thinking the important indicators are number of new registrations, number of absentee ballot requests and turnout in primaries. In 2017 Ralph Northam received more votes in the Democratic primary than all the votes cast in the Republican primary combined, a clear indicator of what happened in November.

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