2:00PM Water Cooler 7/10/2018

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Readers, I got a late start writing up my nannies post, so I’ll be back in a couple hours or so with a more complete version. –lambert UPDATE 5:30PM I hate to run an errand, so this took longer than I thought. But it’s good for you guys out in California! I regret only that I had no time to skewer that loathesome showboat, Elon Musk. Perhaps tomorrow!


“As Trade Tensions Grow, ‘Reshoring’ of U.S. Supply Chains Sputters” [Wall Street Journal]. “U.S. manufacturers that have moved production to low-cost regions overseas aren’t bringing that factory work back to the country, according to a new report from business consultancy A.T. Kearney. The report suggests that returning industrial production to the U.S., a Trump administration goal helping drive its aggressive trade policies, will remain tough as manufacturers adjust their supply chains to a new trading landscape. U.S. manufactured-goods imports from the top offshoring countries grew faster than American manufacturing output in eight of the last 10 years… According to the monthly Global Port Tracker report, published Monday by the National Retail Federation and Hackett Associates, retail imports at the nation’s top ports are expected to reach record levels this month. In June, imports at the nation’s top ports rose an estimated 6.8% from the same month last year to 1.83 million 20-foot equivalent units, a standard measure for container cargo, according to the report. Despite the Trump administration’s new tariffs on imports—intended to reduce trade deficits and bring production back to the U.S.—experts say low-skilled, labor-intensive manufacturing operations are likely to remain in countries where labor costs are low, such as China, India, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Bangladesh and others.” • Dear Lord. After a few months?! I’m sure some of these countries did exactly what these experts said not to do: They protected their domestic industries while building up their export capabilities. Why shouldn’t we?

“Switzerland Challenges US Tariffs at WTO” [Industry Week]. “Switzerland has joined a string of countries launching challenges to Washington’s new steel and aluminum tariffs at the World Trade Organization, Bern said Tuesday. The Swiss economic affairs ministry said it had formally asked the U.S. for ‘consultations’ over tariffs of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminum. Consultations constitute the first step in a full-blown legal challenge before the global trade body.”

“USA unlikely to permit airframers to support Iran-owned aircraft” [FlightGlobal]. “A top US official has made clear that the US government is unlikely to issue any licenses that would allow companies like Airbus and ATR to continue supporting aircraft in service with Iranian airlines. The official likewise says the US government is unlikely to approve a new request by ATR to sell more turboprops to Iranian carriers. Those companies recently delivered aircraft to Iran Air, but their ability to support the aircraft remains uncertain due to the US government’s recent harder stance toward Iran… Aircraft manufacturers have to “obtain licenses from us” to fully support aircraft delivered to Iranian airlines, US Department of Treasury assistant secretary of terrorist financing Marshall Billingslea told FlightGlobal on 9 July.”



“Fetishizing ‘Identity Politics’ Could Cost Democrats in 2020” [The Intercept]. “Nonwhite and/or female candidates are praised for advancing “identity politics” if they win — regardless of how they campaigned. And efforts to include white voters in one’s coalition are blamed for faltering campaigns — regardless of a candidate’s more substantive failures. If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. And with a belief that demographics hold the key to unlocking a Democratic victory, Democrats stand poised to ignore the most important lesson of 2016: People turn out for material change.” • Liberals, IMNSHO, are so deeply committed to their demographic vision of the “coalition of the ascendant” that they literally, as the kids say, cannot perceive or think except in categories supported by that narrative. And speaking of material change–

“Four More Years” [Thomas Frank, Harperhttps://harpers.org/archive/2018/04/four-more-years-2/2/s]. From April, still germane, though somehow I missed it. Use the structure of the URL in your browser bar to move through the article. Frank: “Still, there was something else about the late-Nineties boom, something real, something that accounted for Clinton’s popularity: wages for ordinary workers actually rose during those years. Unemployment was so low for so long during the Clinton era that employers briefly found themselves competing for workers rather than dismissing their entreaties. Indeed, the late Nineties were the only sustained period since the early Seventies when wages for ordinary workers went up in real terms. Hence the flavor of universal prosperity that still seems to envelop the Clinton boom in the public mind. No, the boom didn’t last. And no, it wasn’t really Clinton’s doing.” • Of course, Trump might ace himself out in a trade war; even though his own districts might be willing to “take one for the team,” I doubt the whole country will. But as Frank urges, if Trump manages to deliver — as Obama did not — rising wages for most American workers, he’ll be in a far stronger position, both in 2018 and 2020, than the political class imagines. (They themselves have always been comfortable, so they won’t notice a change.)

“Say Hello to Full Employment” [Annie Lowry, The Atlantic]. “Full employment — that magical economic state, in which everyone who wants work has it, and at a good wage too — finally seems to be near. In much of Iowa, it already is. Out of every 100 people who want a job, 98 or 99 have one. The rate of wage growth has doubled of late, and businesses are scrambling to find workers… Around the country, and especially in central Iowa, the low unemployment rate has slowly but surely tipped the balance of power away from employers and towards workers.” • So it will be interesting to see how the Iowa caucuses work out…

“Watch: When Bernie Sanders Endorsed Jesse Jackson for President” [The Nation]. “Only a few prominent, white, progressive elected officials supported Jesse when it counted. The two I remember most risked their own political career to help Jackson—Jim Hightower, then the Texas agricultural commissioner, and Bernie Sanders, then the mayor of Burlington, Vermont. Jim and Bernie took the risk and, in Jesse’s eloquent phrase, ‘stepped across the color line,’ much to their credit. That moral courage should not be left out of the history books.”


“Is Ocasio-Cortez a Progressive Paladin or Partisan Poison?” [The American Conservative]. “Perhaps most profoundly, Ocasio-Cortez has called for open borders, or, as she puts it, “abolish ICE”—that is, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the agency charged with protecting the border. (Some might wish to argue that one could abolish ICE while still somehow protecting the border, but that doesn’t seem to be an argument that anyone on the left is trying to make.)…. Once upon a time, democratic socialists believed in border security; after all, it’s hard enough to build socialism in one country, let alone trying to build it for the whole world. In fact, as recently as 2015, Bernie Sanders defended not only border security, but also national sovereignty. Asked about expanded immigration, Sanders flipped the question into a critique of open-borders libertarianism: ‘That’s a Koch brothers proposal…which says essentially there is no United States.'” • Er…

Damn. What’s that high-pitched warbling sound?


“K Street staffs up for a Democratic takeover” [Politico]. “Now there are signs that Democrats are back in demand. Companies and trade groups are trying to hire congressional staffers with ties to influential House Democrats four months ahead of the midterm elections, in which Democrats are expected to pick up seats and potentially retake control of the House. Lobbyists are helping their clients meet with the Democrats who would become committee chairs if the party does win back the chamber. And trade groups are talking to members about what to expect from a Democratic takeover. ‘Clients are cautiously beginning to look and say, ‘Do we need to do more with people who have House Democratic expertise?” said Steve Elmendorf, a prominent Democratic lobbyist and fundraiser who once worked in House leadership.” • Ka-ching…

“‘Educator spring’ spawns wave of teacher candidates” [Poltico]. “Angry educators are flooding down-ballot races in the wake of recent red-state teacher strikes, accelerating the Democratic Party’s rebuilding process at the statehouse level and raising the prospect of legislative gains after years of decline…. The teacher candidacies suggest that the wave of teacher strikes and protests that began last winter in West Virginia and later spread to Oklahoma, Arizona and elsewhere created a grass-roots political opportunity…. Now the red-state movement is spreading to state and local races, attracting local excitement but little attention from Democratic power brokers.” • It’s simple for everyone but Politico. The liberal Democrat establishment has a professional base. They hate proles. Teachers have been proletarianized (not least by Democrat support for charteres). QED.

TX Senate: “O’Rourke, a third-term congressman, often boasts that he has hired no consultants or pollsters. He is his own strategist, and his strategy is simple: campaign relentlessly, project vitality and hope his raw charisma combines in just the right proportion with anti-Cruz animus, Texas’ changing demographics and national Democratic momentum to put him over the top” [Politico]. • What, nothing on policy? Note to Politico editors: I think the lead — “sweat pours off his lean, 6-foot-4-inch frame,” “in between panting breaths,” “ling[-ng-ng-ng-ng]ering at the end to pose for selfies” exhibits a little too much Schwärmerei — readers, did I get it right this time? — even for a campaign even where cardio is the theme.

NY Governor: “EMILY’s List Backs Hochul for Reelection as Lieutenant Governor” [Gotham Gazette]. “EMILY’s List has entered somewhat new territory this year given the exponential groundswell of women interested in running for office and those who have made the leap, in many cases with support from EMILY’s List, which can come in forms that don’t include a formal endorsement. The organization has faced several difficult choices about where and when to get involved in Democratic primaries with two or more women running, and in some cases where female candidates are taking on establishment-backed male candidates (as The New York Times recently explored). The organization is closely aligned with the Democratic establishment and is careful in assessing viability of campaigns.” • “[C]losely aligned with the Democratic establishment.” Oddly, or not, Emily’s List has not endorsed Cynthia Nixon.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“According to the CDC’s latest statistics, about 200 Americans are now dying each day from drug overdoses—the first time the numbers have breached that benchmark. About 136 of the 200, or 68 percent, are dying of opioid overdoses” [Opioid Institute]. “The most recent finalized overdose death numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are for calendar year 2016. They showed 63,632 deaths, of which 42,249 involved an opioid. The finalized figures for 2017 won’t be ready until December.” • But babies don’t have the maturity to experience despair, and besides, these deaths are in the flyover states, so they don’t matter. They’re not even an issue. Fuck ’em if they can’t take a joke. We hate them anyhow. Why didn’t they move?

“Boston considers allowing non-U.S. citizens to vote in local elections: report” [The Hill]. “The city is reportedly exploring methods that will make its local election more inclusive by allowing participation by legal permanent residents, visa holders and residents who are legally residing in the U.S. under Temporary Protected Status or the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.”

“Trump pardon of Oregon ranchers sparks concern, jubilation” [Associated Press]. “Two imprisoned ranchers who were convicted of intentionally setting fires in 2012 on public land in Oregon will be freed after President Donald Trump pardoned them on Tuesday. The move by Trump raised concerns that others would be encouraged to actively oppose federal control of public land. The imprisonment of Dwight and Steven Hammond prompted the armed occupation of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon in 2016, led by two sons of Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy. Jamie Rappaport Clark, president of the group Defenders of Wildlife, noted that the Hammonds were convicted of arson, a serious crime. ‘Whatever prompted President Trump to pardon them, we hope that it is not seen as an encouragement to those who might use violence to seize federal property and threaten federal employees in the West,’ Clark said.” • I could file this under 2020 too, of course.

“The Democratic Party left me behind — and I’m not alone” [USA Today]. “I’ve been a loyal Democrat for about 15 years. As someone who became a citizen in 2006, I became a Democrat during the George W. Bush years, because I liked the party’s anti-war, pro-minority, pro-environment, pro-little guy positions. But the 2016 election was an eye-opener for me…. It was the year I recognized that our two political parties have become dinosaurs, ossified beyond recognition. Yes, there’s grassroots energy in the Democratic Party, but party leadership is essentially bereft of ideas… The real divisions, as I see it, aren’t between Democrats and Republicans, but between the political and corporate ruling class and the national media establishments that support them, on the one hand, and the rest of us. All the other divisions are less consequential.” • USA Today, left at the front door of every hote room in America…

“I confronted Scott Pruitt in a restaurant. I’d do it again in a second.” [Vox]. • Worth a read. The writer was at lunch, fortunately. Not brunch, as I read it.

“This Is No Time for Liberal Despair” [David Leonhardt, New York Times]. “Over the last half-century, conservatives have put more energy into building a movement — creating ideological institutions, grooming judges and, perhaps above all, winning local, state and congressional elections. Democrats have emphasized higher-profile politics, like the presidency and landmark court cases. Democrats can’t afford to do so anymore.” • Fair enough, but just because the Democrats can’t afford to do something doesn’t mean they won’t keep doing it, though they keep trying to stand up astroturf movements, and suppressing real ones (like the Sanders campaign). More: “[U]nlike the confirmation battle, the midterms remain up for grabs. In the coming weeks, Democrats will be talking about the Supreme Court, but they should be thinking about the midterms.” • Up for grabs?!

“Conservatives will always call socialists hypocrites. Ignore them. [Opinion]” [Elizabeth Bruenig, Houston Chronicle]. “Conservatives will continue to skewer as hypocritical anyone who takes exception to the unfair, anti-egalitarian system outlined above by fighting for equality even if they come from inequality’s better side. They will do this to the detriment of everyone on its worse side, and for that reason should be ignored.”

Stats Watch

Consumer Credit, May 2018: “Consumers ran up credit-card debt very sharply in May” [Econoday]. “The rise in revolving credit may not be a plus for household wealth [sic] but it is a plus for consumer spending which has been moderate so far this year.” And: “Consumer borrowing increases $24.6 billion, double economists’ forecast and the fastest pace in six months” [MarketWatch].

NFIB Small Business Optimism Index, June 2018: “Beating the consensus forecast calling for a more substantial decline” [Economic Calendar]. “Business owners surveyed continued to point to difficulties in finding qualified workers and identified this as the single most important business problem, as 36 percent reported job openings they could not fill in the current period, up 3 points… The survey also showed the threat of inflation as subdued in the current environment… Perhaps surprising given the tightening on the jobs front, reports of higher compensation were down 4 points from May’s record reading to a net 31 percent, though plans to raise compensation did rise by 1 point to net 21 percent.” So they over-compensated… And: “June 2018 Small Business Optimism: Index Soars, Hitting Several Records” [Econintersect]. “The Small Business Optimism Index posted its sixth highest reading in survey history for the month of June… .A net ten percent of all owners (seasonally adjusted) reported higher nominal sales in the past three months compared to the prior three months, down five points but still one of the strongest readings in years. June is the seventh consecutive strong month of reported sales gains. Reports of sales increases were most frequent in manufacturing and the wholesale trades.”

JOLTS, May 2018: “Job openings slipped back but still remain very abundant” [Econoday]. “Openings are not only above hirings but they are also above the 6.564 million unemployed who are actively looking for work. This inversion — which strongly underscores lack of available capacity in the labor market — first appeared in April and marks a first in data going back 20 years. It’s the abundance of openings that are pulling in discouraged workers back into the workforce looking for jobs.” And: Job openings are at a high level, and quits are increasing year-over-year. This was a strong report” [Econoday]. And: “The BLS Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLTS) can be used as a predictor of future jobs growth, and the predictive elements show that the year-over-year growth rate of unadjusted private non-farm job openings slightly improved” [Econintersect].

Consumer Expectations: “The Federal Reserve Bank of New York’s Center for Microeconomic Data released the June 2018 Survey of Consumer Expectations, which shows no change in short- and medium- term inflation expectations” [Econintersect]. “Households’ expectations about income, earnings and spending growth all recovered from a slight dip in May, as did year-ahead expectations about household financial situations.”

Shipping: “LGBTQ Drivers Share Experiences at Uber Freight Event” [Transport Topics]. • Uber. Of course.

Shipping: “Global shipping lines are sailing under heavy headwinds as trade tensions grow. New and threatened tariffs between the U.S., China and Europe add to the problems already confronting ship operators…, as tepid demand and rising fuel prices cut short the industry’s recovery” [Wall Street Journal]. “Carriers and shippers alike say they’re operating through deep uncertainty, and the surge in some seaborne trade in the past two months suggests companies are trying to minimize their risks by getting goods in place. Shipping lines aren’t counting on that business to hold up, however.”

Shipping: “Sea container imports expected to set record in July” [DC Velocity]. “Imports at the nation’s major container ports are projected to set a new record this month, as increasing consumer demand and rising retail sales offset the initial impact of tariffs on goods from China, according to the monthly “Global Port Tracker” report released today by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and consultancy Hackett Associates… The 12 U.S. ports covered by Global Port Tracker handled 1.82 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEU) in May, the latest month for which after-the-fact numbers were available. That was up 11.6 percent from April… Hackett Associates forecasts that trade tariffs will eventually raise prices on consumer goods and slow the nation’s imports, but said that the momentum of a strong economy will delay that effect.”

Shipping: “Container ships, which move $4 trillion worth of products each year, are suffering from weak freight rates, owing to a glut of boats in the water. Despite consolidation that has left the market dominated by a handful of players, companies have recently issued profit warnings, suspended some sailings and scrapped a planned IPO” [Wall Street Journal].

Shipping: “The Baltic Dry Index measuring transportation rates in the bulk business has surged nearly 50% since the end of May, the WSJ’s Amrith Ramkumar reports, and recently hit its highest level of the year. The index is rising as prices for commodities like copper and iron ore have been sliding, largely on worries that the escalating tariffs will tamp down global demand. Experts say bulk carriers are benefiting so far from a push by companies to move the manufacturing materials before levies take effect. Operators of ocean-going bulk shipping vessels are responding by keeping vessels in the water” [Wall Street Journal].

The Bezzle: “Ohio moves forward on autonomous, but public still needs assurance” [FreightWaves]. “John Kasich signed an executive order in May that will allow companies to test autonomous vehicles on all public roads in Ohio…. [T]he National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 94% of serious crashes are due to driver error and that up to 80% of those crashes involving unimpaired drivers could be avoided or mitigated with advanced technology systems*. Also, according to research from Securing America’s Future Energy, a Washington-based advocacy group, public acceptance is the number one obstacle facing the widespread adoption of autonomous vehicles. In spite of the growing safety of vehicles and the general downward trend of fatalities on the nation’s roadways over the past several decades, “the public has expressed instinctive and reasonable safety concerns about turning over control of a vehicle to a computer.” NOTES * “Advanced technology” means what? ** Nothing on the funding sources, but an ingenious About page that presents each member of the “Energy Security Leadership Council” using pop-ups, so there’s no easy-to-scan list. If this isn’t a dark pattern, it should be.

Tech: “PayPal told customer her death breached its rules” [BBC]. From the letter: “You are in breach of condition 15.4(c) of your agreement with PayPal Credit as we have received notice that you are deceased… this breach is not capable of remedy.” • Sadly, no!

Transportation: “FAA declines to put a stop to the ‘incredible shrinking airline seat'” [MarketWatch]. “The FAA was ordered to address the ‘case of the incredible shrinking airline seat’ by a judge in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit in 2017. On Friday, the regulatory agency responded to that order by ruling that seat shrinkage does not, in fact, affect consumer safety, so the FAA won’t be setting limits on legroom or seat width.”

Five Horsemen: “Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft are all at or near new record highs in late morning trade” [Hat Tip, Jim Haygood].

Five Horsemen July 10 2018

NakedCap Mania-Panic Index: “Amazon, Facebook and Microsoft are all at or near new record highs in late morning trade” [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 July 9 2018

Rapture Index: Closes up 1 on climate. “All-time record high temps have been set in several western US cities” [Rapture Ready]. Record high, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 182.

Our Famously Free Press

America’s Favorite Economist (1):

American’s Favorite Economist (2):


“Poll: Young adults list expense of child care as top reason for having fewer kids” [The Hill]. “While 64 percent of the poll’s respondents said they are having fewer children because child care is too expensive, roughly half, 49 percent, said they are worried about the economy, 43 percent said they waited because of financial instability and 39 percent cited no paid family leave…. The decline in U.S. fertility rates began with the Great Recession in 2008 and has continued steadily for the past decade, baffling those who assumed the rate would pick back up when the economy recovered.” • So they’re taking one for the team by helping to push The Jackpot further out?


Kelton on a Jobs Guarantee vs. a Universal Basic Income:

Class Warfare


“Rebuilding Power in Open-Shop America: A Labor Notes Guide” [Labor Notes]. • This is very good. See especially the last bullet:

“How the Janus Ruling Could Undercut Private-Sector Unions Too” [Governing]. “Private sector employees are governed by the National Labor Relations Act, a federal law that requires employers to bargain with unions that employees have voted to represent them, and those unions may set mandatory fees and may lobby for all sorts of public causes, including government spending and minimum wage levels, that some employees may not agree with, he said. ‘I don’t see a big difference, therefore, between the First Amendment issue in the public and private sectors,’ [Cesar Rosado, co-director of the Institute for Law and the Workplace at Chicago-Kent College of Law] said. ‘Therefore, I can totally see Janus getting extended to the private sector.'” • I’m not even a knowledgeable layperson on these issues, but it feels to me like the Supreme Court is using the First Amendment as a wedge to pry open just about anything it wants. I would bet that even by an original intent standard that’s not, er, legitimate (irrespective of the ruling in Janus, which seems to me more a consequence of the national union’s slavish devotion to the Democrat Party than anything else)>

“YouTube star Gaby Dunn wants to make money as cool as sex” [MarketWatch]. “[DUNN:] We should also be looking at the systematic barriers to financial success.” • Wage labor?

“The ‘Preston Model’ and the modern politics of municipal socialism” [P2P Foundation]. “In a few short years Preston has gone from being one of the most deprived parts of the country to a model of radical innovation in local government through its embrace of community wealth building as a modern reinvention of the longstanding political tradition of municipal socialism.”

News of The Wired

“Love me I’m a liberal – updated for Trump” [MR Online]. And high time, too.

“Being rational all the time isn’t going to do you any favors” [Quartz]. “I’ve recently been exposed to the research of psychologist Lisa Feldman Barrett, and it’s clarified some of my own thoughts on the matter… .[S]he has proposed the theory of constructed emotions, which essentially states that there are no pre-existing emotions that everyone shares like anger, sadness, or happiness, but what we have is a survival system that evaluates our surroundings to create a unique emotional landscape. The purpose of this landscape is to give us quick, condensed information about our environment so we can figure out an optimal route of action. The thing you call anger isn’t a distinctly programmed thing, but it’s a concise information point, and it gets updated by each new experience you have to better reflect your place in the world and your understanding of reality. Essentially, what we call emotions are probability calculators…. Barrett’s model even suggests that cognition and emotion are not distinct at all.”

“Human-Centered AI: Building Trust, Democracy and Human Rights by Design” [Medium]. “[T]he universal human rights framework provides a rich, practical basis for an evaluation of the effects of AI on humans across a whole spectrum of rights: ranging from concrete concerns about the right to work; to more abstract concerns about the right to privacy; to civic and political concerns about how algorithms shape access to information and free expression; to governance concerns about fairness, nondiscrimination and equal protection.”

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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 (JSN):

Reader JSN writes that these flowers are from the Parc de Schoppenwihr gardens. I had no idea that poppies could be white! Something for Remembrance Day, I guess…

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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. jefemt

      I worked in Ventura , CA for a while- there is a native poppy there- native American tribe and creek— Matilija

      Romneya /ˈrɒmniːə/ is a genus of flowering plants belonging to the poppy family (Papaveraceae). There are two species in genus Romneya, which was named for Irish astronomer John Thomas Romney Robinson. They are known commonly as Matilija poppies (/məˈtɪlɪhɑː/ mə-TIL-i-hah) or tree poppies and are native to California and northern Mexico.
      Romneya – Wikipedia


      Bush-like- not single flowers…

      1. Carey

        I grew up in Ventura in the 70s, and miss that time there.
        The poppies were plentiful and nice.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Abortion is like gun control. No one wants to think about abortions. Its icky (do you know what they do? Yuck), so its not something that happens or people particularly care about. We care about it in theory, but part of the reason the GOP has been so effective at zoning abortion clinics out of operation is most people who are pro-choice aren’t having abortions at that moment. For much of the country where Democrats need to win, abortions aren’t accessible for the people the Democrats need to win. Roe v Wade* means nothing to whole swathes of the country. A rich Republican/Democrat who wants to keep his daughter from making a big mistake because she is the exception can run her across state lines.

      Do you remember gun control? It was all the rage as a topic two months ago. Right now, I’m not being shot at, and I own no guns. Except for all the deer, its not a presence in my life. Healthcare, taxes, education, transportation, and whatever else are constants. I see a paycheck with taxes taken out. It would be great to have that money. I drive by schools (i really don’t but I see school buses). I use to go to school. These issues enter the lives of the masses. For the parties to take on certain “hot button” issues, it costs them nothing. One of the state legislators in Virginia who represents an area filled with bible thumpers will go out and bemoan abortion, but in reality, he works for a bio-tech firm and can’t vote on health related issues to avoid a conflict of interest. The GOP just never has the enough votes to go after the clinics in Virginia. The bible thumpers don’t care enough because abortions aren’t a monthly thing even if they are traumatic events. They aren’t discussed except by a few brave people. For the parties, they aren’t losing issues to take on.

      It wasn’t that long ago DLC type Democrats would run pro-gun and anti-choice people to be that one issue to bring single issue voters to the Democratic side. They never faced consequences. HRC was the Democratic nominee despite her less than stellar history on behalf of women’s rights. She can claim to be pro-choice September and then say she would support a constitutional ban on all but the most extreme cases which is great because not having an abortion at that exact moment can say, “i’m that special case,” and can go on about their business which is truthfully not having abortions or contemplating having an abortion. This is why the parties can get away with making these hot button issues. “Abortion vaccuum.” Go find a #resistance member and bring this up. They’ll turn green before they ever listen or care about why abortion clinics need to be safe, accessible, and free of pigs calling the patients murderers. They need to be free along with any extra health related issues that might be caused. Its really easy to “support” Roe v Wade during the occasional selection of the American council of popes, the Supreme Court. If you get pressed, you can say, “I worry about the health of the mother and those extreme case.” Its easy to Roe v Wade because all you have to say is, “my religion and the bible something something” because most people are aware of a few children’s stories and enjoy the singing and what nots of worship houses.

      Its a small if poor bit of evidence, but the words “firearms,” “gun”, “abortion”, “roe”, and “wade” don’t appear in the morning links or comments except the use of the word “gunned” (down) in reference to Iranian nuclear scientist who mysteriously die. The same comment included the only use of the word “weapon.”

      1. Avalon Sparks

        Loved this essay! Because of this kind of quality in the comments and the great Water Cooler info today from Lambert, I was so inspired to send a TIP today.

        I don’t know what I’d do without NC. Thank you!


  1. diptherio

    An Indigenous opera singer is bringing back his community’s traditions and songs…

    The classically-trained tenor used wax cylinder recordings of his ancestors singing in the early 1900s, which had been locked away in the national archive for decades.

    Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa — translated as “Songs of the River People” — is sung entirely in Wolastoqey, a language fewer than 100 people speak.


      1. wilroncanada

        I remember Kashtin. You could also mention Susan Aglukark, originally from Churchill, and her song O Siem. also go onto u-tube and find the three-woman group Asani and their version of O Canada, along with a number of other songs in English and in Cree.

    1. freedomny

      Wow – I just went on youtube – had never heard of him. His music is magical, really beautiful. Thanks!

  2. JTMcPhee

    So, did the Borg Love Cobain to death, or not?

    And about Vince Foster, and Martha Mitchell, and Jack Ruby, and ….

    Just kidding. Of course.

    1. Alex morfesis

      Nah…cobain got yoko’d…he was going to leave Courtney…so she helped him leave…

  3. Roger Smith


    There’s something in the water. The article seems to indicate that part of the justification for this push is the economic contributions of non-citizens, but that ignore the fact that those contributions are one side of an already existing, mutually beneficial agreement. The city (and country) allow for opportunities these individuals are seeking to be available, and in turn the nation/state get economic benefits. That doesn’t mean visitors are entitled to citizenship, and if they want those rights, why can’t they follow a formal citizenship process (and if that is the problem, that is what people should be working on)? Boundaries have a purpose beyond exclusion. I can understand why people have no pride in a centralized identity given this country’s record, but that doesn’t mean having one is bad. Movements like this usurp a natural citizens rights to determine how their nation or state body should be molded. Any changes made should be the result of reasoned and naturally progressing ideological growth or shifts, not forced political shenanigans. All this does is prove the Breitbart crowd right.

    1. gonzomarx

      in the EU we can vote in the local but not national elections of which ever country we’re residing in. If you’re paying taxes shouldn’t you have (some!) representation?

      1. Eureka Springs

        I don’t know about the EU, but I’m against anything which perpetuates the myth voting in any way in the U.S. somehow leads to representation.

        The super plurality on the best of turnouts (pres years) and super majority on off years are saying no no no – none of the above, the only way the can. So let us admit our falsehoods and failings, then establish a representative system for citizens first.

        1. gonzomarx

          I’d like proportional representation but in UK we’re stuck with first past the post and PR would help the end the current party games bollocks in both main parties by allowing them to splinter apart.
          Hopefully giving room for new parties to engage to population.

            1. gonzomarx

              the joys of democracy ;-)
              ain’t pretty

              and yes the voting is only part of it. Gotta make the swine follow through and deliver

        2. HotFlash

          Well, voting doesn’t take that long, even with the research to do it intelligently, and you don’t h ave to do it that often. I agree that thinking that your citizenly duty is done after you pull the lever (or mark the ballot or whatever you do in your area) is crazy. But not voting? That gives the ones who do get turn-out *way* too much power. As Joe Crowley found out. Although I think it worked out fine in that case :).

          Governing ourselves is a lot of work. I happen to think it is worth it. If you don’t want to bother, there are a whole lot of people who do and your probably won’t like the result.

          1. Eureka Springs

            Goodness, Hotflash. If I didn’t know you better, I would think you were straw manning me.

            NO is clearly the largest voting block. Not allowing for and counting no/none of the above/no confidence/start over is clearly anti-representative. I’m arguing we do not have a representative system. And it’s clear the vast majority of those who play within the confines of the two major parties are not represented as well. They aren’t even asked, much more invited to participate. Nothing binds a party or candidate to a platform. The platform is established by very few, in obscurity.

            Why do so many fail or refuse to see the obvious?

          2. JTMcPhee

            And thus it has always been. Looking for a set of organizing principles that might change the coding, I think they are already long since stated and also long since dismissed or submerged. I hear that town meetings in a couple of New England states sort of worked, when the towns were populated by yeoman farmers and small merchants and a “leavening” of preachers and teachers… But then the few, and there always seems to be the same set of the few, who are already organized around those other kinds of, I can’t call them “principles,” who feed on bossing other people around and “take their opportunities” as they arise, still end up running things just like in those other kinds of places… There’s some phrase for this apparently largely inevitable process, I just don’t recall it.

            1. integer

              There’s some phrase for this apparently largely inevitable process, I just don’t recall it.

              Perhaps you are thinking of the phrase “reversion to the mean”, which would be highly appropriate given that it works for more than one definition of the word “mean”.

        3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Does voting lead to representation?

          If not, voting can still give one the thrill of denying the other* team the appearance of representation. Their agony is a satisfying goal.

          *It’s one world, one team, though we see many teams.

          1. Summer

            The reality show “American Idol” had a bit of rebellion some years back.
            There was a movement called “vote for the worst.” Debatable how it worked out, but I believe it caused a change in the show’s electoral system.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        At the beginning of the country, every president was not a natural born American citizen, but was born a British subject.

        They were all born in another country (empire).

        1. PKMKII

          So? They were made citizens upon the founding of the country, and besides these non-citizen voting laws extended well beyond when being born during the colonial era was a concern. In fact if you read the link I posted, it’s still going on right now so it’s not like Boston would be unique in allowing it.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            1. They were made citizens….meaning they were not natural born.

            2. That they were not natural born, and were still presidents means what happened at the beginning of the country may not be what is happening now.

    2. HotFlash

      Movements like this usurp a natural citizens rights to determine how their nation or state body should be molded.

      Maybe (shrug), but if you live in a city, pay taxes in a city, maybe it’s fair that you get to say what happens and how — in your city. My city allows non-resident property owners to vote, because property is, as we all know, soooo important.. Letting resident non-country-citizens to vote doesn’t seem that far of a stretch.

      1. JBird


        I’d just like to point out that non-citizens have repeatedly been given the right to vote in non-federal elections in various jurisdictions going back to the beginning of the country. It is not a new idea nor a radical departure for America’s political history.


        Maybe (shrug), but if you live in a city, pay taxes in a city, maybe it’s fair that you get to say what happens and how — in your city. My city allows non-resident property owners to vote, because property is, as we all know, soooo important.. Letting resident non-country-citizens to vote doesn’t seem that far of a stretch.

        With an increasingly greater numbers of Americans being politically disenfranchised, impoverished, and deemed deplorable, with the concurrent increase in corruption, anger, and repression, is this effort to further weaken any reform efforts by increasing the disenfranchisement and impoverishment of even greater numbers of Americans unwise?

        Diffusing whatever strength we have for the feels will do nothing but give even more control to the already too powerful. It is a neoliberal dream to do this, and it is foolish for us to allow this, and would further the decline of the nation-state, and the meaning of being a citizen, while strengthening destructive racial (identity) politics especially racial.

        There is already a near certainty of violent political unrest in the near, perhaps very near, future, let us not make things worse by leaving more Americans with apparently even less peaceful ways of changing things than they already have too little of.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Maybe “natural citizens” ought to wake up to their natural alliance with “mere residents,” since as Warren Buffett is happy to tell us, “Of course there’s class warfare, my class, the rich class, started it, and we’ve won.” Or words pretty close to that effect.

          Your notion of nativism ain’t going to do much to dislodge the grips of people like Blankfein and Peolosi and Cuomo from the levers of power. And yes, Blankfein and Dimon were never “elected,” but controlling the electoral process as they do, they might as well have been. And changing the people below them is the only way to cut them off. Non-enfranchising natural allies sounds kind of wrong, to me…

          1. JBird

            It is not always obvious what are the right choices. Sometimes there are no right choices, but I can demand that everyone be treated as human beings, and that many are here because of evil done in our name by our “government,”while also recognizing that enfranchising millions of people merely because they are here with the simultaneous disenfranchisement and effectively discarded the ten of millions of mainly poor and working class Americans by our political and economic regime is a very bad idea. What is likely to happen when evermore Americans can not pay the rent, or food, or their kids hospital visits? How will they respond to more competition regardless of their politics? If one wants the No-Nothing Party reborn, that’s a good start.

            Tell me to fight for those abused human beings. To write letters, demonstrate, donate money or vote for them. I will push for the criminal prosecution of members of the government and the elimination of ICE. I will because those are good things, righteous things, but I do not accept that everyone here should stay, or have the vote, and certainly not have open borders.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Why only non-federal and not federal elections?

          Because it concerns the empire?

          Because it can only be legalized by Congress and in that case, why shouldn’t congress do that, or is it in the Constitution, in that case, why not amend it?

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Are we talking about, for example, H1B visa workers voting in local elections?

        Can an H1B visa worker run for governor?

        Should they be allowed to vote, but not allowed to run?

      3. anonymous

        Here in Los Angeles, there are constant neighborhood battles concerning over-development.

        There are zoning regulations on the books, for example, prohibiting creation of “granny shacks” in backyards or garages in R-1 zoned areas. Yet, some homeowners and some who rent homes want to convert garages to extra living quarters, to rent out. Neighborhood density then increases, traffic increases, parking becomes more problematic. Plus, as backyards get paved over, there’s less habitat for wildlife, less open space.

        So, if non-citizens can vote on local issues, I could see these R-1 regulations getting weakened, if not over-turned.

  4. Jean

    Insult me, belittle my accomplishments and those of my ancestors and you want my vote?
    i.e. Kamala Harris.

    The danger of identity politics is that white people will only vote for white people,
    and when given a choice between two or more whites in primary,
    will vote against the whites who militate for minority rights.

    If people vote along racial lines, there will be no more minority candidates in most offices.

    1. BobW

      Yes, for quite some time I’ve been saying that I’ll vote for the old white guy, because there’s a special place in hell.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Real world, of course, that’s very much a reason why many people vote for certain candidates. And why a lot of them don’t vote, or aren’t allowed to.

          Maybe it’s got something to do with history, and also that we mopes of many colors and Xs and Ys are so easily led down the garden paths toward the shiny objects or the dark recalls of past horrors. Too bad we can’t figure out that the Mopery indeed has a common enemy, but of course there are advantage seekers even among the Mopery, and after the Revolution, along come Danton and Robespierre and Trotsky and Lenin and such… and around we go again, broken on the wheel of the limbic system…https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Limbic_system

          1. RMO

            Imagine the chaos that would ensue if one day the young black guy barely scraping by in a dead part of Detroit, the middle aged white woman in a small rust belt town working three jobs, the older hispanic man wondering how he’s possibly going to survive in retirement after the company he worked for looted his pension and the just graduated student with tens of thousands in debt all realized they have far more in common with each other because of class than they do with people of the same skin tone or body parts as them who are in the top 10%.

            Actually… that is finally happening in the U.S…. that probably goes some way to explaining why your overlords are becoming increasingly deranged and fearful

    2. neo-realist

      I could see a danger for the democratic party in the general if Kamala is selected as the candidate: With her color and perceived air of corporate pantsuit condescension to those in the battleground states, Trump and the GOP could peg her as a “Black Hillary”, resulting in similar electoral college math, re-electing Trump.

      1. freedomny

        Isn’t Kamala kind of like a female Obama (and I’m not meaning this as a compliment). So “Female Obama/Black Hillary” is really not a good Trump strategy….

        1. Jean

          Freedomny, She’s worse.

          Nice list of what can be fact checked–and will be used against her in an election.
          Apologies for not remembering the source.

          Warning to (non-SF) Democrats: Kamala is an incompetent idiot with a terrible track record and zero principles.

          I *know* – you think she is Obama 2.0 because she is Little Miss Intersectionality

          Except Obama was a once-in-a-generation gifted public speaker, with a background that embodied the American story

          He didn’t do as Kamala did – sleep with the MARRIED mayor of his city (32 years older) to get appointed to a job undeservingly

          And then absolutely soil the bed in office as Kamala did in every manner imaginable.

          She was good at elections – and promptly departed, leaving her soiled SF crime bed behind.

          Including being responsible for SF now having the highest property crime rate in the nation, and under her aegis as DA having the violent crime rate deteriorate so much compared to other CA cities that we are now only behind Oakland and Stockton.

          And closer to Compton than comparable cities like San Jose or San Diego (which have half the violent crime rate)

          And if you want to hand Trump talking points – AND the next election – Edwin Ramos (an illegal immigrant MS-13 gang member) permanently “separated” three members of the Bologna family in SF.

          Under DA Kamala’s watch, Ramos:

          previously assaulted a pregnant woman on the sidewalk
          tried to fight anyone he deemed a rival gang member on Muni
          was caught with a criminal associate trying to dispose of a gun recently used in a *double homicide* down a storm drain.

          1. JBird

            Let’s not make it an immigration issue. Ramos could have been from a Mayflower family and likely DA Kamala would still have botched it; the woman is a political opportunist first, second, and last with no set of core beliefs, or even a real ideology, that I can see. Fulfilling her elected office’s responsibilities ain’t on the list.

            I finally understood after seeing her and Gavin Newsom con their way into office how many Republicans can be conned into voting for obvious flim-flams. Dress right, say all the right phrases, go to all the right public events, and even the most empty souled individual can be elected. I was so, so taken in by both of them.

            1. Carey

              Unfortunately, Ms. Harris is precisely the kind of IdPol box-ticking empty-headed pantsuit that the PTB would like to install next…

          2. Di Modica's Dumb Steer

            Harris is unredeemable for these reasons, certainly, but let’s not forget the commonality she shares with most establishment Dems (and the reason I’ve written off the vast majority of that party) – her unwillingness to act against the banks when she had full cause to do so. It was OneWest, right? Had she actually done something, we would have one less grifter to worry about near the gears of power (Mnuchin). I won’t vote for her because of that alone; what you stated is more fuel to the fire.

            This fetishization of Wall Street and the financial class is a rot, and is a single issue vote for me. Every Dem in almost living memory is afflicted, and it will be significant work to excise it.

  5. stillfeelintheberninwi

    Thanks to Yves, Barbara and Steve for great conversation at the meet up in Green Bay on Sunday! The afternoon flew by. Thanks Yves for spending so much time with us and making all the efforts you do to get out and meet in person with us nakedcap folks. This is a marvelous group of people. We’re grateful for each and everyone of you.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Well, if you’re interested in heading south for this fall and winter, I’m about to start planning the next NC meetup in Tucson.

      1. Carolinian

        That’s an interesting article.

        Over the next 40 years, this Democratic generation fundamentally altered American politics. They restructured “campaign finance, party nominations, government transparency, and congressional organization.” They took on domestic violence, homophobia, discrimination against the disabled, and sexual harassment. They jettisoned many racially and culturally authoritarian traditions. They produced Bill Clinton’s presidency directly, and in many ways, they shaped President Barack Obama’s.

        The result today is a paradox. At the same time that the nation has achieved perhaps the most tolerant culture in U.S. history, the destruction of the anti-monopoly and anti-bank tradition in the Democratic Party has also cleared the way for the greatest concentration of economic power in a century. This is not what the Watergate Babies intended when they dethroned Patman as chairman of the Banking Committee. But it helped lead them down that path. The story of Patman’s ousting is part of the larger story of how the Democratic Party helped to create today’s shockingly disillusioned and sullen public, a large chunk of whom is now marching for Donald Trump.

      2. ChiGal in Carolina

        Thanks for linking this. I read it a couple years ago and it has been leaking out of my steel sieve of a brain ever since, so I appreciate the chance to reread and save it!

        Along with listen, liberal these two Atlantic articles are great explainers full of context and history.

        A must read.

  6. Summer

    With the way this is playing out…Future advice to black women in America who get pregnant will be: have the baby in a country where they can get citizenship. Then bring them to the USA…Ta-da..
    Think of it as giving them the Jimi Hendrix Experience.

  7. UserFriendly

    Just my broader two cents on court packing that no one has mentioned yet…. Since there is absolutely no way possible to say increasing the number of justices on the court has anything to do with “spending, revenues, or the federal debt limit” it would not be eligible for reconciliation and would need to overcome a filibuster (i.e. not gonna happen). Which means unless Bernie has some serious coattails (possible; there will be 22 GOP senators up as opposed to 8 this cycle but not many in friendly territory) and he can push through DC and PR statehood it would require nuking the filibuster. Something that the democrats should be especially loathed to do since they are at a natural disadvantage when it comes to the senate. But if Bernie can deliver the goods than that calculous might change.

  8. sleepy

    “Love me I’m a Liberal”–Phil Ochs and as updated

    I’m pushing 70 so it seems like only yesterday that there was a time 50 and more years ago when the left stated publicly and often that liberals were the true enemy.

  9. Jim Haygood

    Well, there he goes again … Benedict Donald:

    President Donald Trump is preparing to release a list of an additional $200 billion in Chinese products to be hit with tariffs, according to two people familiar with the matter.

    The list could be released as soon as Tuesday, and likely this week, according to the people, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the matter isn’t public. The publication of the list starts a weeks-long process that includes a public-comment period and hearings.

    Stock futures fell and yields on 10-year Treasuries declined on concern of a widening trade war.


    Hoover-Trump is going all Smoot-Hawley on us. It’s 1930 deja vu in Hooverville 2020:


    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      One alternative, it seems, is ‘trade-peace in our time at any cost.’

      Perhaps ceding our manufacturing base will satisfy Beijing.

      “That ought to do it. We will own no more roads, no more ports, no more railways (and no more belts) in America. It’s a promise.”

      1. Jim Haygood

        USTR just released a 205-page list of Chinese goods subject to proposed harsh new tariffs, signed by trade warrior extraordinaire Robert Lighthizer.


        A quick perusal shows that it includes manufactured goods such as window air conditioners, refrigerators, bicycles … things people buy at WalMart and Home Depot.

        It’s just another example of how the lying, tax-and-spend Republican party whacks ordinary Americans with more tax increases, along with higher gas prices caused in part by their fanatical jihad against Iran.

        S&P futures are down 0.8% as investors puke in disgust.

          1. Charles Leseau

            What kind of bicycle? Racing, touring, roundabouting, utility?

            What are you looking to spend?

            I’m a touring rider/cyclocamper, so that’s what I know best – comfort bikes with large gear ranges, ability to use tires of varying widths, and ability to carry racks & panniers. Touring bikes usually make perfect utility bikes too, so..

            Of the high-end boutique steel stuff, Waterford makes excellent custom frames for any type of riding. Rivendell also makes great ones, custom and non, but their US lines are more expensive than their overseas stuff. There are tons of boutique manufacturers too, such as Vanilla.

            Bruce Gordon bikes are excellent and the non-custom stuff is generally affordable for what they are. Gordon was a disciple of the great frame maker Albert Eisentraut, though unless you buy a custom, you’re unlikely to see craftsmanship that shows it.


            For high-end racing bicycles, Richard Sachs is highly sought after, but undoubtedly insanely expensive.

            Here’s a list of American bike manufacturers, but it’s incomplete. Sachs & Waterford stuff is not in there, for instance. This should include anything lower end.


            Trek has a made-in-US reputation because they manufacture more bicycles here than anyone else, but the reality is that most (@99%) of their bikes are made overseas, so careful there too. I’m not a fan anyway, so take anything I say about them with a grain of salt as inherently biased.

            1. Charles Leseau

              Bruce Gordon bikes are excellent and the non-custom stuff is generally affordable for what they are.

              Ugh, I stand corrected. Looks like he closed the physical shop and doubled the prices this year.

        1. Carolinian

          I believe there are no more mass market bicycles made in America. Schwinn is now a Chinese brand (sold at Walmart). Of course those $3000 bikes are still made here.

          An AP story this morning says that local manufacturer BMW will have to raise prices in China to reflect the 40 percent tariff that China is placing on US cars. The story claims the German company is, somewhat ironically, now the number one US car exporter (apparently Detroit makes its cars inside China).

          1. Left in Wisconsin

            I know someone that works at Trek bicycle here in Wisconsin. I asked him how much you would have to spend to get one of the bikes they make here. He said 5K. Mostly they just do finishing work here (painting, etc.)

            1. Arizona Slim

              If you can find an American-made Trek or Cannondale from the 1980s, grab it. Those were good bikes.

  10. jsn

    “Being rational”, “emotions are probability calculators”.


    They are an instinct selected by probabilities to which we react irrationally based on our limited understanding of both our own perceptions and the actual probabilities that selected for the instinct, which in all likelihood have been badly scrambled by the man made habitat we now occupy.

    1. Steve H.

      Here’s a couple of lines from abstracts of her work:

      “People believe that women are the more emotional sex. This belief stems less from what men and women actually do than from the explanations given for their behaviors… judged feminine targets depicting emotions as “emotional” (i.e., a dispositional attribution for the emotional behavior), whereas they more frequently judged masculine targets as “having a bad day” (i.e., a situational attribution for the emotional behavior).”

      “Emotional” v ‘which emotion?’ “Having a bad day” indicates negative affect. Emotions can also have positive affect.

      “What is the structure of emotion? Emotion is too broad a class of events to be a single scientific category, and no one structure suffices”
      “but scientists have yet to produce a set of clear and consistent criteria for indicating when an emotion is present and when it is not.”

      This is utter horsedooky. Emotions can be described using affective criteria (see Charles Osgood), and Ekman produced a ‘clear and consistent criteria’ that isolated tribes were able to confirm. She seems to be saying that because brainscans don’t produce ‘sadness is at this location’ results, those emotions don’t exist.

      I can identify primary emotions in my dog. They show up on her face and in her body language, and I don’t need a brainscan to know when she’s sad and wants rubs, and when she’s afraid. And I know when my neighbor’s dog is angry enough to not go near him.

    2. dk

      Garbage in, garbage out.

      If one lies to oneself, or accepts unconfirmed information as true (or false), emotions don’t give consistent or usable responses. It’s simple. But letting go of the fictions we comfort ourselves with, that’s not so easy. And “irrational emotions” are there to take the blame.

  11. Zzzz Andrew

    Re: the American Conservative piece on Ocasio-Cortez, AOC has explicitly drawn a distinction between “Abolish ICE” and “open borders.” See her tweet:


    ‘It seems that the GOP is so emotionally committed to keeping children in detention centers that they equate the stance of abolishing ICE with “open borders.”

    ‘Don’t let their hysteria get to you. A humane, responsible immigration system is possible.’

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Perhaps she meant reforming ICE or re-assigning some ICE functions to other agencies.

      The key, I think, is what voters voting for her heard when she said ‘abolish ICE.’ Here, we haven’t (or I haven’t) seen a lot of data regarding that.

      1. ChrisPacific

        It does need clearer articulation, if only because political opponents will use the opportunity for strawmanning if it’s not cut off. (Not being a conservative, I recognized the point but thought it would be a good topic to raise with AOC to clarify her position – and sure enough, it doesn’t mean she supports open borders).

        Is she proposing we abolish ICE, or abolish the border enforcement arm of immigration policy? If the former but not the latter, what would she replace it with? What changes, if any, would she make to immigration policy and how it’s enforced? What about the co-dependency problem of all the businesses and wealthy individuals that benefit directly and indirectly from illegal immigration – how do we square that circle? All of these would be useful topics for conversation and/or clarifying statements.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > ‘Don’t let their hysteria get to you. A humane, responsible immigration system is possible.’

      That’s AOC. That’s not the activists on the ground, the anarchist contingent of the DSA, or the babies!!! contingent of the Democrat party and the press, all of whom are also hysterical (and tendentious, since there’s nothing in any of this that Obama and Bush didn’t lay the groundwork for). Further, if you look at the moral logic behind the talking points of all three of those factions, I don’t think you can find a stopping point before open borders (and for the anarchists, there is and should be none, because of their views on the state).

      It would sure be nice if somebody got out front on this with an actual plan.

  12. fresno dan

    “According to the CDC’s latest statistics, about 200 Americans are now dying each day from drug overdoses—the first time the numbers have breached that benchmark. About 136 of the 200, or 68 percent, are dying of opioid overdoses” [Opioid Institute].
    They showed 63,632 deaths, of which 42,249 involved an opioid. The finalized figures for 2017 won’t be ready until December.” • But babies don’t have the maturity to experience despair, and besides, these deaths are in the flyover states, so they don’t matter. They’re not even an issue. Fuck ’em if they can’t take a joke. We hate them anyhow. Why didn’t they move?


    You see, in America, poverty was seen — and still is — as a kind of just dessert. A form of deserved punishment, for being lazy, for being foolish, for being slow. For being, above all, weak — because only the strong should survive.

    So Americans devised a very different kind of society. It didn’t have a social contract — a set of public institutions which manage public goods for people, healthcare and transport and finance and childcare and so on — it’s thinkers supposed it didn’t need one. It only had markets. If markets rewarded the rich — while crushing the middle class and poor — so much the better. Markets were the truest judges of the worth of a person. And if a market thought a person was worth a billion dollars, and another one nothing, that was because the first person must be a billion times better a person than the second.*

    So in America, poverty wasn’t seen as a social bad or ill — it was seen as a necessary way to discipline, punish, and control those with a lack of virtue, a deficit of strength, to, by hitting them with its stick, to inculcate the virtues of hard work, temperance, industriousness, and above all, self-reliance. The problem, of course, was that the great lesson of history was that none of this was true — poverty didn’t lead to virtue. It only led to ruin.

    * meritocracy….

    1. JTMcPhee

      To refresh one’s recollection of where we Americans came from, and a window into one corner of the nation’s soul, it’s worth re-reading the Great American Christian Sermon given by one Jonathan Edwards back in 1741 — “Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry God,” https://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/sdg/pdf/edwards_angry.pdf

      God seems to have a very different idea of what constitutes evil men, to be cast into Hell, than the tests and standards I was taught up into from a reading of the New Testament, otherwise how come Obama and Dimon and Blankfein and Cheney and Wolfowitz (ok, he’s Jewish, so maybe different texts apply) and the Clintons and so forth, and of course our modern Robber Barons and Kleptopotentates here and abroad, are still walking and breathing on this earthly plane?

  13. Oregoncharles

    ““As Trade Tensions Grow, ‘Reshoring’ of U.S. Supply Chains Sputters” ” (WSJ is paywalled, so I’m responding to Lambert’s notes on it): As a previous post suggested, Trump is doing it wrong, probably because he’s trying to do with executive orders. Targeted tariffs on raw materials don’t help; you have to have an across-the-board levy on finished goods. And it takes time – a month or two does not tell the story.

    And “Switzerland Challenges US Tariffs at WTO”” Yeah, why do you think he was talking about exiting the WTO – which, mind you, is what the Battle of Seattle was about, and the actual sponsor of ISDS Tribunals.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Existing the WTO?

      What will that or another Battle of Seattle do to the S&P?

  14. The Rev Kev

    “Fetishizing “Identity Politics” Could Cost Democrats in 2020”

    Identity politics can really be such navel-gazing when you get down to it. Saw how going all ga-ga over ‘identities’ is playing out in the FIFA cup this morning. The same sort of people that wrap themselves around the axle of identity were going on about the ethnic, racial and cultural composition of the teams (https://russia-insider.com/en/politics/left-proclaims-russia-white-trash-world-cup/ri24070) instead of such mundane things as, oh I don’t know, how well they could actually play.
    Getting back to politics, it should all be about judging candidates what they actually are willing to fight for. Everybody knows what a Trump is all about but is that any worse than a democrat that promises to help the voters but whose votes literally always align with their donors?

    1. Arizona Slim

      Oh, brother. The World Cup. And here are the horns of my dilemma:

      There’s a lot of Celtic blood in the veins of Slim. Which makes it hard for me to root for England. But wait! Some of my Celtic ancestors intermarried with the English.

      Then there’s Germany. Already gone from competition. So, I can’t cheer for them anymore.

      Here’s where things get complicated. My German ancestors came from the Dresden area, and that isn’t too far from the border with the Czech Republic. Which means that there may be some Slavic DNA, mixing it up with the Germans, the Celts, and the English.

      Oh, well. I might as well just be an American.

  15. Oregoncharles

    ““USA unlikely to permit airframers to support Iran-owned aircraft””
    It’s hard to express how bizarre this is. I’ve seen the explanations of HOW the US can have that sort of power, but this sort of thing gores very specific and powerful oxes. It’s long past time for the EU and the rest of the world to put a stop to it. The Russians and Chinese are working on it, which will give them serious advantages in the world. For one thing, it will attract others to join their system.

    1. Carey

      “…US Department of Treasury assistant secretary of terrorist financing Marshall Billingslea told FlightGlobal on 9 July.”

      the jokes do just write themselves these days

  16. Oregoncharles

    I can’t see the leaves and stems, but I think those poppies are Romney coulteri, Poached Egg Poppy. It’s a desert plant and huge, head high. Will take over whole areas. But so far, I’ve failed to grow it.

  17. ChrisAtRU

    Paul Krugman: The Last Court Jester of The Neoliberal Crown

    It may take a few years, but the punchlines do eventually come.

    1. freedomny

      Have to add on to that – in my mind – I think she is committed to exactly what she says she is. And, she is just the first of other/many superstars.

  18. JTMcPhee

    “the Supreme Court is using the First Amendment as a wedge to pry open just about anything it wants.”

    And other court generations have used the 5th and 14th amendments, stuff like “substantive due process” (since revived, too) and “penumbras” to summon up and use the “legitimacy authority” of the court (which after all has no “divisions” or “brigades” or “uniformed officers” to enforce its decrees and orders and rulings. That was supposed to be part of the “checks and balances” BS in the Original Document — the courts still had to lean on either voluntary compliance, by mopes and nascent oligarchs who were still of the notion that one was supposed to “obey the law of the land,” to effectuate their pronouncements, or invoke the active intervention of the Executive Branch (see the old black and white photos — pardon the pun — of federal marshalls escorting black school children past white mobs with their contorted faces and oh-so-telling body English, in LIFE Magazine back in the day; https://www.reddit.com/r/IconicImages/comments/5ulgb4/ruby_bridges_escorted_by_us_marshals_from_william/

    But now we have a unitary government that just uses the forms of “constitutional democracy” to legitimize all the stuff we kvetch about here, and many of us don’t even think about the notion that ‘resistance’ (not the Huma Abedin kind) might NOT be futile. Because too many of us don’t even know what “the issue” is, and we go along with how it is because after all SOMEONE has to say what the rules are (anarchists please sit down, your cries of rage are not useful). So we have Scalia and Roberts and Thomas and the rest just Making Sh!t Up, without even a moderator to un-mic them and call them out effectively… And of course the “Liberals” have been complicit in all this.

  19. djrichard

    Poll: Young adults list expense of child care as top reason for having fewer kids” [The Hill].

    Is this a consequence of neo-liberalism? Or is this a consequence of a desire for a prestigious lifestyle, “keeping up with the Jonses”, where having multiple babies is in conflict with that type of lifestyle?

    I’d say it was a consequence of neo-liberalism, since the dip in US fertility rate traces from 2008. But look at Germany and Japan in comparison. Their dip started in the 60s (“the pill”) and never really recovered – it’s been a continual decline, with Germany actually worse than Japan.

    Japan certainly suffered after their bubble crashed in the 80s, so maybe we can ascribe their situation to neo-liberalism. At least the near-term contributor.

    But it’s hard to see such a pattern in Germany’s case. Makes one wonder that Germany saw the good life that the western lifestyle had to offer and decided that it was worth having less kids to achieve it. And “the pill” was just the ticket they were looking for. Maybe?

    By the way, here’s a population forecast for Germany: with immigration vs without immigration. Given how hairy the politics are in the US over this issue, it’s got to be even more so in Germany. Vs Japan which just seems to have stuck its head in the sand.

  20. djrichard

    The ‘Preston Model’ and the modern politics of municipal socialism” [P2P Foundation]

    Wow, who knew. Seems this would be worth a treatment in its own right on NC.

    … the twin temptations of fatalism—that nothing can be done—and deferral—that nothing can be done until Labour is in power in Westminster—must be roundly rejected. … there is much that can be done already—as a movement we need not wait for Labour to gain power nationally before we begin advancing ambitious programmes around a ‘new economics’ based on radical modern reinventions of municipal socialism. …

    Especially since there are some successes in the US

    There are now two flagship models of community wealth building—and a growing number of additional efforts in cities across the United States and United Kingdom. …

    And that there is a history of success in these being footholds for socialism to bloom at the municipal level.

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