2:00PM Water Cooler 6/27/2018

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

“Jobs, auto freight in crosshairs as Trump ramps up tariff talk” [Freight Waves]. “‘While we understand that the administration is working to achieve a level playing field, tariffs are not the right approach,’ said a statement this morning from the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers. ‘Tariffs on autos and auto parts raise vehicle prices for all customers, limit consumer choice and invite retaliatory action by our trading partners. Automakers support reducing trade barriers across the board and achieving fairness through facilitating rather than inhibiting trade.’… NAFTA trade, which includes automotive, generates $6.5 billion in revenue for the trucking industry and supports 46,000 U.S. truck jobs, according to Bob Costello, chief economist of the American Trucking Associations.”

“Everett Eissenstat will leave his post at the White House next month, sparking more concern among free-traders who saw the former congressional trade counsel as a key bulwark against the hard-liners advocating for President Donald Trump to support tariffs and other trade restrictions” [Politico].



“Biden leads 2020 Dem field in new poll” [The Hill]. “Almost one-third of registered Democratic voters back former Vice President Joe Biden for the party’s 2020 presidential nomination, making him the front-runner in a new poll provided exclusively to The Hill. Biden is the clear leader in Harvard CAPS/Harris’s June poll with support from 32 percent of Democrats polled. Hillary Clinton, the party’s 2016 nominee, finished second with 18 percent of the vote, while her 2016 primary opponent, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), sits in third with 16 percent. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) was the only other candidate to poll in double digits, with 10 percent of those surveyed backing her.” • One poll. But the party decides. The part of me that enjoys Götterdämmerung would welcome a Biden run….

“Why Joseph Crowley’s Defeat Should Scare Joe Biden” [Peter Beinart, The Atlantic]. “But Ocasio-Cortez’s upset isn’t only a story of generational, ethnic, and gender succession. It’s also a story of ideological succession. And if I were former Vice President Joe Biden mulling a presidential bid in 2020, that would worry me a great deal.” • It really does seem like the only conceptual tools and mental categories liberal Democrats have come from identity politics. It’s like watching a journeyman carpenter try to fix a plumbing problem. When all you’ve got is a hammer…

Then again: ” I asked [Biden] whether this crisis in the democratic world makes him want to run for president in 2020. He said no” [WaPo]. • Perhaps Biden wants us to beg, and would reluctantly accept the nomination if it came his way….


“Democrats’ Competing Midterm Messages on the Economy” [RealClearPolitics]. “Some Democrats aren’t clamoring for massive government giveaways. Instead, they argue that the recent tax cuts have produced less than advertised by the Trump administration. They point out that wages are not rising as fast as essential household items such as food, gas and prescription drugs. ‘There’s a lot of economic insecurity below the surface when voters start looking at their monthly bills,’ said [the horrid] Celinda Lake, a leading Democratic pollster… This glass-half-full message is being used in swing districts where open opposition to President Trump is not necessarily a winner…. Right now, it’s unclear whether the winning formula will entail doubling down on the progressive message or embracing a center-left platform – or whether neither one of them will work.” • Which is a pretty amazing shift, given that the conventional wisdom mere days ago was that the “center-left” was the place to be…

PA: “The Two States of Pennsylvania” [RealClearPolitics]. “The two charts below track the last six years of switchers between the two major parties in the mostly suburban counties that surround Pennsylvania’s two major cities. The first chart shows the four counties that surround Pittsburgh. As can be seen, Republicans are winning a larger percentage of party switchers in these counties than in the overall state…. The second chart shows the four counties surrounding Philadelphia. In addition to generally trending below the state average, it is notable how far the Republicans have fallen in the last two years. In all four counties, Democrats are now winning the majority of party switchers…. Overall what these data suggest is that in the western part of the state, Trump and the Republican Party remain popular and former Democrats want to join their cause. In the eastern part of the state, it seems that the love affair with the Republican Party that peaked in 2016 is now over. In short, Trump’s base may well be shrinking: ‘the number of people who identified as Republican were about 2 percentage points smaller than in 2017.'”

“Crowley surprise tops huge night for left” [The Hill]. “Crowley’s loss is as stunning as then-House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s (R-Va.) primary defeat in 2014 — maybe more so, because while Cantor spent his fateful primary hobnobbing in Washington, Crowley had taken his challenge more seriously, actively campaigning for his own seat in a borough where he still runs the Democratic machine.” • Continuing the trend of never putting the name of a left candidate — even a victor! — in the headline…

“Crowley’s loss leaves gaping void for next generation of Democratic leaders” [WaPo]. • Best headline ever. But wait. Is there a better way to describe existing Democrat leadership than “gaping void”?

Realignment and Legitimacy

“See Public Records? Governments Are Making It Harder.” [Governing]. “Many records that would ordinarily be made public escape examination when the organization that maintains them is not a direct part of government. That is, the records have been transferred to a nonprofit or for-profit organization, both of which may not have to comply with freedom of information laws.” • One more reason public-private partnerships are an abomination…. .

* * *

“7th Circuit gives Trump temporary win on ‘sanctuary’ policy” [Politico]. “A federal appeals court on Tuesday temporarily narrowed the scope of a nationwide injunction against the Trump administration’s attempt to withhold grants from so-called sanctuary cities.” • Aren’t “sanctuary cities” really a modern-day equivalent of the theory of nullification? John C. Calhoun in his “Fort Hill Address”:

[CALHOUN:] The great and leading principle is, that the General Government emanated from the people of the several States, forming distinct political communities, and acting in their separate and sovereign capacity, and not from all of the people forming one aggregate political community; that the Constitution of the United States is, in fact, a compact, to which each State is a party, in the character already described; and that the several States, or parties, have a right to judge of its infractions; and in case of a deliberate, palpable, and dangerous exercise of power not delegated, they have the right, in the last resort, to use the language of the Virginia Resolutions, “to interpose for arresting the progress of the evil, and for maintaining, within their respective limits, the authorities, rights, and liberties appertaining to them.”

“DOJ says Congress must fix immigration after judge’s order” [Associated Press]. “U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw in San Diego, an appointee of President George W. Bush, issued a nationwide injunction on future family separations, unless the parent is deemed unfit or doesn’t want to be with the child. The judge’s order also requires the government to provide phone contact between parents and their children within 10 days. Trump had already signed an order ending family separations and said families would be detained together. But Sabraw’s order forces the administration to adhere to a timeline and quickly address families affected by the hardline policy embraced earlier this spring…. But it’s unclear how legislation might enable Attorney General Jeff Sessions to continue the zero-tolerance policy without separating families or placing children in jail-like settings. The Obama administration at one point tried housing families in special detention centers while immigration judges reviewed their cases. But after a federal judge ruled the arrangement violated a long-standing agreement barring kids from jail-like settings, even with their parents. The government then began releasing families into the U.S. pending notification of their next court date — a policy Sessions and Trump have derided as ‘catch and release.’… It’s not clear how border authorities will meet the latest deadline.”

“Opinion: If you want to start a business here, the U.S. should roll out the red carpet” [MarketWatch]. “Scholars of immigrant entrepreneurship theorize that immigrants have “intrinsic capabilities — risk propensity, high education, unique knowledge, or identity — that increases the likelihood of entrepreneurship compared to their host country counterparts,” according to a Kauffman Foundation review of immigration research. Immigrants are twice as likely to start a business as native-born Americans, for example. Forty-three percent of the 2017 Fortune 500 companies were founded or co-founded by a first- or second-generation immigrant, according to the Center for American Entrepreneurship. Those 216 companies generated $5.3 trillion of revenue and employed 12.1 million workers worldwide last year, according to the CAE.”

“House immigration bill will not include mandate on checking employees’ legal status” [McClatchy]. “An effort to mandate that every employer use a system to check that their employees are working in the country legally was rejected by House leaders Tuesday — a strong signal that those pushing immigration reform do not believe it has enough support to be passed as part of a comprehensive immigration bill. The failure of the e-verify plan — which was eagerly sought by conservatives wary of the bill — means the House will instead vote on a plan that still includes a path to citizenship for 1.8 million Dreamers, people brought to the country illegally as children.” • Can’t interfere with the supply of cheap labor… .

Stats Watch

Durable Goods Orders, May 2018: “Disruption tied to a fire at an auto supplier not only pulled down the previously released manufacturing component of the industrial production report but it also helped pull down durable goods orders” [Econoday] (cf. Labor notes). “[B]arely making the consensus range are core capital goods… Turning to tariff-exposed readings, orders for primary metals slipped… A very strong reading comes from total unfilled orders… This report is mixed and the metals results are hard to read, but there are many elements of strength and they point to a U.S. factory sector that is very solid going into what may prove a summer of trade disruptions.” And but: “[S]trange report as many groupings improved including defence aircraft. Still durable goods are up 10 % year-over-year which is nothing to sneeze at. This series has wide swings monthly so our primary metric is the unadjusted three month rolling average which declined” [Econintersect].

International Trade in Goods, May 2018: “Forget about tariffs and trade wars. Exports in May surged a convincing 2.1 percent to pull down the nation’s goods deficit” [Econoday]. “This is a very healthy report and it may offer a signpost of the nation’s trade performance going into a summer of cross-border discontent.”

Pending Home Sales Index, May 2018: “The resale market has been flat and may be about, despite the strength for new home sales, to turn lower” [Econoday]. “These results underscore recent home-price updates including yesterday’s Case-Shiller report that point to ebbing price appreciation for existing homes.” And: “The rolling averages remain in negative territory. The data is very noisy and must be averaged to make sense of the situation. There is no signs of a surge in home sales, and the long term trends continue to be generally downward” [Econintersect].

Retail Inventories [Advance], May 2018: “Retail inventories, trying to keep pace with rising strength in retail sales, rose” [Econoday].

Wholesale Inventories [Advance], May 2018: “Wholesale inventories rose 0.5 percent in May which is 2 tenths higher than Econoday’s consensus in what marks an upshift for a sector where underlying sales have been outpacing the inventory build” [Econoday]. “The result is positive both for the general economic outlook and also second-quarter GDP as well.”

Small Business Optimism: “Small Business Optimism Highest In Years” [Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond]. “Optimism about future performance among employer firms reached its highest level in several years according to results from the “2017 Small Business Credit Survey: Report on Employer Firms” released last week. The report focuses on small employer firms, or businesses that have between 1–499 full- or part-time employees. …. The report found the share of firms reporting profitability, revenue growth and employment growth all increased from the 2016 survey. For the coming year, a net 66 percent of firms anticipate revenue growth and a net 44 percent expect to hire new employees. More firms received all of the financing requested, and a significant portion did not apply for credit because they already had sufficient financing.”

Household Income: “May 2018 Median Household Income Upward Trend Continues” [Econintersect]. “New data from the monthly Current Population Survey (CPS) indicate that median annual household income was $61,858 for May 2018. Median household income in May of this year was higher than for any other month since January 2000 (series start), yet only 2.4 percent above the January 2000 estimate of $60,383 after adjusting for price changes… Income amounts in this report are before-tax money income and have been adjusted for inflation; income amounts are expressed in April 2018 dollars and have been seasonally adjusted, unless otherwise noted. The estimates in this report are based on the Current Population Survey (CPS), the monthly household survey that provides official estimates of the unemployment rate.”

Commodities: “Global oil markets could get significantly tighter soon. The U.S. is taking an effective “zero tolerance” line on future Iranian oil exports, saying all countries must cut off oil trade with the country by Nov. 4 or risk sanctions. The WSJ’s Ian Talley reports that’s a tougher timeline than many crude buyers had expected and already has players in crude supply chains, from banks to refiners, moving to shut off dealings. That could reverberate across world tanker fleets that have been recovering somewhat this year after coping with excess capacity” [Wall Street Journal].

Shipping: “The emerging role for drones in the supply chain” [Logistics Management]. “The emerging use case – the one gaining traction at least for PINC [a provider of yard management systems]– is not necessarily the application that drone enthusiasts first envisioned. While there are companies using or piloting the use of drones to track their trailers in a yard, inventory of new automobiles in a storage location or high value assets in remote sites, there are impediments to broad based adoption of drone technology in the yard. ‘The impediment is the regulatory concern around air space,’ [Matt Yearling, CEO of PINC] says. A second impediment is that the solution still requires not just the technology, but a certified pilot to oversee the drone. So, where is the action today? For PINC, ‘the traction that we’re seeing is using our drones inside the four walls of the warehouse for inventory control,’ Yearling says.” • Five (5) years after Jeff Bezos gave his “Octocopter” interview

Infrastructure: “Building a technology supply chain in Wisconsin is growing more expensive for the state. Incentives offered by Wisconsin and its municipalities to Taiwan’s Foxconn Technology Group since it announced a $10 billion megaplant there have gone up by nearly $1 billion, with programs such as a $134 million road improvement plan adding to the bill. …. [T]he ballooning costs underscore how expensive and unpredictable such big manufacturing projects can become for states and cities eager to attract new investments and jobs” [Wall Street Journal]. • And suicide netting doesn’t come cheap.

Five Horsemen: “All of the Fab Five are bouncing today but none are at new highs” [Hat Tip, Jim Haygood].

Five Horsemen June 26 2018

NakedCap Mania-Panic Index: “The mania-panic index rose to 43 (worry) after yesterday’s mild gain in the market” [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 June 25 2018

Neoliberal Epidemics

“Breast Cancer Epigenetics Study Reveals Potential Drug Targets” [Genetic Engineering and Biology News]. “Cell lineages that culminate in mammary gland development may also lead to breast cancer. Although these lineages, as well as the stem cells and progenitor cells they comprise, have been subjected to extensive study, the perturbations of these lineages that increase the risk of breast cancer have remained obscure, frustrating the search for chemoprevention drugs. Consequently, scientists based at the Princess Margaret Cancer Center in Toronto took a closer look at mammary cell lineages. These scientists now report that the proliferation of mammary gland stem cells in response to progesterone is promoted by epigenetic proteins…. This global overview of mammary gland cells revealed that in response to progesterone, progenitor cells—particularly luminal progenitor cells—upregulate many of the epigenetic regulatory proteins responsible for modifying the cells’ chromosomes.”

Class Warfare


“Supreme Court Deals Major Setback to Public Unions” [Governing]. “The 5-4 decision in the case from Illinois, Janus v. AFSCME, centered on whether government workers who don’t want to belong to the unions that represent them should still have to pay for services the unions provide, such as contract negotiations or arbitration. On Wednesday, the high court ruled that those so-called ‘agency’ or ‘fair-share’ fees violated the First Amendment.” • If a consequence of Janus is that unions have to stop funding the Democrat Party and start focusing on ***checks notes*** workplace organzing, is that so bad, really?

“JANUS v. AMERICAN FEDERATION OF STATE, COUNTY, AND MUNICIPAL EMPLOYEES, COUNCIL 31, ET AL.” (PDF) [Supreme Court of the United States (slip opinion)]. “[A]voiding “the risk of ‘free riders,’ ” Abood, supra, at 224, is not a compelling state interest. Free-rider “arguments . . . are generally insufficient to overcome First Amendment objections,” Knox, supra, at 311, and the statutory requirement that unions represent members and nonmembers alike does not justify different treatment. As is evident in non-agency-fee jurisdictions, unions are quite willing to represent nonmembers in the absence of agency fees. And their duty of fair representation is a necessary concomitant of the authority that a union seeks when it chooses to be the exclusive representative. In any event, States can avoid free riders through less restrictive means than the imposition of agency fees.” • I think First Amendment law is due for a re-think. First the money is speech nonsense, now this. If you don’t want to pay a union to represent you in collective bargaining, exercise your right to free speech by not working in a union shop! How hard is this? Also, agency relationships are all over the place. Since there’s a now apparently a Constitutional right to be a free rider in agency relationships — lawyers, sorry for the brutal reframing — how many of those relationships will be affected? Say, in finance?

* * *

“Access to Consumer Bankruptcy” (PDF) [Pamela Foohey, Emory Bankruptcy Developments Journal]. “Over the past decade, each year, about a million households filed bankruptcy. This figure initially may loom large. But when compared to the one-third of Americans who have fallen behind on debt payments, the one in seven Americans who face debt collection calls every year, and the hundreds of millions of Americans burdened with debt, the figure becomes more significant for its seemingly relative fewness. Financial distress undoubtedly leads people to seek bankruptcy protection, but the path to filing is more complicated than mere finances. Indeed, on a purely financial basis, far fewer households than one might estimate would benefit financially from bankruptcy actually file. As with people’s use of the legal system more generally, whether someone will file bankruptcy depends on a variety of factors often identified under the umbrella of “access to justice.'”

News of The Wired

“People with depression are more likely to say certain words” [Quartz].

‘Mapping the “Big Minutes”: Visualizing Sacred Harp’s Geographic Coalescence and Expansion, 1995–2014’ [Southern Spaces]. “After World War II, rural depopulation caused local singing networks to contract, while improved infrastructure facilitated travel. During this time, a publication known colloquially as the ‘Big Minutes’ grew out of the minutes pamphlets of a network of singings centered in Winston County, Alabama. Today the ‘Big Minutes’ are comprehensive: nearly all annual singings using the most common edition of The Sacred Harp disseminate their minutes through the volume…. These minutes for individual Sacred Harp singings are remarkable documents, providing a granular record of the musical taste and activities of each participant in this decentralized music culture.” • With handy map. I love this style that combines a timeline with a map. It would have been fun to use a tool like this to map, say, Occupy events:

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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: “A little flower garden at the entrance of a housing development on Crenshaw in Palos Verdes, California.” Similar theory to my front garden (photos in six weeks or so when the wildflowers, now sprouted, come in).

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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. Jim Haygood

      Criminal justice today is for the most part a system of pleas, not a system of trials.” — “Justice” Anthony Kennedy, 2012

      The NYT went on to note that 97 percent of federal cases and 94 percent of state cases are resolved by guilty pleas — nearly matching the 99 conviction rates in the Soviet Union and Maoist China.

      Complacent Kennedy presided over a radical remake of the criminal justice system — launched in the Reagan era under AG William French Smith — without a peep of protest.

      Farewell to a rubber-stamp, empty-robe nonentity. No one will even notice he’s gone.

        1. The Rev Kev

          Japanese police seem to have a long history of this sort of stuff. Fighter pilot Greg “Pappy” Boyington was a POW in Japan in WW2 and he saw how, for example, if a civilian jaywalked that a policeman would order him over. While the civilian was at attention, the policeman would strike him first with one fist, then the other and this was not unusual to see no matter what the age of the civilian.

    2. LarryB

      And of course, Mitch “Yertle” McConnell announced that they will move swiftly on a replacement. No waiting around for an election this time! Hypocritical bastard.

      1. Oregoncharles

        So will the Dems filibuster – or is it only Republicans who care enough to do that?

      2. Whoa Molly!

        Re: a hypocritical bastard

        I like ‘a ruthless bastard’ better.

        McConnell v Obama was like a football game played between the Green Bay Packers and a high school debating team.

        1. Skip Intro

          You’re not being fair to Obama… it was more like Globetrotter vs.Capitols… It is all about the show, their job is not to win.

        2. albrt

          Or more precisely, it was like a football game played between the Green Bay Packers and the Washington Generals, who were paid to lose.

  1. timotheus

    Ocasio-Cortez victory is “shocking”, “stunning” and “unprecedented” only if you have not been paying attention. Of course, she was the underdog, but the district is in terrible shape, Crowley has been MIA for a decade, and the grassroots army she had built up over years was impressive. Those so dumbfounded at the signs that people want big changes should get out more.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Hey, they were blindsided by the 2015-16 rise of Bernie Sanders. So, no surprise that Ocasio-Cortez’s victory would be hard for the powers-that-be to handle.

    2. zagonostra

      They have their moles out there, they know what’s going on, it’s just that they will try to quash a broader knowledge among the majority as to what’s going on.

      It’s similar to what happened during the OWS moment, when “news” outlets like NPR where reticent to provide any coverage, it was only when they where losing credibility that they condescend to airing one or two disparaging reports.It’s the same with Ocasio-Cortez they are going to downplay/spin/redirect/re-interpret its significance in the hopes that the decrepit political system can maintain its grip on power.

      1. RUKidding

        Agree. And the condescending sneering is already evident on the so-called “leftwing” Media (such as it exists). IOW, coming from the corporatist bought and paid for soft sell “Democratic” perspective.

    3. dcblogger

      I am THRILLED with her victory. I hope it will give voters in other districts the courage to vote for their dreams.

    4. clarky90

      In NZ, we have a (1) Labour (reformed neo-libs), (2) NZ First (Trumpian Populist) and (3) Greens, coalition Government. It is very popular. A big tent that “calls people in” (not Hollywood sociopaths who are endlessly “calling people out”).


      Our Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern and her partner Clarke Gayford, just had their first child! “NZ’s Prime Miniature”. (named, Neve). Our PM gave birth to Neve in the local public hospital and was attended to by a public health midwife. Clarke drove her to the hospital in their own car.


      IMO, the intelligent strategy is to form peoples’ coalitions against the the Neos-con/Neo-lib Coalition two different names for the many headed, Slavering Beast).

      NZ’s successful coalition government is the equivalent to a coalition of Donald Trump, Bernie Sanders and Jill Stein! You would be amazed at how much commonality you all have, if you stopped being distracted by the discord and smoke that the neo-con/neo-lib, Axis of Evil, keep lobbing your way. They want everybody to hate each other!

      Being able to listen to other people’s points of view, and WORKING with them (not eternally, nit picking). Everybody compromising and working towards the greater good.

      1. Oregoncharles

        The Greens are also governing Iceland in coalition with a conservative party. The first Green PM anywhere, another fairly young woman. Something about islands…

  2. shinola


    TV announcement in the backround – Supreme Court justice Kennedy has annnunced he is retiring…

    1. Arizona Slim

      And Slim’s evil mind is going into overdrive.

      I’m thinking back to an interview with Dwight Eisenhower. He was asked about mistakes he made during his presidency. He mentioned two — and they were both on the Supreme Court.

      More recently, there was David Souter, who GHWB nominated, hoping that he would be a reliable conservative. Oops. Didn’t happen.

      Ditto for John Paul Stevens. President Ford nominated him in 1975, and there was another conservative pick that turned out not to be so conservative.

      Perhaps a similar thing will happen again.

      1. Daryl

        I think at this point we have abandonded all pretense of appointing reasonable people to office.

      1. Sam Adams

        There’s always the opportunity to address the rightward swing and increase the numbers of Supremes then pack the Court by the Democrats when they regain the Congress….
        *gawfaw chuckle, laugh. Cough*

        1. ambrit

          Why not a non-lawyer?
          Common now, a certain former President was a ‘credentialed’ Constitutional Lawyer. He knew so much about it that he found it not much of a challenge to dismantle it.

          1. Summer

            And I’ll say non-lawyer and non-businessman for even more professional diversity in reprezentation.

          1. Arizona Slim

            ISTR reading that, before she became a judge, she was a very successful attorney. Probably the smartest of Fred Trump’s kids.

  3. rd

    Anthony Kennedy is retiring. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/06/27/justice-kennedy-retiring-opening-supreme-court-seat/952716001/

    Citizen’s United and today’s union dues decision are just the beginning. The bottom 80% have no idea what is coming over the next decade. They will be lucky if they can simply tread water by the time this Congress and Administration are done with them.

    I assume non-dues payers will not be covered under the union’s collective bargaining agreement, so they will not have seniority, can be the first to be terminated, and won’t have union support with any grievances. Also, they will likely need to bargain individually for pay and benefits. Of course, if they are really good, their employer may elect to pay them more and keep them in lieu of the unionized workers.

    1. PKMKII

      This is where this gets murky, because it’s not been entirely established whether or not the unions can exclude the non-dues paying members from collective bargaining. The NRLB says that unions should not discriminate against any labor in terms of collective bargaining representation, but because members-only unions and bargaining hasn’t been common there’s not really been a legal challenge to that policy. I highly suspect we’ll see some unions, maybe even some governments, taking that one to court.

      1. mrigney

        But what if the union support just isn’t very good? If you’re a free rider, couldn’t your paperwork be delayed just a little bit, say until a deadline passes? Couldn’t a lawyer look to settle instead of litigating your firing?

        The other question I haven’t seen addressed today is what this means for no-strike laws. Back when Janus first came up, there were some suggestions that if agency fees were protected free speech perhaps strikes would also be protected. If teachers (or cops and firefighters) can go on strike after all, things will get interesting fast.

      2. Shane

        I posed this question to the leadership of a union I organizes with last summer (see below).

        Their take was that if unions do that, employers will offer non-members exceptionally good short-term contracts to lure as many away as possible, break the union, and [familyblog] everyone the next time those contracts are up for renewal.

        Laws may vary, but my understanding is that most if not all require unions to represet at least 50% of the workers in the bargaining unit under contract. If this “collective bargaining for members only” were to succeed, that threshold would need to be removed. But, that would lower the bargaining power, and there’s a very real possibility employers would simply refuse to recognize the union, or exclude members from consideration for employment.

        The long and short of it: there are definitely a lot of questions that remain, but it’s basically all bad news for workers, at least for the foreseeable future.

  4. rd

    I don’t plan on “begging” any person over the age of 60 to run for the presidency or Senate. Biden had his chance in 2015-16 and passed. He would likely have won in 2016 and the debates with Sanders and then Trump would have been much more interesting and informative as we wouldn’t have had the constant baggage that came with Clinton as talking points. Substantive issues might have been discussed.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      What about the baggage that comes with Biden?

      -Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill
      -the casual racism
      -the Patriot Act
      -the student debt crisis
      -his advocacy on behalf of big finance

      Joe might not have as much baggage as HRC, but he doesn’t have her novelty appeal either. There isn’t a chance in hell Joe Biden would be responsible for the discussion of substantive issues.

  5. Detroit Dan

    I’m a fan of Peter Beinart. Here’s the closing paragraph from the referenced column by him:

    In retrospect, one of the most striking features of the 2016 primaries was that Hillary Clinton didn’t really attack Bernie Sanders for being a socialist. She rarely parried his attacks on her husband’s polices on crime and Wall Street. She spent more time trying to get to his left on gun control. For Clinton, for Crowley, and for Biden, the New Democratic ideology that they once proudly espoused has become a source of shame. And when you run for office ashamed of principles that animated much of your career, you’re vulnerable to people who aren’t.

    That’s what infuriated me about Hillary — that she tried to get to the left of Sanders with a straight face and righteous indignation.

  6. Mark Gisleson

    Quartz article on linguistic tells for depression seemed unable to distinguish between people who live alone and are antisocial as opposed to those who are clinically depressed.

    This is a scary road to go down. You can tell a lot from people’s language, but not as much as experts would like to think. Simply processing all the myriad colliquialisms would be an encyclopedic project, and I’m sure what passes for chat in some places would get you swatted as a suicide risk in others.

    This sounds like the kind of research social media companies would buy into. How long before they call the cops on you out of concern for your welfare? Will there be an app for this?

      1. Summer

        Eliminating contact if you can’t afford it.
        Access to even someone that pretends to care will have more fees in the future.

    1. Chris Jenkins

      There is unfortunately a lot of academic interest in this area as well. I find it to be a bit of an outlet for the much more extremely icky uses of natural language processing tech — surveillance and advertising. The usual narrative about mental illness (especially depression) is overwhelmingly medical (problem with brain chemistry) and individualistic.

      All we can think of are these quick technical interventions, instead of looking at the wider social factors in someone’s life that might well be contributing to their depression.

  7. paul

    “People with depression are more likely to say certain words”

    First we have a limited amount of words, so those assigned to unhappiness will be employed in such situations.

    Will producing a diet of words they may choose help them (cognitive therapy) or not?

    I would certainly say yes if you have a lot of patience.

    This looks like one of those dreadful data trawls,sponsored by those who need a lot of patients.

    1. Richard

      I had some problems with this article. For one thing, it represents depression mostly as an illness (must try to detect it, etc). As someone who’s worked through a great deal of depression in my life, I’ve chosen not to see it that way anymore. My depression is an honored part of me. It has great conversations with the parts of my personality that are better able to compensate and adapt to challenging or unpleasant situations. From those conversations wisdom can emerge, at least if I try hard enough.
      I remember reading once of a study that compared how depressive people gauged their potential impact on the world, versus how non-depressive people did. The depressed people were more likely to be realistic. More likely to take multiple factors into account. They were, at least in this one sense, seeing the world more clearly, not less.
      So, in response to the author of the Quartz article, I say that depressed people do not just signal our “disease” with words. We also use words to carefully describe situations that non-depressed people (or the non-depressed components of people?) glide over carelessly.
      Don’t run from depression, and definitely never feel ashamed of it. It is the internal counter-argument to the endless saleman job we’re all supposed to keep up every day until we die. I think my depression is definitely worth listening to and wholly respecting.

      1. boz

        Richard, thanks for sharing.

        Ignorance of the reality of mental health conditions (“living with” and not “beating/curing/etc”) leads to stigma, stigma leads to silence (in both directions), silence leads to suffering*.

        It is uplifting to hear you say “honoured part of me” and “do not be ashamed”. A great antidote to the hyper-health and disembodied paradigm of self that are pervasive in today’s society.

        *apologies for channeling Yoda – unintentional it was.

      2. paul

        For me, this is the whole problem with containerising distinctions with,that most terrible state,disorder.

        Witnessing these things in my life has made my eeyore nature look like a walk in the park,as it should do.

        When you watch a relation grow up and learn to identify real depression (which is no fucking joke) and then seeing them replicate is heartbreaking.

  8. fresno dan

    “House immigration bill will not include mandate on checking employees’ legal status” [McClatchy]. “An effort to mandate that every employer use a system to check that their employees are working in the country legally was rejected by House leaders Tuesday — a strong signal that those pushing immigration reform do not believe it has enough support to be passed as part of a comprehensive immigration bill. The failure of the e-verify plan — which was eagerly sought by conservatives wary of the bill — means the House will instead vote on a plan that still includes a path to citizenship for 1.8 million Dreamers, people brought to the country illegally as children.” • Can’t interfere with the supply of cheap labor… .
    Why can’t repubs just put it plainly: We promise that you can have your cake, eat it too, and you will lose weight…..

    REPUBS: We are gonna bitch and whine incessantly about those south of the border immigrants, but we will be d*mned to hell for eternity before we will do anything that ACTUALLY inhibits business hiring them to undercut wages.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      >REPUBS: We are gonna bitch and whine incessantly about those south of the border immigrants, but we will be d*mned to hell for eternity before we will do anything that ACTUALLY inhibits business hiring them to undercut wages.

      REPUBS DEMS: We are gonna bitch and whine incessantly about those south of the border immigrants mean Republicans, but we will be d*mned to hell for eternity before we will do anything that ACTUALLY inhibits business hiring them to undercut wages.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Undercut wages…

        Groceries will be more expensive if not undercut…

        OK for some, but for others, they will need government help. On the other hand, when wages are no longer being undercut, maybe more can afford to their grocery bills.

  9. paul

    They should extend their research to sentences:

    My income does not fiercely compete with my outgoings

    My useless overpriced education means nothing in the networked world

    My parents raised me and there is no hope of doing the same

  10. JTMcPhee

    Speaking of class warfare, here are some observations on the subject by America’s Favorite Uncle ™, Warren Buffett:

    In the USA a poor kid living in the worst part of town can steal a candy bar and receive far more punishment than the guy taking many millions of dollars.

    But, in the USA it IS of prime importance to preserve the ever-upward flow of power and wealth to the few deserving ruling masters and corporations at the top of the socio-economic hierarchy.

    “There’s class warfare, all right, Mr. (Warren) Buffett said, but it’s my class, the rich class, that’s making war, and we’re winning”

    “While the poor and middle class fight for us in Afghanistan, and while most Americans struggle to make ends meet, we mega-rich continue to get our extraordinary tax breaks,” Buffett wrote in a Sunday New York Times Op-ed.

    “There has been class warfare going on,” Buffett, 81, said in a Sept. 30 interview with Charlie Rose on PBS. It’s just that my class is winning. And my class isn’t just winning, I mean we’re killing them.”

    “My friends and I have been coddled long enough by a billionaire-friendly Congress.” – Billionaire Warren Buffett, in a New York Times op-ed on Aug. 15.

    “One reason companies are so profitable is that they’re paying employees less than they ever have as a share of GDP. And that, in turn, is one reason the economy is so weak: Those “wages” are other companies’ revenue. In short, our current system and philosophy is creating a country of a few million overlords and 300+ million serfs.”

    1. JamesG

      Uncle Warren owns Kirby Vacuums over-priced things sold door-to-door to poor fools.

      You may hate WalMart but their buyers protect consumers from the likes of Kirby.

  11. John k

    10-2yr now 0.30.
    30-10yr now 0,14.
    30-2yr now 0.44.
    Flattsville… buyers going long term.
    I’m imagining 1-handle on the 30, and 0 on the 10, sometime in the next recession.
    Politics… a recession in next year would sweep Bernie and a progressive landslide into office, and with power like fdr. Course, o bomber had that, too, but he abdicated the day after the swearing in.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Until mid-morning, stocks were going strong. Then President Twitler announced, through his economic adviser Larry Kuklow, that he’s “not retreating on China.” Stocks wept.

      Chopping down the trade deficit with a bloody ax means global depression. Treasuries are the place to hide when stuff goes south. They did just fine during 1929-1933, rewarding coupon clippers not only with a 3 percent yield, but also with a monster 30% gain in purchasing power as prices crumbled to dust.

      Meanwhile crude oil ratchets higher, as the US launches another insane windmill tilt against demon Iran. Careful observers will note a resemblance to 2008, when oil cranked on to $147 a barrel in July 2008, nine months after stocks’ crack-up had begun in October 2007.

      One could create a new version of the misery index by subtracting the annual percentage change in crude oil from the annual percentage change of the S&P 500. Falling stocks + rising energy price = MISERY.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        You have a choice between:

        Choice 1 misery: when you surrender or stop resisting. Can’t we just all get along?

        Choice 2 misery: when you persist, addressing what you believe needs to be addressed.

        By comparing the two, perhaps you can make a decision.

        Maybe it’s choice number 1, choice number 2, or some other choice (the Siddhartha choice – life is full of misery).

        1. JBird

          An ever greater percentage of Americans are economically fracked no matter what they do; an ever greater percentage of Americans are realizing that it’s not their fault that they are poor,
          and that they have nothing but failure because the whole darn system is rigged. As Janis Joplin sang “Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose.”

          There are tens of millions of well educated Americans, and tens of millions more with guns, and tens of millions more just lost, but all with nothing left to lose.

      2. False Solace

        Odd. A smaller trade deficit means the federal government doesn’t have to spend as much to keep the economy from contracting or sliding deeper into debt. Meaning the federal budget deficit might decrease! One would think deficit hawks should be in favor of that. Kind of a head scratcher, but I guess I shouldn’t expect logical consistency from people who don’t “believe in” basic accounting.

          1. todde

            there was an economic meltdown that might have caused an aberration regarding the data.

            might have artificially increased the demand for gov’t bond while lowering demand for consumer goods.

            trade deficits matter…

          2. José

            During the 2008 recession the current account balance improved (less income means fewer imports) and the budget deficit soared (a result of lower tax receipts and higher automatic expenditure on unemployment benefits, food stamps etc.). That of course meant that – by both accounting necessity and behavioral logic – the private sector surplus soared even more than the budget deficit (households and firms were spending much less and thus net “saving” much more).

            See here for the private sector data: https://fred.stlouisfed.org/series/W994RC1Q027SBEA

  12. Shane

    If a consequence of Janus is that unions have to stop funding the Democrat Party and start focusing on ***checks notes*** workplace organzing, is that so bad, really?

    These two issues are entirely separate. After organizing on the Bernie campaign, I joined the Maine State Employees Association for a six-week project to try and flip as many non-members as possible in anticipation of this ruling. There are a few points worth making:

    Unions are legally required to separate the funds they use for political contributions from the funds generated by a) the now defunct “fair share” non-member fees and the b) regular membership dues. This includes accounting for time spent for all activities of union staff, with any political activity or lobbying which is not specifically with respect to passing legislation that funds the negotiated contracts taken only from the “political” fund.

    Unions are also legally required to represent all workers in grievance proceedings who are under their negotiated contract, regardless of whether or not they are dues-paying members.

    As Scalia notes, fair share fees average roughly 78% of full membership dues, so on the one hand, if you have a problem with the way your union is operating, the additional cost to join to have a vote in your union’s operations is minimal. On the other hand, giving free-riders the ability to completely opt out* of paying their fair share fees covering contact negotiation and grievance representation will significantly reduce the budgets for unions’ legally required basic operations. This means the state will be able to abuse workers much more easily AND that contracts will very likely not be as strong as they would have otherwise, again since unions will not be able to devote the same resources to either as they were before. With lower overall wages and benefits, this will, as you say, reduce unions’ ability to influence electoral politics, but only because their membership will have less disposable income to put into that (again, legally separate) fund. I’m sure that’s not the result you thought you were cheering.

    * It’s actually incorrect to assert that they will need to “opt out” of paying their fair share fees. One part of the decision that is being underreported is that non-members will now need to positively assert their acceptance of any fees being taken out, which virtually none will. (I have not had enough time to dive into it further, but my first glance reading indicates even union members may have to regularly reaffirm their membership in order for fees and dues to be withdrawn — rather than maintaining membership indefinitely unless making known an intention to quit.)

    1. Kurtismayfield

      Speaking from prior experience.. the union that I am in already has everyone opt in every year, including the people who only pay the agency fee. So I don’t know how that will be a big deal.

  13. Oregoncharles

    ““Biden leads 2020 Dem field in new poll” ”
    Tends to confirm my theory that the Dem voters are the problem, just as much as the DNC. But it’s early days yet.

  14. Oregoncharles

    “Aren’t “sanctuary cities” really a modern-day equivalent of the theory of nullification? ”

    No. “Sanctuary” is usually just a refusal to enforce the policy themselves, which they aren’t required to do. It isn’t putting local police up against Federal ones; that would be nullification.

    In any case, nullification in various forms goes on all the time; one’s position on it generally just depends on what is being nullified. At the moment, the cannabis laws are the best example; or Oregon’s death with dignity law. In the case of cannabis, the states are gradually forcing the federal government’s hand.

    It’s a dialectic.

  15. Jim Haygood

    Update on Elon’s Ponzi from @skabooshka

    This is a manual line. Cars will be hand-built on the conveyor, which you can see in the right side of the tent. At the beginning of the line, a FORKLIFT (!) loads the frame onto the conveyor. This is the stone age of auto manufacturing.

    Where do the forklifted frames come from? Each needs to travel from the paint facility area. That’s 1300+ meters crowded w/ garbage, defective car parts, discarded tooling, crates. The chaos is why forklifts at Tesla have caused worker injuries that have even led to amputation.

    On the left side of the factory: sub-assembly, kitting, and material storage. And lots and lots of cardboard boxes. Let’s be clear. This assembly line is still being configured, cannot produce anything but test vehicles, and is limited to making only a token number of vehicles.

    But the end of quarter is only hours away. What’s Elon gonna do? Keep blowing smoke until the SEC or some other responsible adult shuts him down, most likely. Lock him up with Elizabeth Holmes — those crazy eyes of hers would be scarier punishment than solitary.

    1. ewmayer

      “What’s Elon gonna do?”

      Why, extend his disruptive thought-leader car-building success to pickup trucks, naturally. Because having long ago mastered the efficient building of high-quality cars in high volume and for a profit, it’s high time to start a brand-new product line!

      Classic Musk: “pay no attention to the failed product I massively overpromised on since its inception … look over here! New! Shiny! Entirely in my mind, but don’t let that stop you from bidding up the share price!”

  16. Summer

    Re: Scholars of immigrant entrepreneurship theorize that immigrants have “intrinsic capabilities — risk propensity, high education, unique knowledge, or identity — that increases the likelihood of entrepreneurship compared to their host country counterparts,” according to a Kauffman Foundation review of immigration research…”

    I always thought it was more because 1st generation or so of immigrants spend and save differently than host country counterparts. They start out with a different relationship to consumer culture.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I have high hope that if, for example, Denmark allows a few million Americans a year into their country, the same Americans will become more entrepreneurial in the state of Denmark, or Australia (to use another example).

      Perhaps if everyone moves to the next neighboring country, the whole world can become really entrepreneurial (because everyone becomes an immigrant).

      1. Summer

        Yes, anywhere that has hyper-consumers is good for entrepreneurs. (Except over time when hyper consumption meets high cost of living for necessities like housing and low wages).
        Ideas, money, education…you don’t have a business until you have customers.

    2. False Solace

      I’d also suggest it’s because new immigrants don’t have the cultural and language familiarity to easily slot into a formal workplace, and may lack the social network and verifiable credentials required to easily find a job placement. In addition to that, recent immigrants from the same country/language seem to form networks of contacts that make it easier to start up similar kinds of businesses. For example there’s an entire industry built around Chinese-style family restaurants down to the little sauce packets they add to your order.

    3. jrs

      i thought it was because they have fewer job opportunities. Entrepreneurship being what you do when you can’t find work, or work worth the bother. So you sell fruit on the street or open a food truck … and you are entrepreneur.

  17. UserFriendly

    “Biden leads 2020 Dem field in new poll” [The Hill]. “Almost one-third of registered Democratic voters back former Vice President Joe Biden for the party’s 2020 presidential nomination, making him the front-runner in a new poll provided exclusively to The Hill. Biden is the clear leader in Harvard CAPS/Harris’s June poll with support from 32 percent of Democrats polled. Hillary Clinton, the party’s 2016 nominee, finished second with 18 percent of the vote, while her 2016 primary opponent, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), sits in third with 16 percent. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) was the only other candidate to poll in double digits, with 10 percent of those surveyed backing her.”

    Emphasis mine. The level of dishonesty in this poll and headline is astounding. First off I seriously doubt they polled registered democrats, largely because many states don’t even allow people to register with one party or the other. They polled self identified democrats which is somewhere around 20% of the most brand loyal population. They are not the only ones who vote in democratic primaries. Even with NY’s insane 6 month party switch deadline exit polls from the democratic 2016 primary showed 16% self identified as independent. States with open primaries like TX, MI, and WI had 20-30% of voters self identify as independents in exit polls. Ignoring approximately 1/5th of the people who will be voting, most of whom will be for Sanders, is a great way to skew your poll towards the neoliberal center just like you want.

    1. JohnnyGL

      Hopefully, the establishment can fool itself into thinking Biden’s their man and they (because they’re Democrats) quietly attempt to ‘clear the field’ for Biden.

      A one vs. one race of Bernie vs. Biden isn’t going to go well for the establishment.

      Little known fact in the beltway….Biden’s a terrible campaigner and isn’t so likeable and has all the issues listed by NTG….https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2018/06/200pm-water-cooler-6-27-2018.html#comment-2988574

      Voters see the massive crowds gather for Bernie and it gets infectious very quickly.

  18. fresno dan

    So HICAP (health insurance counseling and advocacy program) training was about the new questions we are suppose to ask beneficiaries when they come in for help with their medicare/medi-cal.
    There are now questions about their sexual orientation and if that are “trans” (i.e., if they have undergone sex re-assignment surgery). Apparently, CA just passed some law for collection of such information. Like all such data collection, it is for the purpose “in order to understand, compare, report, and apply that data to the enhancement and improvement of public services.”

    Whoo boy! I thought there was gonna be a revolt. Employees and volunteers are not liking have to ask people about their sexual orientation or birth sex.
    These are old people, and Fresno, Ca has a lot more in common with Oklahoma than San Francisco.
    I don’t think it is all that difficult to simply state that the state of Ca requires that we ask these questions (and note that people don’t have to answer). But it often turns out that I spend more time collecting and entering this information than actually listening to and helping the people who come in for help.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “Crowley’s loss leaves gaping void for next generation of Democratic leaders”

    So I was reading how Nancy Pelosi, 78, Steny H. Hoyer, 79 and James E. Clyburn, 77 have a death grip on the leadership of the Democrat party and that one by one, other younger leaders are deciding that it wasn’t worth trying to wait out them out to have a go at leadership themselves. Checking back, they were all born when not only was Franklin D Roosevelt was President but that he had a few years more to go. Things may have changed a bit since then.
    For those curious, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez was born when George H. W. Bush was President.

    1. Richard

      This is important. And depressing if true. AOC removing the anti-war “peace economy” section from her online platform. Please tell me she didn’t do this.

  20. The Rev Kev

    “See Public Records? Governments Are Making It Harder.”

    I like the way they keep stuff secret from the public here in Australian States. We have a system of access to public documents but if they have been considered by the Cabinet, then they can be kept secret. So what has happened in the past is that documents that the bureaucracy did not want the public to see were loaded aboard a plane and flown to a regional town where the Cabinet happen to be at. They were then put on a trolley that was taken around the Cabinet’s table. The beauty of this? The Cabinet didn’t have to be even there at the time but it could be claimed that it was taken around the table. Now that’s how you do it.

  21. fresno dan

    So, in 40 years of grocery shopping, I always open the egg carton to check for cracked eggs…..
    NEVER, EVER ONCE a cracked egg….
    Today, I didn’t look…..and the check out clerk opens the egg carton….and there is a cracked egg…..
    there were YELLOW raspberries at the grocery store…..NOW, I am not a fruitist….(a person who discriminates against fruits based on the color of their…?skin? – but why do we need yellow raspberrys)???

    1. Stillfeelinthebern

      Yellow raspberries are sweeter and very delicious. We’ve had bushes for years. They are our favorites. When they are a bit pink, they are perfect. I’ve never seen them anywhere except in our garden which was planted by my parents. I believe they got them from my uncle, probably 30 years ago.

  22. skippy

    Heads up.

    Can’t get NC on Firefox in Oz for over 24hr, resorted to using Chrome out of desperation.


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