2:00PM Water Cooler 7/11/2018

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“President Donald Trump made good Tuesday night on a promise to keep raising the pressure on Beijing in a trade war over its intellectual property practices by publishing a list of an additional $200 billion worth of Chinese goods that he plans to hit with a 10 percent tariff” [Politico]. “No further negotiations between the world’s two largest economies have been scheduled, but an administration official noted that the U.S. remains open to finding a solution. In the meantime, the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative will hold a hearing on the proposed tariffs Aug. 20-23 as part of a public comment period that ends Aug. 30. A final decision will come sometime after that, administration officials said.”

“China vows retaliation for $200 billion US tariff threat” [Associated Press]. “China’s government vowed Wednesday to take ‘firm and forceful measures’ as the U.S. threatened to expand tariffs to thousands of Chinese imports like fish sticks, apples and French doors, the latest salvo in an escalating trade dispute that threatens to chill global economic growth…. A possible second round of tariff hikes announced Tuesday by the U.S. Trade Representative targets a $200 billion list of Chinese goods. That came four days after Washington added 25 percent duties on $34 billion worth of Chinese goods and Beijing responded by increasing taxes on the same amount of American imports.”

“Trump’s Tariff Barrage Pushes China Fight to Point of No Return” [Industry Week]. “China has seven weeks to make a deal or dig in and try to outlast the U.S. leader. President Xi Jinping, facing his own political pressures to look tough, has vowed to respond blow-for-blow. He’s already imposed retaliatory duties targeting Trump’s base including Iowa soybeans and Kentucky bourbon. Yet matching the latest U.S. barrage would force China to either levy much higher tariffs or take more disruptive steps like canceling purchase orders, encouraging consumer boycotts and putting up regulatory hurdles. Not only does that risk provoking Trump to follow through on threats to tax virtually all Chinese products, it could unleash nationalist sentiment on both sides that fuels a deeper struggle for geopolitical dominance. ‘It’s already past the point of no return,’ said Pauline Loong, managing director at research firm Asia-Analytica in Hong Kong. ‘What’s next is not so much a trade war or even a cold war as the dawn of an ice age in relations between China and the United States.'” • As it turns out, deindustrializing America in favor of Chinese manufacturing wasn’t the best idea, though if the “losers” had been compensated things might be less poisonous. But here we are.

“Tesla Plans China Plant With 500,000 Vehicle Capacity” [Industry Week]. “The electric-car maker’s planned capacity for the factory is 500,000 vehicles a year, the Shanghai government said in statement. Bloomberg reported earlier that Musk, Tesla’s chief executive officer, would be in the city for an event with the government on Tuesday…. While Tesla has been working on setting up production in China for more than a year, President Donald Trump has been trying to bolster manufacturing in the U.S. Tesla follows Harley-Davidson Inc. in expanding outside the U.S., underscoring the urgency with which companies are moving to avoid damage from escalating trade disputes.”

“Why Germany Can’t Buy Natural Gas From the US” [247 Wall Street]. “It’s not clear whether Trump’s goal in targeting Merkel this morning was to shame Germany into putting more money into NATO or to encourage the Germans to buy more natural gas from the United States. But if it’s the second, that will be very difficult to achieve. Germany currently receives about a third of its current 80 billion cubic meters of annual natural gas supply from Russia, nearly all transported by pipelines running through Eastern Europe…. For the U.S. natural gas to reach Europe, it must first be converted to liquefied natural gas (LNG), loaded on a special tanker and sailed from the U.S. Gulf Coast to a receiving terminal where it is reconverted into gas. Naturally this costs more than simply putting natural gas in a pipeline and sending it off. In addition, Qatar, Australia and other countries are way ahead of the United States in developing liquefaction facilities. In time the United States could sell more natural gas to Europe, but the sales probably will be limited to countries like Spain, Portugal and Turkey that have never received a lot of their supply from Russia. It is exceedingly doubtful that U.S. LNG will ever be a major source of supply to Germany.” • Who runs pipelines through the World Island


New Cold War

Apparently the UK’s Telegraph is under Russian control:

Read the responses; they’re a hoot. (Apparently, the narrative is “baseless” because — hold onto your hats here, folks — Clinton denied it.)


“Dems grasp for way to stop Trump’s Supreme Court pick” [The Hill]. “Four Democrats in 2006 supported Kavanaugh’s nomination to his current post on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit: Sen. Tom Carper (Del.) and former Sens. Ben Nelson (Neb.), Mary Landrieu (La.) and Robert Byrd (W.Va.).” • Kavanaugh is, apparently, qualified. Why all the yammering now?

“Analysis: Dems meet Supreme Court pick with mixed message” [Associated Press]. “Chuck Schumer, the Senate Democratic leader, says it’s all about health care. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., worries about the impact on the special counsel investigation. And Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., sees an assault that could set women’s rights back decades…. Democrats struggled to unify behind a clear and coherent message to combat the nomination, which could shift the court to the right for decades. They’re energized, outraged and ready to fight. But what, exactly, is their argument to voters?” • Translation: They have the same message they’ve had since 2017: “Democrats 2018: I Mean, Have You Seen the Other Guys?”

“What Trump’s Supreme Court Pick Could Mean for States’ Rights” [Governing]. “The 14th Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause has been used by the Supreme Court in landmark cases such as Brown v. Board of Education (racial discrimination), Roe v. Wade (reproductive rights) and Bush v. Gore (the recount), to set limits on states’ rights…. Kavanaugh has shown a particular interest in the 14th Amendment from his earliest law school days at Yale University. In a 1989 piece for the Yale Law Journal, he discussed a 1986 Supreme Court ruling in Batson v. Kentucky that outlawed using race as the sole criteria for preemptive challenges to jurors, under the Equal Protection Clause. Kavanaugh wrote the decision did not lay out enough specific criteria on how to strike jurors aside from their race, and made some suggestions that were later employed by courts. He brought up that issue again in 2006, in his hearing on his nomination as a federal judge for the D.C. Circuit, saying Batson was ‘one of the great Supreme Court decisions ever decided.'”

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“House Ratings Changes: 10 Districts Move, Mostly in Democrats’ Direction” [David Wasserman, Cook Political Report]. “If the 24 Toss Ups were to split evenly between the parties, Democrats would gain 18 seats, five short of a majority. But that doesn’t take into account that there are 26 GOP-held seats in Lean Republican with strong potential to become Toss Ups, and an additional 28 GOP-held seats in Likely Republican with the potential to become more competitive. In other words, there’s still a lot of upside for Democrats.” • Here is my favorite sentence, which Wasserman delivers with an absolutely straight face: “Plenty of DC Democrats have expressed excitement about Wallace’s potential to spend whatever it takes to win.” Ka-ching! And Wasserman’s handicapping–

“July House Overview: Democrats Remain Slight Favorites for Majority” [David Wasserman, Cook Political Report]. “Democrats remain the narrow favorites to pick up the 23 seats they need to win the majority. Based on the Republicans’ structural advantages from redistricting and residential patterns, Democrats likely need to win seven to eight percent more votes than the GOP to win the barest possible majority of 218 seats. By that measure, it’s close: today, the RealClearPolitics average of congressional generic ballot polls gives Democrats a seven-point lead, while FiveThirtyEight’s gives Democrats an eight-point advantage…. But in our view, the intensity gap between the parties’ voters is what gives Democrats a slight edge. In the most recent NBC/WSJ poll, 63 percent of Democrats rated their interest level in the midterms as a ‘9’ or ’10,’ compared to 47 percent of Republicans. And by 25 points, voters said they were more likely to support a candidate who runs as a ‘check’ on Trump. This heightened Democratic enthusiasm – and voters’ receptivity to a ‘check and balance’ message – helps explain why, on average, Democrats have run nine points ahead of their typical shares of the vote in eight special elections held since last April.” • The Republicans, of course, will not remain passive, and will no doubt be able to gin up some intensity of their own. (Another way to think of a “check and balance” message is the ratchet effect.)

* * *

“Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, In Her Own Words” [Jacobin]. “I was coming into this race with a background as an organizer. From the beginning, I was always focused on organizing people, building a coalition, and deepening that coalition with other organizers. The campaign was almost entirely focused on physical organizing and digital outreach to reinforce that physical organizing. Almost everybody involved in this campaign was a first-time organizer. I built relationships with other previous organizers, but many of the organizers I knew were not electoral organizers. I come from a background focused more on education, so a lot of the activists and organizers that I knew were very cynical towards electoral politics. Most of them deliberately do not get involved in electoral politics. I spent a good six months building trust with grassroots organizations and earning some of that trust and credibility to turn out people who normally do not believe in electoral politics. We knocked on 120,000 doors. We sent 170,000 text messages. We did another 120,000 phone calls. Before we even got to that phase of the Democratic turnout, a year earlier, we ran an entire get-out-the-registration campaign, because New York is one of the most suppressive states for voting in America.” • As I keep saying, what AOC did with voter registration should be a core party function. It isn’t, not only because donor class does not want to expand the Democrat base, but because the existing, professional Democrat base doesn’t want to associate with smelly proles.

“EXCLUSIVE: Ocasio-Cortez with another surprise election win – in a district she wasn’t even running in” [New York Daily News]. “In addition to recently whipping longtime Queens Rep. Joseph Crowley in the 14th congressional district Democratic primary, Ocasio-Cortez also won the Reform Party write-in primary over Bronx Rep. Jose Serrano in the neighboring 15th congressional district. Neither she nor Serrano were competing for the line. Still, the city Board of Elections certified Ocasio-Cortez’s write-in victory on Tuesday. Of the 22 people who received write-in votes, Ocasio-Cortez got the most with nine. While write-in votes are not unusual, someone actually winning a race she wasn’t running for is.”

“New Dem star to rattle DC establishment” [The Hill]. “Democrats are racing* to figure out how to handle Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez… ‘The entire spectrum of House Democrats, party leadership, [campaign] leadership, is trying to assess what she wants to do and how ready she is to play ball,’ said one Democratic source. They want to know ‘how does her coming to Washington change my plan, or even help my plan?'” NOTE * “Racing” is one of those words… I generally translate it to something like “institutional factors prevented us from seeing or reacting to a problem, erased from the article.” • “My plan”? “My plan?”

“Notes from a Winning Campaign” [KITCHEN3N]. “Soon after I e-mail her volunteer organizer, Bilal Tahir, letting him know I grew up in her district and I have a strong network there of relatives and friends that I could work to help get her on the ballot. His response came a few days later in the form of an email addressed to me and a few other folks: “Congratulations! You are your neighborhoods’ respective field captains!” • Impressive.

AOC endorsement:


* * *

CA: Turnout:

WI Senate: “Wisconsin Democrats fear another debacle in November” [Politico]. “Mitch McConnell and Chuck Schumer effectively declared the first-term senator a favorite to keep her seat in November by leaving [Tammy Baldwin] off their lists of top-tier Senate races. After their pronouncements, major outside groups in both parties skipped Wisconsin in their initial $120 million of spending planned for this fall — triggering fears among state Democrats that the party will take victory for granted. But there’s palpable concern here among Democrats — and Baldwin especially — that Wisconsin is ripe for a repeat of 2016, when Donald Trump carried the state by less than a percentage point and GOP Sen. Ron Johnson surged to a surprise reelection behind a flood of late spending from conservative groups…. Baldwin might have reason to worry. She’s the most liberal of the 10 Democrats up for reelection in states Trump won. She’s voted with the president just 22 percent of the time, the lowest among her 2018 colleagues, and is the only one to support Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All plan.” • Maybe Clinton will visit this time. That should do it. Or maybe the liberal Democrats see Baldwin as a problem, and are cleaning up the situation?

VA-06: “This Progressive Is Betting Her Populist Platform Can Win In Trump Country” [HuffPo]. “Progressive activist Jennifer Lewis quietly clinched the Democratic nomination for Virginia’s 6th Congressional District in June, handily defeating three opponents, including an establishment favorite with twice as much campaign cash…. Lewis’ candidacy is an intriguing test case for the national left — especially in the wake of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s upset win in New York. (Lewis sent a member of her team to help Ocasio-Cortez the weekend before the election.)… Lewis, 36, a mental health professional and prominent opponent of the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, maintains that she can defeat her Republican opponent, state Del. Ben Cline, by appealing to voters of all parties ― as well as disenchanted nonvoters ― fed up with money in politics and hungry for affordable health care and clean water.”

SC-01: “National Democrats return to deep-red South Carolina district” [McClatchy]. “National Democrats sent a Washington operative to South Carolina’s First Congressional District this week — a second visit in just three weeks since Republican incumbent Rep. Mark Sanford lost his primary election. The return trip sends a strong signal Democrats see a big chance to retake control of a seat they haven’t held since 1981 — in a year when the party needs to win 23 races to win back control of the House. The Democratic effort appears to be a sign the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the party’s official fundraising arm for House candidates, is preparing to make crucial investments in Democratic candidate Joe Cunningham’s campaign. That could include broadcasting the district as a potential pick-up opportunity on the party’s “Majority Makers” list. Cunningham might even land in the DCCC’s prestigious ;Red-to-Blue’ program, which entitles an election cycle’s most promising Congressional candidates to significant ‘organizational and fundraising support.’*” NOTE * As long as they agree to spend four hours a day on the phone servicing donors, yes. • Not a word on policy, of course. So, just what we need! Another Blue Dog!

MA-07: “After New York’s electoral upset, eyes turn to Massachusetts” [ABC]. “‘This is Massachusetts. Every Democrat is going to vote the same way,” [challenger Ayanna ] Pressley said. ‘The hate that is coming out of this White House will not be defeated by a reliable vote on the floor of Congress. The hate coming out of this White House will be defeated by a movement and a coalition.'”

WI-01: Nice:


“Which Politicians are Taking Money from Immigrant Detention Profiteers?” [LittleSis]. “[Some] Democratic elected officials on the federal level who oppose family detention… take significant sums from GEO Group and CoreCivic…. Republicans raise more money from the industry, but Democrats and their PACs have still taken significant sums, including $52,750 in direct contributions this cycle with a $10,000 contribution from the GEO Group PAC to the DCCC. The industry also relies heavily on lobbyists with deep Democratic Party ties – the piece notes that four lobbyists for GEO Group and CoreCivic have bundled $350,000 in this cycle alone. For example, Henry Cuellar, a member of Congress who represents Texas’s 28th district, which includes Laredo and other border towns, is a top Democratic recipient of private prison money.”

Realignment and Legitimacy

He’s a real Democrat:

“Almost One Year Later, Many Still Wait for Funds from Charlottesville” [It’s Going Down]. • The DSA national organization seems more than a little opaque, and that could turn into a problem.

“Why Not Democratic Socialism?” [Dayton City Paper]. • From 2012 (!).

Stats Watch

Wholesale Trade, May 2018: “Wholesale inventories climbed a sharp 0.6 percent in May in a build that is nevertheless far short of sales at the wholesale sector” [Econoday]. “Year-on-year rates show how far inventories, at a 5.9 percent gain, are behind sales which are up 11.8 percent. This report is very positive with the inventory build a plus for second-quarter GDP and the need to restock inventories given the enormous strength in sales a plus for production and employment outlooks.” And but: “The improvement this month in the headline data was due to petroleum, farm, and hardware products. Overall, I believe the rolling averages tell the real story – and they improved this month. The short term trends are showing a rebound in the rate of growth – with the long term trends showing an improving cycle beginning in 2016” [Econintersect]. “Inventory levels this month are are the high side of normal – but not recessionary. To add to the confusion, year-over-year employment changes and sales growth do not match.”

Producer Price Index (Final Demand), June 2018: “Services and metals are factors in June’s producer price report where all three headline indexes — overall, less food & energy, less food & energy & trade services — rose 0.3 percent” [Econoday]. “Year-on-year rates are all on the climb… There are definitely signs, though limited of ones, of inflation in this report….” And: “The Producer Price Index rose year-over-year. Food and energy prices did moderate. Here is what the BLS said in part” [Econintersect]. And but: “The level of inflation is still relatively low historically and the PPI is not an especially accurate predictor of future trends. Most economists tend to discount its readings” [MarketWatch].

Atlanta Fed Business Inflation Expectations, July 2018: “Energy may be high and metals may be rising on tariffs, but year-ahead inflation expectations at the business level remain unchanged” [Econoday].

MBA Mortgage Applications, week of July 6, 2018: “Purchase applications for home mortgages rose sharply” [Industry Week].

NFIB Small Business Optimism Index (yesterday): “Lots of job openings at lower wages as companies work to replace higher wage employees” [Mosler Economics]. • An acute reading; see the highlighted portions in the quote from the report.

Shipping: “U.S. Warehouse Supply at Its Tightest in Two Decades” [Wall Street Journal]. “For U.S. retailers, manufacturers, importers and exporters, warehouse space is at its tightest since 2000, when the first dot-com boom was driving strong consumer spending and imports from China were beginning to surge…. As consumers increasingly do their shopping on the internet—even buying big, bulky items like furniture off the internet—the availability of warehouse space to store those goods and fulfill orders continues to decline across the U.S. In the second quarter, industrial real estate availability fell to 7.2%, the lowest measure since 2000, [real-estate brokerage CBRE Group] economists said.”

Shipping: “Robust container production predicted through to 2020” [Splash 247]. “The container fleet grew by a robust 3.7% last year and Drewry anticipates prospects for the coming years are almost as good, with container production expected to be above 3.5 million teu in all four years from 2017-20, which would be the most consistently strong production figures seen in over a decade. ‘Given that buyers had cut back too much on their purchases in 2016, the latest surge in production – up by 80% in 2017 – has concentrated on standard equipment and particularly the 40ft high-cube,’ added Foxcroft. ‘Drewry forecasts that 75% of capacity built in the second half of this decade will be of this type.’ This fleet expansion is still being driven by the leasing sector. Shipping lines have focused their investment on ships rather than boxes in recent years, while the lease sector – invigorated by a series of mergers that has created a new market leader in Triton following its merger with TAL two years ago – is seeing the major players jockeying for position.”

Shipping: “US shippers face daunting intermodal peak season” [Journal of Commerce]. “Intermodal traffic rose 7 percent in the first five months of the year, according to the Intermodal Association of North America. The number of 40-foot containers moving on the rails rose 7 percent, while 53-foot containers increased 6.4 percent and trailer-on-flatcar shipments jumped 17 percent. In the past five years, overall intermodal volume grew 12 percent; domestic business increased 20 percent. Much of the upswing in this year’s domestic intermodal has been tied to the US electronic logging device (ELD) mandate. As truckload capacity tightened to record levels, shippers have turned to rail to get goods off port docks. Because truck drivers can no longer use paper log books, making trips longer in many respects and forcing some drivers to leave the industry, some regional drays from ports have transferred to intermodal hauls. Intermodal marketing companies (IMCs) and truckers are warning cargo owners that this peak season will be as tight as ever, and the last minute, or 11th hour, appears to be now, and not in August.

Supply Chain: “Does reshoring need a reboot?” [Logistics Management]. “The amount of manufacturing being brought back to the United States is once again failing to keep up with offshored volumes, according to the latest Reshoring Index. In fact, imports of manufactured goods from the 14 countries that are typically associated with offshoring grew 8 percent last year—reaching a record-high value of $55 billion and the largest one-year increase since the economic recovery of 2011.”

Mr. Market: “U.S. stocks in broad retreat as latest China tariffs rekindle trade-war jitters” [MarketWatch]. “U.S. stocks are poised to snap a four-session winning streak Wednesday after the Trump administration announced new tariffs on Chinese goods, further escalating tensions between the U.S. and its major trading partners, which some investors fear could morph into a full-on trade war.”

Five Horsemen: “In late morning trade, Seattle sluggers Amazon and Microsoft are within a fractional point of record highs” [Hat Tip, Jim Haygood].

Five Horsemen July 11 2018

NakedCap Mania-Panic Index: “Yesterday’s market rise lifted the mania-panic index to 55 (complacency) despite an increase in the put-call ratio to 0.98” [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 10 2018

Health Care

“CMS slashes navigator funding to just $10 million” [ModernHealthCare]. “The CMS has released an annual funding notice for navigators for the federal exchange. Applicants will compete for just $10 million in funding, down from $36 million last year. They will also be expected to promote not just qualified health plans but association and short term plans as well. A minimum of $100,000 will be awarded in each of the 34 states that use Healhcare.gov to enroll people into coverage. Contracts will go to chambers of commerce, small businesses, trade associations, and faith-based organizations to recruit navigators. Funding for navigators has fallen 84% since 2016 when funding was $62.5 million.” • Not good, but it’s even more unfortunate Obama designed and implemented a system so complex you need professional help to understand it.

“Sometimes Patients Need Other Patients” [The Incidental Economist]. “In an ideal world, when we are faced with a new health problem, a clinician is available to sit down and address all our questions and anxieties about the condition and its treatment. This ideal is rarely met in the United States health system. More typically, we’re rushed through doctor visits that fly by too quickly for us to gather our thoughts. Other patients can help. They have (or have had) your condition, as well as your anxieties and questions, and they’ve found a path through. Their journeys can be informative and helpful, and can also help you prepare for the next session with a doctor. ‘There’s a lot about the patient experience that doctors and nurses cannot convey because they haven’t gone through it,’ Ms. [Noel] Peters said. ‘You can get a much better sense of what it means to be a patient from another patient.'”


“Would You Download A Gun?” [Safe Haven]. “The Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) is announcing that it has reached a settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice in SAF’s lawsuit on behalf of Cody Wilson and Defense Distributed over free speech issues related to 3D files and other information that may be used to manufacture lawful firearms…. Americans may now “access, discuss, use, reproduce or otherwise benefit from the technical data” that the government had previously ordered Defense Distributed to cease distributing, tweeted libertarian magazine Reason.” • I knew it would be the First Amendment….

Class Warfare

“Why Envy Might Be Good for Us” [Sapiens]. “If the behavior of 20th-century hunter-gather societies is anything to go by, over and above its obvious selective benefits for individuals, envy formed part of the cocktail of traits that ultimately assisted Homo sapiens to form and maintain strong social groups…. Ju/’hoansi egalitarianism was not born of the ideological dogmatism that we associate with 20th-century Marxism or the starry-eyed idealism of New Age ‘communalism.’ There was no manifesto of ‘primitive communism.’ Rather, it was the organic outcome of interactions between people acting explicitly in their own self-interest in a highly individualistic society. This was because, among foraging Ju/’hoansi, self-interest was always policed by its shadow, envy—which, in turn, ensured that everyone always got a fair share, and that those with the natural charisma and authority to ‘lead’ exercised it with great circumspection.” • Very interesting!

“New Era for Bike-Share in New York: Dockless and Electric Bikes” [New York Times]. “New York recently approved new rules for electric bikes, allowing so-called pedal-assist bicycles that require a rider to pedal to activate an electric motor and to keep the bike moving. Bikes favored by delivery workers, known as throttle-controlled electric bikes, that can travel faster than 20 m.p.h. will remain illegal, a decision that raised concerns over discrimination against a largely immigrant work force.”

“Unions Could No Longer Get Medicaid Money Under New Trump Proposal” [Governing]. “The Trump administration on Tuesday proposed rolling back an Obama-era rule that allows Medicaid payments to be diverted to unions supporting home health care workers….”

“Opinion: Maybe the labor market isn’t so tight after all” [MarketWatch]. “Every month, economists struggle to reconcile a strong jobs report with a tepid increase in wages. How is it that hiring is solid — an average 198,000 new jobs added each month for the past year — the unemployment rate is near multi-decade lows, employers are complaining about a lack of qualified workers, yet wage growth is still flat-lining at a 2.7% annual rate?… Until things change, or a more convincing argument comes along, we are left to conclude that, while not obvious to the naked eye, there is still enough slack in the labor market to satisfy strong demand.”

News of The Wired

“Atomic Anxiety and the Tooth Fairy: Citizen Science in the Midcentury Midwest” [The Appendix] (2014). “the scientists of the Greater St. Louis Committee for Nuclear Information not only expressed their misgivings, but also proved the validity of their concerns with a citizen science project carried out on a massive scale. The study collected more than 250,000 baby teeth from the children of St. Louis city and county and analyzed them for traces of radioactivity. This effort to understand and inform the public about the effects of radioactive fallout from above-ground atomic weapons testing ultimately persuaded President John F. Kennedy to sign the Limited Nuclear Test Ban Treaty in 1963. Tiny teeth, it turned out, could speak louder than bombs.” • Citizen science is one of the obvious use cases for a Jobs Guarantee; Kelton et al. suggest species monitoring, but as this example shows, there are plenty more options. It’s ridiculous insane that we have digital metric f*cktons of surveillance data from the Intertubes, but scientists have to scratch for pennies to get data about the real, physical, natural world.

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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 (Carla):

The National Arboretum in Washington, DC. What a lovely vista!

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About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. flora

    re: 2018

    Meanwhile, back at the ranch where the really *important* work gets done….
    From Taibbi: Killing Dodd-Frank could Lead to the Next Crash

    Then again, the Democrats showed their colors when they gave him the [bank deregulation] win. Nobody will say so, but everyone on the Hill knows why this bill passed. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, three of the bill’s Democratic co-sponsors, North Dakota’s Heidi Heitkamp, Indiana’s Joe Donnelly and Montana’s Jon Tester, are three of the Senate’s biggest recipients of financial-services donations. Quelle surprise!


    1. HotFlash

      Interesting that these three are big recipients of Wall Street cash. Would I be correct in guessing that in these (relatively) sparsely-populated states, senate campaigns are are less expensive than, say, for New York or CA senators? IOW, that they are cheap dates?

      1. Big River Bandido

        From Wall Street’s POV, all politicians are cheap dates. Compared to their other expenses, buying Congresspeople is a bargain.

    2. DonCoyote

      And, as I posted in another thread, Donnelly & Heitkamp are polling below their Republican challengers in their 2018 Senate races. Because why settle for Republican-lite when you can have the real thing?

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        In those low population states and their races, people dissatisfied with Heitkamp and Tester and Donnelly and etc. might vote for leftish or leftist alternatives so their “no” votes can be studied for effect. If enough “defectors to the left” can prevent a rightward Democrat from ever being elected to national office in these states, the DemParty can be somewhat decontaminated by the permanent deletion of these rightward democrats.

    3. diptherio

      Familyblogging Tester….and the sad thing is, he’ll probably never be primaried…

      1. allan

        On this list of the largest US banks, #13 – 43, the ones with assets more than $50 billion and
        less than $250 billion, are the “community banks” that Tester, Donnelly and Heitkamp
        claimed they were championing by backing the bill.

        Tester fooled many people in 2006 (including me) and 2012 (not me), but in 2018 he’s not fooling anybody.

        1. diptherio

          $50-250 billion, huh? Pretty sure Valley Bank of Ronan doesn’t make the cut then. Community banks, my heiny! Who’s communities are these banks serving? Not mine, that’s for sure.

          Assuming you’re in MT, wanna do an NC meet-up in Hot Springs? You and me and montanamaven? Maybe we could get some Idahoan readers to drive over, too ;-)

          1. allan

            I bank at a “community bank” on the list, but as a member of the coastal elites in spirit if not quite in actuality, my flyover abode is about 1500 miles to the east, and so would sadly have a hard time making a Northern Rockies Meetup.

  2. Jim Haygood

    Castrated pets claw at their cages, but the trade war caravan rolls on:

    In an 88-11 vote on Wednesday, the Senate approved a symbolic motion backing a role for Congress in imposing tariffs based on national security, such as those Trump imposed on steel and aluminum imports and is contemplating on autos.

    The non-binding effort was sponsored by retiring Senator Bob Corker, a Tennessee Republican who has been a critic of Trump’s trade agenda and is especially concerned about damage to his home state from a tariff on auto imports.

    “This is not being imposed for national security reasons,” Corker said on the Senate floor. “This is an abuse of presidential authority.”

    For Republicans wary of taking on a president popular with GOP voters, the vote was a display of frustration over Trump’s tariffs. Yet it also shows their reticence to open themselves to criticism from the president before November’s congressional elections that will determine whether the GOP maintains control of the House and Senate.


    Half a century ago — in those long-ago days when Congress viewed itself as an equal partner with the president in fashioning policy — Congress foolishly granted presidential authority to impose tariffs on national security grounds.

    Now, after having ceded most of its other powers to the executive including warmaking, 88 agitated gerbils in the Senate are unable to take it back.

    The least we can do is fling open their cage doors and let the harmless little critters scurry off into the wild from whence they came.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      During those 50 years, much of America’s manufacturing base has been eroded away.

      We’re at a situation not unlike that when the mother of the last Moorish king said to her son, leaving Alhambra, ‘go ahead, cry like a woman, for you did not fight like a man*.’

      She was a sexist, to many today…modern women also fight to keep manufacturing jobs.

      *Something to that effect.

  3. DJG

    Caroline O., revived public scholar and savant at catching whiffs of Russians in the air: The original tweet is nonsense. But the comments made me feel as if I had fallen into a mustard mine. (It is a mineral, right? And Hillary is running, right? And the election was stolen from us, right?)

    1. ambrit

      A) Mustard is a mineral, right? Sorry, no. It is a soon to be patented pharmaceutical treatment biological.
      B) Hillary is running, right? Yes on both counts. She is running, and even farther to the Right.
      C) The election was stolen from us, right? Yes. By Hillary.

      1. Synoia

        Mustard is a mineral, right

        No. Mustard is made from the Flowers of the Mustard Plant.

        Large amount of mustard are grown in the UK’s East Anglia, for Coleman’s Mustard, where the fields turn bright yellow at harvest time.

        What is to patent about a spice which has been eaten for centuries, if not millennia?

      2. DJG

        Sweetpeas: Alice in Wonderland, chapter IX, of that holy book >>

        `I dare say you’re wondering why I don’t put my arm round your waist,’ the Duchess said after a pause: `the reason is, that I’m doubtful about the temper of your flamingo. Shall I try the experiment?’

        `He might bite,’ Alice cautiously replied, not feeling at all anxious to have the experiment tried.

        `Very true,’ said the Duchess: `flamingoes and mustard both bite. And the moral of that is–“Birds of a feather flock together.”‘

        `Only mustard isn’t a bird,’ Alice remarked.

        `Right, as usual,’ said the Duchess: `what a clear way you have of putting things!’

        `It’s a mineral, I think,’ said Alice.

        `Of course it is,’ said the Duchess, who seemed ready to agree to everything that Alice said; `there’s a large mustard-mine near here. And the moral of that is–“The more there is of mine, the less there is of yours.”‘

        1. AbateMagicThinking but Not Money

          DLG and Mustard* Mine experience.

          As a Brit looking at the Conservative Party’s on-going, decades-old deep divisions, which are becoming increasingly entertaining (eg Boris’s, “Bleep business.”**) one can conclude that they are irredeemably lost in the lower galleries of the mustard mine which are flooded with the bile of entitlement.


          * nb the English mustard in question can be a considerable shock to the sinuses in even small quantities.

          ** Business in the US beware; Boris is palsy walsy with DT. Does the Dirty Digger realise what he has done?

  4. ambrit

    That bit about CMS slashing ‘navigator’ funding is rich. You surely must be joking about calling the ‘navigators’ professionals. Here, in the rustic paradise of South Central (Mississippi) the local “Heritagecare” phone bank, run by General Dynamic, pays its’ ‘professionals’ $9.50 USD an hour to ‘navigate’ the poor sods through the maze of metallic plans.
    So, one could reasonably argue that Trump is hewing to an old fashioned Republican policy. The elimination of Socialism. His contribution here is that he’s eliminating a Socialism for the Rich program as well as the usual ‘neo-traditionalist’ eliminations. If this keeps up, General Dynamics will have to go back to old fashioned weapons building to make a living.

  5. DonCoyote

    “The entire spectrum of House Democrats, party leadership, [campaign] leadership, is trying to assess what she wants to do and how ready she is to play ball how we can neutralize and co-opt her,” said one Democratic source.
    They want to know “how does her coming to Washington change my plan, or even help my plan? Crowley gave me money. Lots of it. What can I get from her? Can I at least blame her when things go wrong?

    Fixed it for them.

    Although this quote, from Peter Welch, was classic:
    “We’re members of Congress,” he quipped. “We have a tendency to get things wrong as frequently as possible.”

    1. polecat

      Look at it as the House Democrats dribbling their blueballs all over the field, always missing the goals posted, while she continues to nock, aim, and shoot her arrows of good fortune where, in much of the public’s opinion, they’ll land true ..

  6. voteforno6

    Re: Ocasio-Cortez Jacobin Interview

    If I wasn’t convinced before, I am now – she’s for real. It’s rather apparent that the Democratic establishment isn’t sure what to make of her – they think she’s one thing, when she’s actually another. If they don’t watch out, she and others like her are going to steal their lunch money.

    1. Oregoncharles

      And a skeptical note: https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/07/11/the-wisdom-of-serpents/

      I’m not endorsing the article, esp. since I know very little about her. But I thought the other side should be heard.

      I would add that Ocasio-Cortez is the sort of Democrat Greens avoid running against. Talking about a “Green New Deal,” as she did, probably seals the deal, pending her performance in office.

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        Thanks for the read. Great call for us to ACT NOW on any resurgent hope. It’s not about a celebrity candidate.

      2. Jeff W

        Wow, I found that article astonishingly unconvincing. (And I realize you were not endorsing it.)

        It’s not clear if Andrea Ocasio-Cortez’s father was an architect or a small business owner? (“Not that it matters,” the article helpful advises us.) “She strikes me, personally, as culturally a Westchester County product, not the Bronx”? (At least the author affords us a bit of space regarding the observation with the word “personally.”) The author finds Ocasio-Cortez “a bit too telegenic”? (Points for honesty, at least.) Acknowledging that Ocasio-Cortez might have highlighted those factors in her background favorable to a Bronx primary run, somehow I wouldn’t rule out telegenic people, with either architect or small business dads, who are “culturally Westchester product[s],” as being legitimately for Medicare-for-All, fully-funded public schools or any of the things Ocasio-Cortez stood for.

        And then there’s this:

        And since it is a proven fact that the Democrat Party is utterly corrupt, in bed with Wall Street and big corporate entities in agriculture, telecoms, and pharmaceuticals, as well as the military itself — why would one want to give a candidate FOR this utterly corrupt party the benefit of the doubt?

        Maybe because that candidate did not take a dime of money from those Wall Street and big corporate entities in agriculture, telecoms, and pharmaceuticals or any other corporate entities?

        I think pinning one’s hopes on any one individual—Bernie Sanders, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, whomever—is not a good idea because the problems within the Democratic Party are systemic and individuals can do only so much in influencing and changing systems. We can make whatever assessments we want about the willingness or ability of those within the system to change it but to assume that every individual won’t simply because he or she is within the system—especially when a key factor within the system (i.e., taking or forgoing corporate cash) is elided—seems, to me, like pretty binary thinking.

        1. freedomny

          He Jeff – First of all her father was an architect And a small business owner,

          Second — you are missing the point. It’s not about any one individual, and I think Alexandria has made that clear. There are TONS of Alexandria’s among us.

          Let’s enjoy this moment. ( It’s not televised :)

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          From the little bits you have quoted from that article, the author sounds like either a spitefully envious little purity-jerk of a purity azzhole, or otherwise an undercover agent of the Pelosi-Clintonites spreading some desinformatziya.

          1. Summer

            It’s the lingering effects of the Obama playbook that he’s more worried about.
            I don’t believe that is the kind of disinformation that would appeal to Pelosi or Clintonites. It’s hard on their party. That propaganda would have been heavier on personal atracks and less about the party.

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              Good point.

              So . . . . the author might be burned and traumatized by the betrayal of Mr. Hope and Change? Could be.

              Enough so that he never noticed that she does not appear to have been funded and sponsored by the kinds of backers and funders that Obama was funded by? And not way-smoothed from place to place by sweepers shaping the ice in the curling stone’s path the way Obama was? Again, could be.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      To win a war, it helps to

      1. not under-estimate your greedy opponents.

      2. not set expectations too high.

    3. freedomny

      There are a WHOLE bunch of AOC type candidates all across the country. The Dems have no clue what is happening and about to happen.

    4. Summer

      “If they don’t watch out, she and others like her are going to steal their lunch money.”

      I have a nagging question, bothering me more lately:
      How is anything organized in any way on the internet or social media being kept a secret?

      The neoliberalism that really appeared to take the globe by surprise and by storm, started out covertly and behind the scenes. Very covert.

      1. flora

        Well, yes.
        Huge fortunes, which are small in number, often prefer to remain covert in their actions.
        Whereas, populist candidates representing the wishes of large numbers of voters don’t really need covertness, imo. There’s a reason the neoliberals seem fine with voter suppression.

        The .01% few hide their aspirations in order to win elections against the democratic impulse of the many. This is true in both parties, imo.

        Shorter: the .01% of *neoliberal* interest does rely on stealth, but the broad middle does not need to rely on stealth. And, equally important, not all the .01% are neoliberals. Think FDR.

        1. Summer

          I would think FDR, but it’s the 21st Century and a lot happened since FDR – “saving capitalism from itself…” okay, yeah, right…
          What happens to what are considered left wing movements in the USA? Infiltration.
          Before they get off the ground, sabotage is likely.

          That would be the benefit of some ground work that is covert. Really seeing who is who in a movement.

          And if a movement gets off the ground good, there would still need to be some covert action.
          Especially if progress is in sight, the movement really wants eyes behind its back. Just being real.

      2. Big River Bandido

        One of the weaknesses of a crumbling regime (neoliberalism, for example) is a tendency toward smugness and self-satisfaction at its own success. This makes it start to get lazy, lose its competitive edge and compensate with bald power moves, and develop blindness toward new things, new ideas, new people, new ways of working and living. Ensconced in power, establishments corrupt themselves in part by building a group think home around them and sealing themselves in with all other true believers. They develop a contempt for all outsiders and insurgents, particularly those that challenge their authority within the established structure. They get so comfortable in their bubble that it doesn’t occur to them that other people might be struggling. They are blind to it. So when the denouement finally begins to happen, they’re the last to realize, even when it was staring them in the face the whole time.

        (They’re not reading sites like NC. They’re reading the house organs that re-affirm their basic prejudices and assuming that’s all there is.)

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          They wouldn’t even have spies and agents reading sites like NC to gather social intelligence and report back to headquarters?

  7. FADS-A Haplotypte

    On ““Why Envy Might Be Good for Us”; I take these articles with a huge salt lick and a lot of ire. The majority of European humans today do not carry hunter gatherer genes, they carry farmer genes. There is some evidence that these genetic differences also influence behavior.

    Farming changed humanity, genetically. You cannot cannot turn back that clock unless you change the way you and your children live.

    I have the FAD-A haplotype and changes in genes such as CPTA1 that link me to the hunter gatherers of the Danube who ate copious amounts of fish and well as some Saami heritage. So you will excuse me if I get tired of people who say they want to be like me. It harkens back to the days of the Indian Affairs Bureau under John Collier before WWII who wanted to use the Native Americans as an example of how to live.

    You cannot keep farming and expect people to be egalitarian.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Archaeological evidence ( town remains) and so forth indicate an egalitarian civilization of several millions of . . . farmers? . . . mega-gardeners? . . . terraforming the Amazon region before the Great Explorer Germocaust. So it would appear to have been possible.

      1. Oregoncharles

        Link? I love stuff like that. I know I’ve seen something about it, but there must be more by now.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Stuff like that was being hinted at in America Before Columbus by Charles Mann. Lambert Strether wrote a post or two about it here back in the past. Here is a wiki-link.
          ( The link makes it look like I remembered the title wrong. Oh well . . . )

          By the way, there is a waterway link between the Orinoco River and the Rio Negro ( meaning the Amazon River System). It has always been assumed to be natural by Western Geography.
          But I have wondered whether it was dug on purpose by pre-Invasion peoples to wire up together the Orinoco and Amazon systems. I don’t know how the matter would be studied.
          Here is a link. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casiquiare_canal )

      2. Procopius

        I should read more of that article to see why he concluded the community was egalitariarian. I’ve been strongly influenced by a book called Nonzero, by Robert Wright. Unlike Graeber’s book, which I have never completed because it was so boring, I was fascinated by his anthropological anecdotes about culture in early stages of technology. His main thesis is that “cultural development,” which pretty much takes place as population becomes denser and trade is more possible, is a non-zero-sum game, and that the progress of civilization is pretty much a development of customs and rules that enable an increase of trust. His stories point out that early stage societies are very violent, constantly engaged in hostilities, needing to watch their backs and their neighbors all the time. Headhunting was very widespread among societies we have been able to learn about. From his anecdotes, it looks to me as if authoritarianism was nearly universal in agricultural communities, often with the “Big Man” being ascribed god-like powers. I sure would like to find more books like this one.

    2. eg

      Newsflash — almost none of us are farmers anymore. If your epigenetic thesis is correct, expect further changes.

      1. FADS-A Haplotype

        It is not my Epigentic thesis, it is the Epigentic thesis. And yes, there will be further changes, but that misses the point of my thesis, that farmers cannot be egalitarian because of these epigentic changes that occurred when we moved away from a hunting and gathering society.

    3. ObjectiveFunction

      Everybody who has ever owned multiple pets — mammals or birds, don’t know re reptiles — knows too well that envy is not an emotion limited to humans!

  8. diptherio

    Tester’s entire campaign this year seems to be built around two things: being able to work with Trump, and vets, vets, vets, vets, vets, vets. Did I mention vets? He’s real big on vets…as in veterans, not veterinarians.

    It’ll probably work. The other options aren’t any better.

    1. DJG

      diptherio: The problem with vets is that endless genuflecting to vets never seems to get around to why we have this endless number of vets. “Wounded warriors,” too, in icky civilian-speak favored by the likes of Tester. The eight or so wars in the Middle East are producing lots of vets to exploit.

      And the problem with vets is that here in Illinois we have the unproven Tammy Duckworth, who is milking the vet stuff for all its worth, even as she can’t quite think of, oh, Medicare for All with Mental / Dental.

      This is one way in which the war comes home. The sheer boredom of having to listen to the glories of vets (and let us not forget Brother Tom Cotton of Arkansas, war-head extraordinaire.)

      1. Arizona Slim

        Another thing about vets:

        The other day, I was visiting on a YouTube channel that belongs to an active duty Marine. He just announced that he was not going to re-enlist, and you’d think that the sky was falling.

        But then there was another commenter who mentioned a 25% re-enlistment rate after the first tour of duty. I asked for clarification. Was that for the entire military or just the Marines. According to that other commenter, that figure was just for the Marines.

        So, out here in the civilian world, there is quite the fuss made over veterans. But, when it comes to serving, most of them are in the “one and done” category. Which, to me, sounds like they’re not too keen on the notion of endless wars. They’re voting with their feet and getting out.

        1. AbateMagicThinking but Not Money

          To Arizona Slim a question from a 52nd (or is it 53rd) state-ian, piqued by “one and done”:

          Once a vet; goobermint heathcare for life? Sweet (deal in the US way of doing things – but for those in the first, kinda meh)!

          Did the Roman empire fall because the deal for retired vets was better outside the empire than in?


          1. Procopius

            No, you don’t get government healthcare for life unless you’re disabled to some extent, or stay in for 20 or more. It’s a great deal if you live in the States, because anything not covered by Medicare is covered by Tricare. If you don’t live in the States, it’s not so good, because you’ve got to pay up front and then they only reimburse 3/4, after a $150 deductible and you can’t use Medicare. If you live near a military base you can use their medical facilities free, but you might have to wait until active duty people are taken care of. If you don’t live near a base you can use the VA, if you’re retired, and it’s the best medical care system in the world, even though the Republicans and Blue Dogs keep trying to destroy it.
            As I understand it, in the Empire you enlisted for life and instead of a pension you got a plot of land. No, there weren’t better benefits elsewhere.

        2. Darthbobber

          So the military has always been. To become a lifer, one must make the requisite promotions in time or get tossed overboard. If retention were much higher, that would be a problem. Military needs large numbers in the lower ranks, numbers dropping each step up the ladder. Army, for example, doesn’t need enough staff sergeants and above to accommodate even a third of enlistees wanting to be lifers.

          And aging privates through buck sergeants are not desired. Lower ranks need to be kept young.

          1. polecat

            Look to the neo-hessians* to make up any shortfall ..

            *waves to a certain mr. prince.

    2. JohnnySacks

      Vets are his little black dress, bring it out as required for any occasion, especially when you need to shore up your creds after voting on some corporate subservience crap legislation. Barbaric Romanesque policy – patriotic litmus tests paraded before Caesar for health care – thumbs up, you live, thumbs down, to the lions. Anything but universal healthcare, as usual. I thought he was better than that, or maybe I wished he would be better than that?

  9. HotFlash

    Great links as usual, Lambert. Food for thought as well as my reg’l’r lunch. Sending a comment-salad here:

    1.) RE Hillary 2020 Read the responses; they’re a hoot. (Apparently, the narrative is “baseless” because — hold onto your hats here, folks — Clinton denied it.)
    — (me) I read a bunch of tweets, but nobody said, “Promise?”

    2.) Re: WI-01: Nice: (tweets from Gregory Pecked)
    — (me) so who is this CathMeyers? Only website I could find on a Duck-Duck-Go search was https://cathymyersforcongress.com/, one page, a heart-warming bio and *no* (zero, zip, zilch, nada, nary-a-one) policy did I see.

    3.) Mr HotFlash just went off to mail his absentee ballot for the MI primary. He was delighted to find Dr. Al Said’s most informative and exciting website — state-sponsored unconstrained *neutral* internet for all — he calls it MiFi — on top of a platform that looks soooo Bernie and AOC’s endorsement just ICEd the cake (no pun intended, it just happened). However, similar searches for, say, Dem candidates for congressional repin his district came up with — nothing, not even the puff-piece that Cathy Meyers has for WI-01. If a candidate can’t even produce a websitethat says hello, who is advising these people?

    1. flora

      Ballotpedia is pretty good.

      Here’s the Michigan US House lineup.
      This opens to the US House race page.

      For different office races,
      click the race level (gov, us house, etc) in the top box to find the candidates in that race.
      Abdul El-Sayed is there in the governor’s race list. Clicking his name brings up a bio and relevant webpage (under ‘Contact’), if available. This works for all the candidates.

      Ballotpedia has info for all 50 states’ races.

      I think it is a better site than searching for candidates with a google search. imo.

      1. flora

        adding: of course, we know who controls google search results, and how great those results are. /s

        1. flora

          adding: as an aside.

          If it weren’t for ballotpedia I wouldn’t know the legal spelling for Dr. Al Said’s name. (I cut and pasted the spelling from ballotpedia.) And no way could I look up AOC by her full name. That’s why I like ballotpedia.

      2. Procopius

        @flora – thanks so much for that ballotpedia link. I’ve been getting very antsy because the Michigan primary is so late. Mr. El Sayed looks good. I don’t think I can bring myself to trust Shri Wossisname.

      1. HotFlash

        (some time later) — thanks for this, I could not find it from her website when I looked this aft. I used DuckDuckGo not Google, and it sent me to CathyMeyersForCongress/about. Even after I deleted the /about tag, I couldn’t get any other options besides ‘About’. Another mystery of the Internets, I suppose. She looks like an honest-to-gouda progressive, and Flora, thanks for the ballotopedia link. A contribution to Ms Meyers is being considered :).

    2. ChrisPacific

      If the narrative is “baseless” but then Hillary does end up running in 2020, does that mean the Russians got to her?

    3. Big River Bandido

      However, similar searches for, say, Dem candidates for congressional repin his district came up with — nothing, not even the puff-piece that Cathy Meyers has for WI-01. If a candidate can’t even produce a websitethat says hello, who is advising these people?

      The DCCC basically tells Democrat candidates to scrub their websites of policy. So if a Democrat puts up a website with no policy focus, you can probably assume that they’re just playing the game and that they are phony Democrats.

      That said, I would not assume every district in the nation will be able to field an AOC-inspired candidate this year. Most of the filing deadlines for state primaries are already past. Doubtless AOC chose to endorse Dr. Al Said because he’s an ally. But not every state legislative or Congressional district is likely to have such candidates this time around. It’s harder to campaign in a congressional district in Michigan (which could be very rural and spread-out, requiring more old-school media) compared to NY-14 which is more like a collection of neighborhoods within a large city which can be canvassed on foot. This is why I think it’s exciting that AOC is cross-endorsing other candidates — it’s truly about movement-building, and putting pressure on the old guard.

  10. Left in Wisconsin

    1. Tammy Baldwin is the best politician in the state. She is no shoo-in for re-election but one thing that makes her a good politician is that she is a hard worker who takes nothing for granted. And she’s no dummy: she has Sanders here campaigning for her this week (despite the fact she endorsed HRC) and I’m sure she would politely decline if HRC offered to come out. The two Repubs running against her are both awful. Baldwin has always had to deal with barrages of negative ads against her so that won’t faze her at all.

    2. Turns out Iron Stache has been arrested 9 times. And of the most serious charges – trespassing, theft, property damage on what must have been quite the 27th birthday bender – dating from 1991, where no court records remain, he can’t remember the disposition. None of which I consider disqualifying, but still. Too many have invested too much into his campaign to switch horses now. To HotFlash: Cathy Myers is a very nice teacher from Janesville running a low budget campaign against a pre-anointed Dem activist. She has been dissed the entire campaign.

    1. Stillfeelinthebern

      Cathy Myers is also a local elected official. Member of the Janesville school board. Bryce has run multiple times (I think 3) and never won. Cathy is very personable and relates well to people. She announced her candidacy last year at the 1st convention of Our Revolution (the Wisconsin version) and was back for the 2nd one even though Bernie endorsed Bryce. Not sure why Bernie jump the gun like that.

      Only poll I’ve seen, came today in a very interesting press release from an opposition group. Copy below.

      WI Democrats face choice between a deadbeat dad who has been arrested nine times and a candidate who calls ICE officers “thugs”

      WASHINGTON – On the heels of the first Democratic primary debate in WI-01, Congressional Leadership Fund (@CLFSuperPAC) released polling showing a tie in Wisconsin’s First District Democratic primary. The choice is between Randy Bryce, a deadbeat dad who has been arrested nine times, and Cathy Myers, a candidate who not only wants to dismantle U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), but calls ICE officers “thugs.”

      “Just like Democratic primary voters, CLF is having a tough time deciding which candidate will be more fun to defeat in November,” said Corry Bliss, CLF Executive Director. “Wisconsin Democrats have a difficult choice between a deadbeat dad who has been arrested nine times, or a candidate who not only wants to dismantle ICE, but calls ICE officers ‘thugs.’ We’re looking forward to defeating whoever comes out of the primary.”

      The poll surveyed likely Democratic primary voters and was conducted July 8 – 9, 2018. See full poll results and methodology below:

      2018 Democratic Primary Election Poll
      July 2018

      What is your opinion of Cathy Myers?

      Favorable: 25%
      Unfavorable: 15%
      No opinion: 60%

      What is your opinion of Randy Bryce?

      Favorable: 38%
      Unfavorable: 26%
      No opinion: 36%

      The candidates in the August 14th Democratic Primary Election for United States Congress are Cathy Myers and Randy Bryce. If the election were held today for whom would you vote?

      Cathy Myers: 34%
      Randy Bryce: 33%
      Undecided: 33%

      Survey conducted July 8 through July 9, 2018. 1,020 likely 2018 Democratic Primary Election voters participated in the survey. Survey weighted to match expected turnout demographics for the 2018 Democratic Primary Election. Margin of Error is +/-3.06% with a 95% level of confidence. Totals do not always equal 100% due to rounding.

    2. HotFlash

      Thanks for the reply, LinW. Yes, she does seem very nice, and I hope you do not think I am ‘dissing’ her. This is meant as good advice. A simple four-page, or three, or even two-page website could state her policies and cost maybe $100 and a couple of days’ work, max. Even a slightly web-competent person (such as myself — not fancy, but I can get it done) could tack two or three pages onto her existing site, no problem, she must have somebody around her who could do this, perhaps as a supporter contribution. And maybe get a vote or two? Or a contribution from somebody maybe not in her district but who supports her policies? I notice she has a spiffy contribution banner, but without knowing where she stands on, oh, Medicare for All and such, I wouldn’t consider donating. It’d be *SOOOO EASY* to take some policy onto her website and it’s not too late. Not everybody who votes in her district has a door she can knock on, there are absentee voters for instance in the armed forces, for instance, ..and not everyone uses Facebook and Twitter, which, by their nature, are more ephemeral. A website with actual policy is a cheap, easy, and cost effective method of communicating when to people who want a summary.

      1. HotFlash

        Hmm, found it thanks to commenters here, she seems the real deal. IIRC, Randy Brice’s baggage has been mentioned, but if he wants to work on a pipeline, that’s not progressive.

  11. JerryDenim

    AOC interview Jacobin-

    Great read. Wow. I have no doubt she is going places.

    This line grabbed me: ” AOC:… We knocked down the door and we walked in, and there’s this huge intimidating behemoth, but it’s really just a guy behind the curtain. Once that truth is exposed, people realize it’s just this one little guy behind one little curtain.

    DD- “With a big microphone.”

    Ahh… Lambert’s “Mighty Wurlitzter”

  12. allan

    Eric Komitee, Trump Pick for NY Court, Made Millions as Hedge Fund GC [National Law Journal]
    Komitee joined the New York-based hedge fund in 2008 following an eight-year stint in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn. He identified his net worth at nearly $60 million, according to newly disclosed financial records.

    Eric Komitee, a nominee for a seat on Brooklyn’s federal district court, earned $10.5 million in salary and bonus between 2016 and May 2018 as the general counsel to the hedge fund Viking Global Investors LP, according to newly disclosed financial records. …

    Make America’s Revolving Door Great Again.
    Exactly as demanded by Jethro and Ida Mae down at the diner in Moonshine Hollow, WV.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Komitee’s just following the well-marked footsteps of the saintly James Comey, who spent three years at the world’s largest hedge fund, Bridgewater:

      The deeply philosophical Comey, a religion major from William & Mary who wrote his college thesis on exegesis, found himself comfortably at home inside Bridgewater once he got over the initial shock of transferring from the insular bureaucracy of the defense contractor Lockheed Martin, which he’d served as general counsel.

      “Bridgewater and the FBI are two different institutions, but I promise I will carry those values with me and try to spread them as far as I can within the institution,” he told Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley during his confirmation hearing in 2013.


      Defense kontractor / hedge fund values, komrades: how did that work out for us?

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Interesting timing that he joined in 2008, with the financial crisis in the same year.

    3. flora

      Exactly as demanded by Jethro and Ida Mae down at the diner in Moonshine Hollow, WV.

      Maybe Jethro and Ida Mae voted to stick a finger in the eye of the comfy duopoly, no matter the cost to themselves, and knew it. It’s possible.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Michael Moore predicted Trump’s victory before it happened. He made a speech about it to an auditorium full of people conferring about things and stuff. The Trump campaigned and its supporters grabbed that little 4 minute speech segment and have put their own pictures and music to it to weaponise it for Trumpian purposes.

        It appears to support flora’s thesis as to why Jethro and Ida Mae voted for Donald Trump.

        Here is the link.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        And actually, this was the “very bestest” version I thought I was picking just before. But the one linked to up above is not quite as good. This one is the very bestest. Also clearly musicked and imaged “after-the-fact” by Trump supporters.

  13. Darthbobber

    Charlottesville funds article from Its Going Down. The DSA national organization has its weaknesses, but I’m not at all sure that that’s the problem here.
    I’ll start with this paragraph:
    “For a long time there was a lot of question as to how those relief funds should be disbursed. It is my understanding that local chapters would have preferred the funds be transferred to them and distributed locally, to known victims. I believe that this was not an unreasonable request. As weeks passed I learned that DSA National had seized control of these funds and was uncertain of how to proceed. People repeatedly attempted to reach out to DSA through different social media accounts and never received a response. I later learned that DSA decided that the best course of action was to transfer the funds to the National Compassion Fund.”
    1) There seems to have been one local in the area, (Richmond DSA) which proposed to have the monies transferred to them and distributed (in the form of cash) to those they determined to be victims. What form of accounting was proposed, I don’t know, and in any case both the national org and locals lacked experience as well as knowledge of the laws. This proposal was rejected by the national steering commitee.
    2) DSA National did not “seize” control of the funds (which would not have been possible in any case). It proposed that the proceeds of the various fundraisers that had started up in a variety of places be centralized there instead, and those involved agreed to that course.

    3) Discussion between locals, interested parties and the steering committee went on for awhile, and of the various ideas, the proposal accepted was to tansfer funds to the National Compassion Fund (partly because it did not require police reports or a number of other things that other national organizations did.) I think its almost self-explanatory why they decided not to control the disbursement themselves. At the same time, a local steering committee was created of members from several Va locals, to work with NCF on disbursement.

    4) In December, the national organization turned all funds over to the NCF, and posted an announcement to that effect. From this point forward, the national organization was out of the loop, having transferred the funds to NCF and control within DSA to the local steering committee.

    A good deal of the article seems to be related to the requirement of providing some sort of proof of having received things recognized as service according to some standard. This does of course slow things down, and slows them down even more if you’re a hyper “security culture” activist. But the very attitude I see in parts of the article, and the extent to which I see it shared by many anarchists (prominent in the Charlottesville scrum) leads me to think that this is probably better than handing a large pile of cash to kids in Richmond or elsewhere, and having them distribute it to people (many of whom they know personally) without set or formal standards.

  14. Lee

    Quote of the day:

    I set out to change the world and I think I succeeded. It’s worse now.

    Ralph Steadman

    1. Lee

      It would almost be worth it to see her lose twice to Trump and possibly put a stake through the heart of the Dollar Dem establishment.

    2. Darthbobber

      If she does, my guess is she goes down at the early hurdles. No inevitability. Too much of the allegedly smart money looking elsewhere. Even large pieces of the former Clinton apparatus seeking other patrons.

        1. Procopius

          Really? Having Trump win would be “satisfying?” I guess I really know what you mean, but I think you didn’t think through what you were writing. I would like to see Hillary further humiliated (I reluctantly voted for her because I figured she would be less bad than Trump — lesser evil, again), but not at the expense of having Trump around longer. By the way, I don’t want him impeached without solid evidence of a clear crime, probably money laundering, because I am sure President** Pence would be even worse for the country than Trump.

    3. Big River Bandido

      None of the defects which caused her defeat in 2008 or 2016 have been remedied. Most glaringly (and probably most fatal to her political ambitions), is her tendency to permanently alienate people — even one-time supporters.

  15. funemployed

    Guns aren’t that expensive or hard to get (here in merica, anyhow). Anyone who wants to manufacture his own AR-15, or buy an expensive 3D printer for a gun that can only fire a shot or two, either sports a tinfoil hat, intends criminal activity, or both.

    Also, aren’t there already laws on the books outlawing sharing information about nuclear weapons manufacture? Are those a violation of “free speech” too?

    1. Lee

      If dollars are speech, why not bullets? Are thermonuclear devices a form of personal expression?

    2. George Phillies

      aren’t there already…?

      Didn’t the Progressive case settle that question?

    3. RMO

      Well, it’s not legal for individual citizens to build and own their own personal thermonuclear explosives whereas the firearms in question here are of a type which are legal for private ownership so it’s not the same situation at all. If you outlawed private ownership of these firearms then it would be possible to make distribution of the information of how to construct them illegal. It’s not all that hard to figure out, a couple of minutes looking up what is and isn’t considered a firearm for the purposes of private ownership is all it takes.

  16. ewmayer

    “China vows retaliation for $200 billion US tariff threat [Associated Press]” — Note that tit-for-tat retaliation is literally impossible here, since China imports far less than $200 billion of US goods per year: e.g. 2016 trade-in-goods balance (from the US side of the ledger) was exports of $115.6 billion versus goods imports of $462.6 billion, a 4x imbalance.

    1. Jim Haygood

      Tit-for-tat retaliation can be accomplished by other means. One is quotas (or outright bans) on imports from the US and exports to the US (such as rare earth elements).

      Another is expropriation of US investments in China.

      Once the rule of law is discarded, anything goes.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        The rule of law for agreements like NAFTA and WTO…but luckily, not TPP.

        1. Procopius

          I thought I saw that both Canada and Mexico want elimination of ISDS from NAFTA. I thought I saw (I really should do more research) that the remaining partners had modified ISDS in TPP to be less egregious than what Obama wanted.

      2. Todde

        Another is expropriation of US investments in China.

        You say that like it’s a bad thing.

        I’m working until the day I die. Corporations who left America because of regulations getting g their assets seized sounds fine by me.

        Pain is the best teacher.

      3. The Rev Kev

        Agreed. What if the Chinese slip the Taliban some manpads and anti-tank missiles to even up the score in Afghanistan? It’s what the US did to the Russians when they were in Afghanistan so turn around is fair play, right?
        There is already a cold war between the US and Russia. Trying to start a new cold war between the US and China is another matter as can you be in a cold war with your biggest trading partner? How would that work?
        Trump’s policy seems to force China to accept a subservient role to him, especially in the field of technology, and to accept more US companies and financial services having more control in the Chinese economy. If successful, there may be further demands for China to scale back their military or to end their one-road project. Who knows?
        I would classify this as Not. Going. To. Happen.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          The question is whether the US ships gadgets to Taibei before or after Beijing supplies toys to the Taliban.

        2. RMO

          “It’s what the US did to the Russians when they were in Afghanistan” A little reminder – the U.S. started arming and supporting the Taliban before the U.S.S.R. got involved. They did this with the express purpose of bogging the Soviets down in a quagmire of a war. Ol’ Zbigniew came out and said this in an interview years later and government records confirm that this was indeed the strategy. He asked, what’s more important: the destruction of nuclear armed enemy or a bunch of riled up Muslims. Funny thing was, he carried on to say that the U.S. couldn’t cut military spending because “all the experts agree that the world has become more dangerous since the fall of the Soviet Union” Even by his standards that’s kind of mind boggling. “Yeah, we committed a war crime by fomenting a war, killed thousands and thousands of people and made the world a more dangerous place! Aren’t I the bestest national security advisor ever?”

          1. The Rev Kev

            Fully agree with your comment. Last year they had Rambo III on the TV – the one where he was in Afghanistan. I watched the last few minutes as I was waiting for another movie to start and it got weird. They were going on about all these freedom loving Mujahideen and you just knew that these were the same people that America would be fighting twenty years later. I half expected Osama bin Laden to put in an special guest appearance as a brotherly fighter from allied Saudi Arabia. There was a kid in it too that was friends with Rambo and I idly wondered if whether he joined the Taliban when he grew up.

      4. ewmayer

        One could argue that there is already a huge amount of such expropriation taking place, in form of IP theft.

        I doubt the Chinese are dumb enough to do anything so blatant as to risk an actual trade embargo, but it’s an interesting war-gaming exercise to examine the likely effects of such.

        Re. China sending arms to e.g. the Taliban, anything that would pressure the US to extract itself from that unconscionably long and expensive-in-blood-and-treasure quagmire would actually be doing the country a favor, IMO.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Both Beijing and Washington have plunge-protection teams.

          But Xi can actually order selling of shares they own on Wall Street.

          Trump can’t order the CIA to short stocks in Shanghai, I think.

    2. Summer

      This is from July 6, WaPo. Whatever happens, enjoy the show…

      “As the Trump administration initiates a possible trade war with China, the president’s businesses continue to benefit from partnerships involving the Chinese government, via state-backed companies and investors.

      Chinese government-backed firms are slated to work on parts of two large developments — in Dubai and Indonesia — that will include Trump-branded properties.

      The Trumps are the landlord to one of China’s top state-owned banks, which has occupied the 20th floor of Trump Tower in Manhattan since 2008. The bank’s lease is worth close to $2 million annually, according to industry estimates and a bank filing.

      And despite the Trump administration’s focus on American manufacturing, assembly-line workers in China still produce blouses, shoes and handbags for the clothing line created by Trump’s daughter Ivanka, a White House adviser.

      The tariffs that were set to kick in at 12:01 a.m. Friday are not expected to affect the Trumps’ financial interests, but the family’s business presence in China is awkward as the two countries ratchet up their protectionism.

      Trump’s business interest in China is long-standing. He began applying for trademarks there in 2005, and in 2012, the Trump Hotel Collection opened an office in Shanghai, its first in Asia.

      Yet in his political career, Trump has repeatedly boasted about his ability to best the Chinese in negotiations, starting with the 2015 speech that launched his presidential bid.

      “When was the last time anybody saw us beating, let’s say, China in a trade deal? They kill us. I beat China all the time. All the time.”

      Trump did not mention that less than three months before, his company considered another deal with a state-backed entity in China…”

      Has anything changed since 7/6? Whether or not the tariffs nefotiations affect Ivanka may tell you more than how they’re affecting Kentucky will tell you.

    1. ewmayer

      “US Government admits it has taken away millions of children from their parents permanently, by way of Empire-of-Chaos warmongering.”

      But that’s been a thoroughly bipartisan effort, so no sexy virtue-signaling opportunities in that kind of a headline.

      1. marym

        At what point does dismissing criticism and protest of current policies as virtue signaling become counter-productive virtue signaling?

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          When the protests have the characteristics of being universal, consistent, and systematic, they are certainly not virtue signaling. Many of the migrant justice protests, sadly, are no such thing.

          1. marym

            I participated in a protest where people were mostly white and middle class (because that’s who lives in that suburban area) (previous comment). There was some emphasis among the speakers on “this administration” and voting (presumably for Dems). There was also reference to slavery, Native American child seizure, and immigration injustices of process and family separation that precede the Trump years.

            Bringing attention to the larger historical context of US international abuses, and the human rights abuses of the Obama years is a good thing. People protesting injustice and cruelty is also a good thing. I strongly believe we build solidarity by showing it, not by withholding it.

  17. Jim Haygood

    After a bad day, Trump comes home and kicks the poodles:

    (REUTERS) – Washington repeated a warning on Wednesday to Western firms invested in Russia’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline to Germany that they were at risk of sanctions.

    “We have been clear that firms working in the Russian energy export pipeline sector are engaging in a line of business that carries sanctions risk,” a spokesman for the U.S. State Department told Reuters.

    “We believe it (the pipeline) would undermine Europe’s overall energy security and stability by providing Russia another tool for the political coercion of European countries, especially Ukraine. Russia understands that this project is dividing Europe, and is using that to its advantage.”

    Five Western firms have invested in Nord Stream 2 – Wintershall and Uniper of Germany, Austria’s OMV, Anglo-Dutch Shell, and France’s Engie.


    This is how the Soviet Union used to rule its COMECON satellites in Europe — with an iron fist.

    1. Carolinian

      Moon of Alabama sets Trump straight on whether Germany will cave to his pipeline demands.

      Trump has the facts, as usual, all wrong. But the U.S. is producing more natural gas than it needs and wants to export it. Compressing the U.S. natural gas into liquefied form for sea transport takes so much energy that the price is inevitably much higher than Russian gas delivered through pipelines. In Germany it will never be competitive to Russian gas. It is understandable that Trump wants Germany to buy U.S. produced liquefied gas. But without competitive pricing and a more plausible sales argument he will have no luck.

      But maybe he can swivel those tank turrets around and point them at our allies saying buy US or else. I believe the Brits used to do this with China.


      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Let’s see what he does when he meets Putin.

        A lot of counter-intuitive stuff here – not getting along with the Europeans but did OK with dictator Rocket Man Kim.

    2. ewmayer

      The role of the State Department is interesting here – Trump seems to be doing his usual blustery and fact-challenged buy-American noising, which in this case aligns nicely with the anti-Russian/pro-Ukro-nazi agenda of the establishment neocons and FP ‘expert’ class.

      Related: good 2016 article by Oilprice’s Nick Cunningham:

      Why the US and Russia Are Headed for a Natural Gas Price War | The Fiscal Times

  18. George Phillies

    The other potential Chinese response is an export embargo. FDR used these against the Japanese during the War of the Resistance (start of WW2, in China). For example they might embargo the export of routers to the United States.

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      We would have to go routerless until we could restore our own router-making capacity.

      It would be harder to do than restoring our own fork, knife and spoon-making capacity. But could it be done?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It’s already hard to find a good, affordable American made bicycle (thanks to all the recommendations yesterday).

        And so many other products that an America, in America, can’t find that are made in America.

        What about in year 2068? What will it look like – all ports, roads and belts owned by our allocation/quotas-grantor, and we live on the kindness of the new hegemon?

        Has China tipped her hand too soon?

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Only if we begin acting in a persistent way to respond to what China has revealed by way of its premature hand-tipping.

          Such action will probably begin with hundreds of millions of individual choices by a hundred million individual Americans who will gradually become aware of eachothers’ actions in this same general direction. They ( we?) will gradually become an “economic culture”. If a hundred million Americans to evolve whatever kind of “economic nationalist” culture we can evolve in the teeth of an anti-American economic-internationalist forcefield-matrix all around us; perhaps we can then build a formalized organized economic nationalist movement on top of that economic nationalist culture . . . the way Black America built the Civil Rights Revolution Movement on top of the Black Church . . . after they had evolved the Black Church into existence.

          So . . . what would an economic nationalist culture look like? What kinds of things would economic nationalism culture-evolvers do at the individual level with their own time and money? What kind of behavior would they look for to identify fellow economic nationalism culture-evolvers like themselves?

          1. wilroncanada

            This Canadian is already making some of those individual decisions about individual purchases by choosing local ahead of “made/grown in USA.” Today at the local “Old Farm Market” I chose Canadian produce, specifically skipping US, New Zealand, Peru. I didn’t pay more for local, and I didn’t suffer pangs of conscience at supporting local food sovereignty.

  19. The Rev Kev

    “Why Envy Might Be Good for Us”

    I wouldn’t take this too far. Imagine going into battle and cocking your rifles when the following conversations happens-

    ‘How come Johnson got a faster promotion than me?’
    ‘Your accommodations are better than mine.’
    ‘You’ve got a better looking rifle than me. I feel triggered.’
    ‘How did you get such a long furlough when I couldn’t.’
    ‘How come you manage to get better camo-cream from the PX than me.’

    Would you want to go into combat or on a dangerous tribal hunt in a group like that? No, me either.

  20. Expat2uruguay

    Lambert, I’m very sorry, but I don’t understand what you’re trying to say here. Could you explain further please?

    * “Racing” is one of those words… I generally translate it to something like “institutional factors prevented us from seeing or reacting to a problem, erased from the article.”

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Just making up a sentence here: “Musk’s accountants were racing to close the books before the end of the quarter.” It isn’t just that they’re moving fast, or that the task is difficult, or that it’s crunch time. It’s that there’s some hidden and unreported factor or obstacle that’s thrown the process off.

      I could be too paranoid on this one but try it out.

  21. flora

    Odd. I suddenly discover I find Clinton and neoliberalism…. boring. The ‘fear, fear, fear’ narrative in play since 2002(?) is boring. This is very odd to me since fear is supposed to be a primary motivator. And normally it is. I guess after almost 20 years of “fear, fear, fear, color-coded threat levels…” the fear-mongering has receded to a dull, annoying, background noise.
    Not that I’m brave. I’m not. But the constant drum beat of “be afraid, be very afraid” has short-circuited the political/MSM ‘be very afraid’ fear response in me. (and Maddow wept.)
    I’m more interested in, and attracted to narratives of progress; stories about where and how the system is once again working for regular people; stories about regular peoples’ fighting for their concerns to be represented in government.


    1. CanCyn

      I share that feeling Flora. I find myself rolling my eyes at much of the FUD (fear, uncertainty and doom) that’s the stuff of our news these days and has been for so long as you point out. I am not a sports fan at all but I work in a community college and I have been totally swept up by the World Cup coverage. We have a high international student population ( thanks to Trump, they’re coming to Canada instead of the US) and they take such joy in the ‘beautiful game’, it has been a lot fun.

    2. JohnnySacks

      Be very careful with that observation, once the concept of fear becomes white noise, the only solution is real fear. Another attack like 9/11 and we’re done, and the reality is that there’s powerful forces who, although may not be openly wishing, are chomping at the bit ready to gain every advantage possible from that solid gold opportunity.

    1. UserFriendly

      I just watched episode 1. Outside of the rapid fire questions about Thomas the Tank engine I knew the answer to all but 2 or 3 questions on the whole episode. Where do I sign up?

  22. UserFriendly

    Wowzers. So I dug into the 1988 Democratic primary a bit after yesterday’s Nation article. That year Vermont had a non binding primary on March 1st (before super tuesday). 50,791 votes total, Dukakis wins 55.8% to Jackson’s 25.7%. They had their binding Caucus On April 19th; 1,304 voters Jackson wins 45.7% to Dukakis 44.6%. Gore drops out days later because it was clear Dukakis had it in the bag already, the only remaining contest Jackson wins is DC. Bernie is great and all but Jackson’s coup in VT required less than 600 people to show up for a contest where all that was left was for the fat lady to open her mouth in a state where the average person thought they voted already. Not that Jackson did Bernie any favors in 2016.

  23. Procopius

    Until things change, or a more convincing argument comes along, we are left to conclude that, while not obvious to the naked eye, there is still enough slack in the labor market to satisfy strong demand.

    I think we need to remember a lesson from the Father of Economics, Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations, Book 1, Chapter 8, paragraph 13:

    We rarely hear, it has been said, of the combinations of masters, though frequently of those of workmen. But whoever imagines, upon this account, that masters rarely combine, is as ignorant of the world as of the subject. Masters are always and everywhere in a sort of tacit, but constant and uniform combination, not to raise the wages of labour above their actual rate. To violate this combination is everywhere a most unpopular action, and a sort of reproach to a master among his neighbours and equals. We seldom, indeed, hear of this combination, because it is the usual, and one may say, the natural state of things, which nobody ever hears of. Masters, too, sometimes enter into particular combinations to sink the wages of labour even below this rate. These are always conducted with the utmost silence and secrecy, till the moment of execution, and when the workmen yield, as they sometimes do, without resistance, though severely felt by them, they are never heard of by other people. Such combinations, however, are frequently resisted by a contrary defensive combination of the workmen; who sometimes too, without any provocation of this kind, combine of their own accord to raise the price of their labour. Their usual pretences are, sometimes the high price of provisions; sometimes the great profit which their masters make by their work. But whether their combinations be offensive or defensive, they are always abundantly heard of. In order to bring the point to a speedy decision, they have always recourse to the loudest clamour, and sometimes to the most shocking violence and outrage. They are desperate, and act with the folly and extravagance of desperate men, who must either starve, or frighten their masters into an immediate compliance with their demands. The masters upon these occasions are just as clamorous upon the other side, and never cease to call aloud for the assistance of the civil magistrate, and the rigorous execution of those laws which have been enacted with so much severity against the combinations of servants, labourers, and journeymen. The workmen, accordingly, very seldom derive any advantage from the violence of those tumultuous combinations, which, partly from the interposition of the civil magistrate, partly from the necessity superior steadiness of the masters, partly from the necessity which the greater part of the workmen are under of submitting for the sake of present subsistence, generally end in nothing, but the punishment or ruin of the ringleaders.

    I do not understand why economists so often seem to have never read any of Adam Smith except that one paragraph about the invisible hand, which is invariable explained falsely (there’s a whole blog, The Legacy of Adam Smith, which rails incessantly about the distortion of what Adam Smith actually wrote and said. They do not actually have to meet, as at Judge Gary’s “little dinners,” to coordinate.

    1. Inode_buddha

      You just made my day. You are the only other person I have ever read who even knows about Gary’s dinners. (I work in the metal trades, nonunion unfortunately….)

  24. Tim Williams

    May have been said already, but, re: AOC in her own words, how can anyone organizing in any field NOT be engaged with electoral politics?

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