2:00PM Water Cooler 7/17/2018

Patient readers, here are some topics to get you started. I will return with more after I complete my post on “Why I hate Google, Twitter, and Facebook.” Talk amongst yourselves! –lambert UPDATE All done.


“This Trade War is a Different Ballgame” [Wolf Street]. “‘Superficial similarities abound with the latest campaign launched by Trump against China. But striking differences suggest Trump’s gambit might have some better leverage,’ [Automotive News Asia editor Hans Greimel] writes.” China has no automobile presence in the US, unlike Japan, when we fought (and lost) that trade war with them.

“Whirlpool Corp. got the new U.S. tariffs it initially wanted, but now it looks like the appliance maker is getting more than it bargained for. Whirlpool’s raw-materials costs have been rising since steel and aluminum tariffs went into effect, offsetting the gain it counted when the Trump administration hit South Korean competitors LG Electronics Inc and Samsung Electronics Co. with levies on imported washing machines” [Wall Street Journal]. Well, you can’t unmake an omelette without unmaking the omelette.

“The United States on Monday launched five new cases at the World Trade Organization, formally challenging tariffs that China, the European Union, Canada, Mexico and Turkey have imposed on more than $20 billion worth of U.S. exports in retaliation for President Donald Trump’s duties on their steel and aluminum exports. A Geneva diplomat said it was possible that some of the separate cases could ultimately be combined. However, the legal claims in each case are not identical, making it harder to say what will happen until the litigation gets to the panel stage, he added. The WTO could be forced to make an extremely high-stakes decision on whether the United States misused a national security exception under WTO rules to impose the steel and aluminum tariffs” [Politico].

“Boeing Says US-China Trade Spat a Concern for Aerospace World” [Industry Week]. “‘We are concerned about some of the discussions right now around trade,’ [Boeing Co. CEO Dennis Muilenburg] said in an interview with Bloomberg Television. ‘Our aerospace business thrives on free and open global trade and we’re hopeful we’re going to find solutions as alternatives to some of the tariff discussions that have been going on.'”



Dammit Bernie:

(WARNING: If you’re considering whinging, first read “Truer words” under Class Warfare, and focus on systems, not the person, as I am about to do.) “Our,” apparently, like “we” — “What do you mean, we?” — has become a word to watch. “Our intelligence community”*? Really? This locution originated with the Clinton faction’s “our democracy” — by which they really do mean “our,” as in in their, democracy — and promptly spread like kudzu all over everything. Thinking in systems, what this quote means to me is that the “intelligence community” clambering into the Constitutional saddle is one possible outcome of the current legitimacy crisis. Look who’s winning; it’s them, across the board. If things go on as they are, after 2016, there won’t be a President, or a Presidential candidate, who will be able to run or take office without being vetted first by the intelligence community (via, no doubt, oppo or, if need be, quiet conversations). Start with the fact that no party will want to take any risks and go on from there. That’s a change in the Constitutional order implicitly accepted by liberal Democrats today, and no doubt by #NeverTrumpers in the future. Now, it’s always possible that the intelligence community will “promote the general welfare” better than the constitutional order we have today, but with public faces for that community like Brennan (torturer), Clapper (perjurer), and Mueller (entrapment artist) color me skeptical. Now, it’s possible for Bernie to unring this bell at his forthcoming War on Terror town hall, and we’ll have to see. But I think we’re seeing an excellent politician — and we want politicians, dammit — bending to the current correlation of forces. NOTE * The infestation of corrupt language takes Bernie’s tweet out of the “he has to say that” category for me, sadly.

This on the other hand is very good:

Amazon is, of course, a massive defense contractor as well…

“Bernie Sanders: Trump’s economy is great for billionaires, not for working families” [Bernie Sanders, USA Today]. • I assume that USA Today editors wrote the horrid headline, not Sanders. It’s horrid, first, because “Trump’s Economy” is “the economy” since the neoliberal dispensation began, and real wages were flattened, forty years ago. Systems, not persons! Second, “working families” is a vile focus-grouped phrase that is supposed to signify the working class in a verbal form acceptable to liberals but does not, because — follow me closely, here, liberals — not all working class people have families. I know the phrase is supposed to be kitchen-table-y and make me feel all warm and runny on the inside but stop it. Just stop it. You too, AOC, if you or yours are reading this.


“The incredulity and anger on the left that followed Mr Trump’s election resulted in nearly 150% more women putting themselves forward for congressional primaries this year than in the equivalent races two years ago” [The Economist]. • Let’s just hope they’re not all Daughters of the Confederacy. The Economist must believe, with identity politics liberals, that all women are “progressive”, exactly as the same crowd believed that Obama was “progressive” because of his black skin.

ME-02: Follow the money:

Poliquin beat the last Democrat who ran against him like a gong. Jared Golden might do better.

“Why Kavanaugh Looks Like a Done Deal” [Cook Political Report]. “In terms of defeating or just significantly slowing down the Kavanaugh nomination, Senate Democrats have very few, if any, arrows in their quiver. Barring the disclosure of a major smoking-gun development, unlikely given that he seems to be a pretty straight-arrow kind of guy, Kavanaugh will probably be hearing cases on the Court before the Nov. 6 midterm election. Even in a chamber divided between 51 Republicans and 49 Democrats, and with the absence of Sen. John McCain due to illness, the odds of Democrats suffering a defection from one or more of their own is pretty high. Specifically, the defection of at least one of the electorally vulnerable three of Joe Donnelly (Indiana), Heidi Heitkamp (North Dakota), and Joe Manchin (West Virginia) looks likelier than that of a Republican like Susan Collins (Maine) or Lisa Murkowski (Alaska).” • To the Republican base, and to the Republican leadership, this is far more important than Trump going off-message in Helsinki.

New Cold War

“Stephen F. Cohen on Helsinki Summit: Media Held A ‘Kangaroo Court’ And Found Trump Guilty” [RealClearPolitics]. (Cohen is an American scholar and professor emeritus of Russian studies at Princeton University and New York University, and so, naturally, the venue where he gets a hearing is FOX.) “COHEN: The reaction by most of the media, by the Democrats, by the anti-Trump people is like mob violence. I’ve never seen anything like it in my life*…. You’ve asked a fundamental question. Do they know what they’re doing? I don’t know. They see to hate or resent the idea of Trump as president, that they’ve lost all sense of American national security. If you ever get these people on, ask them this question. For yourself, for me, for the American people. Do you, these people who are hunting Trump. do you prefer trying to impeach Trump to trying to avert war with nuclear Russia? That is the bottom line, and that is where we’re at today.” * NOTE Neither have I, and I was present at the creation for WMDs and the Iraq War in 2003.

“Trump corrects his quote, says misspoke on Russian meddling” [Associated Press]. “‘I accept our intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election took place,’ Trump said Tuesday. But he added, as he usually does, ‘It could be other people also. A lot of people out there. There was no collusion at all.'”

Intelligence community reax (1):

Intelligence community reax, with subtext clarified (2):

(Dear me. Not, perhaps, entirely safe for work, but what a great band!)

If Trump really wanted to own the libs, this is what he would do:

“So What If There Was an Attempt to Widen the Gap” [BLCKDGRD]. • A trifle oblique, but not without interest. What I’m not seeing is an alliance between #Resistance and #NeverTrump, even by implication. Too soon? And speaking of that alliance–


The bottom line:

Hard choices…

The Reality-Based Community Has Lost Its Mind

More memories from an old-school blogger, back in the day. This famous quote comes from an anonymized Karl Rove (the “aide”) in Ron Suskind’s article:

The aide said that guys like me were “in what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. “That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” he continued. “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

(More or less random usage example from 2005.) And many, many bloggers of that day put statements like “Proud member of the reality-based community” in their banners. What grieves me, what makes the current gaslit hysteria so hard that I feel, “literally,” as the kids say, stunned, is that the quote is still true. We are still an empire, and only the “we” has changed. As for example–

“America’s day of shame: Donald Trump acts as Putin’s puppet. Will Republicans do anything?” [Heather Digby Parton, Salon]. Clintonian rhetoric aside, “Day of Shame”? Worse than March 20, 2003, when Bush invaded Iraq and caused hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths? Worse than November 1, 2003, when the Associated Press revealed torture at Abu Ghraib? Worse than March 19, 2011, when NATO’s Clinton-inspired bombing of Libya began, which led to the re-establishment of Libyan slave markets? Clearly, the reality-based community — possibly in the person of a Salon editor, if Salon editors write the headines — knows nothing of shame. At one time, I thought it did. I’m sickened.

Realignment and Legitimacy

The karmic hammer:

If Obama hadn’t signaled his fealty to the “intelligence community” by giving the telcos retroactive immunity for Bush’s illegal program of warrantless surveillance in July 2008, or if he had prosecuted some torturers instead of stopping at “we tortured some folks,” or even if he had closed Gitmo, we wouldn’t be seeing Brennan and Clapper fronting for the #Resistance today as Heroes of the Republic, and there probably would be no Mueller investigation in the first place.

“Wreckers and Dissent” [Medium]. “Organizationally, we [in the DSA] have built a culture resistant to frank discussions. We prefer to avoid political questions, avoid uncomfortable conversations, and we use civility as a shield against discomfort; indeed, simple disagreement is ‘uncomradely.’ Instead, we prefer backbiting, concern trolling, smearing, and badjacketing. It’s understandable; society socializes us as such. But when we fail to have those conversations we fail our comrades, we fail ourselves, and we fail a generational opportunity to build something genuinely different. What happens next matters. We may be experiencing an influx of new members, but we’re bleeding organizers. We may have 44,000 members, but how many members are renewing their dues?” • I keep seeing a steady stream of DSA chapter actions, some socializing (not a bad thing) others more, er, political. This is good. But I also keep hearing rumbles of discontent about the national leadership. To be expected, perhaps. Since the national leadeship seems to have no visibility at all, at least in the press, this could end up being a bad thing. (The left has a lot of history, very complicated, some of it multi-generational. I hope we can all remember that not only does history not repeat, it does not necessarily rhyme.)

* * *

“Larry J. Sabato’s Crystal Ball: Center for Politics/Ipsos poll: Just Half of Americans Believe Elections Are Fair and Open” [Sabato’s Crystal Ball]. “By a 51%-43% margin, those surveyed agreed with the statement that ‘American elections are fair and open.’ However, there was a partisan gap, as 68% of Republicans but just 43% of Democrats agreed with the statement. Couched opinions — those who just ‘somewhat’ agreed or disagreed with the statement — were more common than strong opinions from Democrats, Republicans, and Independents…. When asked which of two statements was closer to their views, nearly three-quarters of respondents agreed more with a statement that the donation is an “invitation to corruption,” while a little over a quarter of respondents agreed more with an alternative statement that “People should have a right to give as much as they please, and do so anonymously.” Democrats (78%) and Independents (76%) were likelier than Republicans (62%) to agree with the first statement expressing concern about the large donation.”

“Federal push to update voting machines like South Carolina’s is heating up” [McClatchy]. “Wednesday’s hearing of the Senate Rules Committee, the second of its kind, comes a day after a lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in South Carolina alleging the state’s 14-year-old voting machines are vulnerable to hacking, undermining South Carolinians’ right to vote. South Carolina is one of five states that uses voting machines that don’t produce a paper trail. That makes the machines uniquely vulnerable to hacks, since there is no record that can be used to audit electronic results, some experts say. ‘Paper ends up being a wonderfully robust kind of backup and safeguard against cyber attacks,’ said Alex Halderman, a professor of computer science at the University of Michigan. ‘It may seem retrograde, but it’s not.'” • Paper should not be a backup for digital balloting. Paper should be the ballot.

Stats Watch

Industrial Production, June 2018: “A big snap back in manufacturing helped to lift industrial production” [Econintersect]. “With the manufacturing component back on track, factory data look to be a very strong highlight of the second-half economy.” And: “There was significant downward revision to last month’s data. So industrial production is pretty much at the same level as we thought it was last month. The best way to view this is the 3 month rolling averages which was unchanged. Industrial production is in a long term upward trend” [Econintersect].

Housing Market Index, July 2018: “The housing market index is unchanged” [Econoday]. “The report notes that the high cost for construction materials is a negative for home builders.”

Shipping: “June 2018 Sea Container Movements Show Good Growth” [Econintersect]. “The rolling averages are positive and improving for both imports and exports suggesting both a strengthening USA economy and global economy.”

Shipping: “U.S. freight operators appear to be reaping the benefits of the strongest shipping market in generations” [Wall Street Journal]. “J.B. Hunt’s revenue jumped 24% from a year ago, and it showed double-digit growth in major pricing indicators across the company’s various operations. Broader industry measures show truckers in a commanding position in freight markets, and increasingly trying to turn strong spot prices into higher long-term contract rates.”

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

Five Horsemen July 17 2018

NakedCap Mania-Panic Index: “Yesterday’s small dip reduced the mania-panic index to 54 (complacency) as VIX rose to 12.83” [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 16 2018

Class Warfare

Truer words:

“Obama: Consider a universal basic income” [The Week]. “[Obama] additionally called on the rich to support higher taxation, saying that ‘you don’t have to take a vow of poverty just to say ‘let me help out a few of these folks.” • Help me.

News of The Wired

“Can Classes on Field Experiments Scale? Lessons from SOC412” [Freedom to Tinker]. “Most behavioral experiments out in the world are conducted by people with no university training. In 2016, bloggers at NerdyData estimated that A/B test company Optimizely’s software was deployed on over half a million websites. In 2017, the company announced that it had passed its one millionth experiment. Companies trying to support millions of behavioral studies aren’t waiting for universities to train socially conscious experimenters. Instead, training happens in hotel ballrooms at events like Opticon, which draws in over a thousand people every year, SearchEngineLand’s similarly sized SMX marketing conference series, and O’Reilly’s Strata conferences. And while scientists might consider experiments to be innocuous on their own, many have begun to wonder if the drive to optimize profits through mass behavioral experimentation may have damaging side effects.” • Indeed….

“A Short Guide to Hard Problems” [Quanta]. • I wonder if anybody’s transferred this line of thinking to political “science.” Suppose we start with a graph representation of political relationships. What would follow?

Technical query: I recently rebooted my Mac and for some reason the “Dock Bounce” misfeature has been automagically disabled. I don’t want the icons on my dock to expand when hovered over because it’s distracting and as an experienced professional user I know where I’m clicking and don’t need additional cues. (Yes, I know about System Preferences > Dock > Animate opening application and that is not checke. This is a diffrent behavior in any case.) This does not work:

$ defaults write com.apple.dock no-bouncing -bool TRUE
$ killall Dock

Readers, thoughts? I can live with the stupidity, but I find a lack of control over what should be my machine disturbing. Thank you!

* * *

Readers, feel free to contact me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, with (a) links, and even better (b) sources I should curate regularly, (c) how to send me a check if you are allergic to PayPal, and (d) to find out how to send me images of plants. Vegetables are fine! Fungi are deemed to be honorary plants! If you want your handle to appear as a credit, please place it at the start of your mail in parentheses: (thus). Otherwise, I will anonymize by using your initials. See the previous Water Cooler (with plant) here. Today’s plant (TH):

TH writes: “Purple anthurium in the Tropical Conservatory of the Sherman Library and Gardens in the Corona Del Mar neighborhood of Newport Beach, CA.”

Lovely use of bokeh in the background. Although I’m basically an f/64 guy — I wish! — I accept the need for a depth-of-field speed trade-off when photographing flowers; they are always in motion!

* * *

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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. Jay Treaty III

    “Modulo “EVERYTHING.” Perhaps “MOST EVERYTHING”?”


      1. Jay Treaty III

        With all due respect, I think you missed my point, which is that “PEOPLE who CONTRIBUTE to “WHITE” PEOPLE controlling” MORE THAN THEIR SHARE is a white supremacist, so far as I’m concerned.

          1. Jay Treaty III

            Okay, to be clear: PEOPLE who CONTRIBUTE to MALES controlling MORE THAN THEIR SHARE is a male supremacist, so far as I’m concerned.

  2. Wukchumni

    “Why I hate Google, Twitter, and Facebook.”

    I’ve treated them with the same respect granted to the Weekly World News say a couple of decades ago. Yeah if there were 5 people in line @ the supermarket, it was a guilty pleasure that sucked me in if the cover had the title: “World War 2 Bomber Found On Moon” with what was then an amazing photo alteration that had a B-24 superimposed on a crater, yep, that’s where it went down.

    I’d relinquish my hold on said periodical whence my time came to pay and rarely made it through anything other than a cursory glance, not all that different than the ménace à trois above.

    1. Arizona Slim

      I’m now in my fifth month of Facebook sobriety. Logged out on March 5th, haven’t been back since.

      But for the people I’m already friends in real life, I haven’t heard anything from the Facebook friends. And I’m not expecting to.

      Walking away from Facebook motivated me to do something else. Back in May, I became a Twitter quitter. Before I closed that account, I hadn’t been doing much tweeting. So, no big loss there.

      Google? It’s still on my phone, but I don’t use it on either of my computers. Instead, I use DuckDuckGo.

      1. Elizabeth Burton

        But for the people I’m already friends in real life, I haven’t heard anything from the Facebook friends

        I presume you provided them with an alternative way to contact you other than Facebook before departing? If not, how would they go about getting in touch?

        1. Arizona Slim

          Nope, I just got super-annoyed on March 5th and logged out.

          If the Facebook crowd really wants to contact me, they can do a search on my last name. It’s an unusual one, and I own the dot-com version of it. Doing that search will take them to one of my three websites.

          1. Arizona Slim

            Or they could come to the next Naked Capitalism meetup in Tucson. Version 3.0 will be happening this fall.

      2. xformbykr

        I’d like to leave twitter, too. Haven’t been on it for more than a year. I always get emails saying I should check out my notices on twitter.
        But now I cannot log on to twitter, or can’t remember my password, or something.

        Any advice for closing an account without a password?

      3. ChiGal in Carolina

        Bravo! Since my phone melted down and I got a factory replacement I haven’t activated Chrome or installed the FB app. I use DDG too. Some sites like The Atlantic won’t let me on since DDG blocks some of their crap, so I say effective ’em! Also sometimes embedded tweets and picture formatting is weird, but that’s a small price to pay.

        I never used FB on my computer cuz it was basically for activism and knowing what was going on in real time and I don’t sit at my computer much. So I guess I need to get back on if only to close it out. Kinda embarrassing cuz I held out for so long, then joined cuz my M4A group said I had to and as long as I was on connected with folks back in Chicago–and now after a few months it’s sayonara.

        I use DDG on my tablet too but I haven’t yet switched off of Chrome on my computer. Also, I use Gmail on my phone and tablet but Yahoo since forevor on my computer, so every time I sign into email I have to click I’LL DO THIS LATER…pretty soon I gotta figure out what to do about the Curse that is Verizon.

        1. Steve H.

          In my experience, yes.

          The underlying paper makes a couple iffy assumptions but makes its point. It connects to the evolution study with ‘new’ information arising from weak ties, or peripheral branches. It implicitly requires hubs, with many weak ties, for the spread of the information.

          Pre-internet, the hubs had the good parties. Now they have 3000 Fcbk friends.

          One point that caught me was looking at neighborhoods and and their change. Strong tie networks are necessarily smaller. It reminded me of ‘Grapes of Wrath.’ The Joad family ties were very strong, so a very resilient structure in itself, but without the extent of weak links (see ‘rural’) to form secondary trust networks. So the social structure it was within collapsed, and that family unit became migratory.

    2. clarky90

      ‘Homophobic’ New York Times cartoon shows Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin as gay lovers


      During the “The Great Purge or the Great Terror” in the Soviet Union (1936-38), Politically Correct semantics tests were wielded against the population. Those in power (Stalin, the NKVD and THEIR, Main Stream Soviet Media) could say and do anything.

      But, for those earmarked for oblivion (death by bullet, or transportation to the Siberian Concentration Camps for a slower death by cold, starvation and overwork)……… Everything that they said or did (no matter how desperately hard the tried to be “correct”), was “incorrect”, and punishable by death.

      So we see the NYT (neo-Soviet MSM) enthusiastically publishing “hate-full” homophobic slurs, with absolute impunity.

      IMO, the plan is to slowly, quietly, gently (the Serpentine Ramp), shut “OUR” Democracy down.

  3. Rates

    Per yesterday’s How Twitter Degrades Discourse and Encourages Distortions: Illustrated by ex-Pentagon Official Ryan Goodman Intercept (Oregoncharles). Glenn Greenwald. Today’s must-read.

    I think some blame should be contributed to the English language. 140 characters in Chinese is a short essay. 280 characters? Probably a chapter in a novel.

    You want example? “Good Morning, How are you?” is only 4 characters in the Chinese language. Most words in the English language are only two characters in Chinese.

    In the end though, I am still not convinced that Twitter is the problem. It’s more like most people have very short attention spans. It’s as if all those “Critical Writing/Thinking” classes back in early college days didn’t even register. Ok, here’s the real problem. People don’t read or they read crappy stuff only like those Whats App messages.

    1. Wukchumni

      I blame the 26 disciples in particular for not giving me as many possibilities to torture anything other than the English language.

    2. Summer

      When twitter first came on the scene, I said that was just enough characters to be be misunderstood because it discourages context.

    3. Randy

      The concept of Twitter is just obnoxious. I never could understand why anybody would join that to send 140 character tweets to the internet. TWEETS?, UGH, BARF.

      Facebook was for the teeny-boppers, young people hungry for attention and affection. Then it took off. Now for many people, like my wife, it IS the internet.

      Google worked good for awhile. Now DuckDuckGo works better and Google is a surveillance platform.

      Texting is just as bad. Nothing good comes from communication via keyboard, all nuance is lost. I have been mis-conscrewed in comments and in texts-I avoid both. One of my old friends would rather text than talk, we don’t communicate much anymore unless we run into each other. Oh well.

      1. Musicismath

        Well, Twitter was originally designed as a messaging service to enable people to find and talk to each other above the noise of the sound-system in large clubs. So, like so many other bad things, you can blame Twitter on the EDM scene of the mid-00s.

      1. Rates

        I speak Chinese. There’s a shorter version. 早安, 你好.

        Most Chinese don’t add the 吗. Surely some people have heard “ni hao”. Rarely you will hear “ni hao ma?”

        1. Matt

          I have never heard 早安 for what it’s worth. I also rarely hear 你好吗 but he did say “how are you” not “hello”

          1. Rates

            BS. Just enter 早安 at Google and Baidu, both return tons of results. Anyone who’s learned any language whatsoever should know never to translate one to one. That’s why Google Translate’s quality is so poor. The other way Chinese people ask whether someone is well is “吃飽了嗎?”. The literal translation however is “have you eaten?”

            Here’s one explanation: http://mandarineveryday.blogspot.com/2012/04/greeting-chi-bao-le-ma.html

            There are others that will point to the same thing. No offense, your Chinese or any other foreign language is poor if you don’t understand the concept of never translating one to one.
            In Chinese there’s ALWAYS a shorter way to say something including using tons of idioms. And please read your own link. The comments debunk the main article.

      2. Procopius

        Twenty years ago I was astonished to learn that in modern Mandarin Chinese the phrase, “How are you,” has become 你好?, which sounds to me like a statement, not a question. I guess the Chinese I learned in 1955 was the way people spoke in Beijing before WWII. I never learned a phrase equivalent to, “Good morning.” I never thought to ask why, but I suppose because it’s not actually used by Chinese speakers. Same with Thai — you can speak words that have the meaning, “Good morning,” but Thais never say that.

    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      This is very good:

      But perhaps the most the discourse-degrading feature of Twitter is how it makes deliberate distortions uniquely easy and effective, by enabling the tearing of statements (single tweets) out of their context and, months or years later, imbuing them with a meaning they never had.

      I am old-fashioned, in that I think as a writer, not so much as a node in a social media network.

  4. Mike

    From the comments on Bernie’s twitter feed, the people he is attracting are the HRC lovers who cannot get enough of the “traitor” talk. Luv dem guns, boys & girls – gotta have us some fireworks over Moscow! It’s amazing how they are out-patriot-ing the alt-right. And our disappointing BS is feeding them. At worst, this is standard fare for our “intelligence” types, and should be standard fare for all other countries who are vitally dependent upon US actions and belligerence around the world. The interference cry is the most laughable, betraying an utter stupidity about how elections are run and corrupted. But, the stampede has begun, and those are impossible to corral once at full tilt.

    Heroes are few and far between… and heroes will not save our bacon when the need is for an entire culture and society to look itself in the mirror. My reservations about Bernie during the primaries still holds in spades – he is a Roosevelt Democrat with weaker foreign policy than FDR at a time needing much wiser, pandering to his right when he needs to strengthen his left. If we need leadership to lead us out of the swamp, and this is its highest level, have mercy…

    1. DWD

      Meh, I dunno.

      Bernie is a politician and as such he formulates appeals to a variety of different groups. Perhaps I may not like everything he says or does but in the final consideration, he does the important things I do like on a national scale better than anyone else I can think of.

      It’s not so much the arguing about this nonsense with Russia as I just don’t believe most of us are in any position to get enough information to make an actual determination. If you want to believe things, I guess you will. In the end I just cannot believe it made very much of a difference. This past presidential election should not have been close enough to have something like these accusations make much of a difference.

      But where is the glory in confronting these people? If you can find it, I suppose you could send the suggestion on to him. I just don’t see any.

      As it stands now, I appreciate his even caring about working folks: he is almost alone in this,

      1. Summer

        Anybody not hysterically corrupt, would know, assuming it is true that they have hard evidence against a President, the real problem is that there are no ethical standards in the society or institutions that can prevent a totally corrupt person from being President.
        When Trump is tweeting “Happy New Year”from the White House in January, that will be a sign of no evidence or complete institutional failure.
        So the next major BS distraction is always in the works.

        1. DWD

          I will quote this section of the interview with BS in Jacobin. (in this morning’s links)

          Anyone who can say this and keep saying this is superior to anyone else I have seen.

          Four years ago, in the 2014 midterm elections, we had the lowest voter turnout in seven decades. We had something like 36 percent of the American people voting. When ordinary Americans get demoralized and give up on politics and don’t vote, Republicans do very well. Four years ago, if you recall, Republicans swept the House and the Senate, and they did very well in state legislators’ and governor’s races all over this country because we had the lowest voter turnout in seventy years.

          When you ask people, “Is health care a right of all people?” people say, “Yes.” There’s no reason we don’t join every other major country on earth in guaranteeing health care for all people. When you talk about the absurdity of hundreds of thousands of bright, young people today not being able to afford a higher education, while millions of people leave school deeply in debt — I have talked to so many young people and middle-aged people who left school, $50,000, $100,000 in debt. For what crime? Getting an education.

          These are not radical ideas. When you talk about the ideas, people say, “Yeah, that’s right. That’s what we’ve got to do.” Then they come out and vote, and progressives and Democrats win. When you don’t have a program that appeals to working people and ideas that get people excited, when you have low voter turnout, that’s the Republicans’ dream. That’s when they win elections.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Those after Moses, though, upon reaching that land, did some not so nice things.

              Will ‘history’ repeat?

            2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Blowing trumpets, at ungodly hours, should be considered cruel and inhuman.

              General Noriega thought heavy metal ‘music torture.’

              1. ambrit

                If it’s derivative junk, it is. Now, the Ur-Metal is sublime.
                I would particularly like “Fugue in Ego minor,” if I could only remember what it sounds like….

                1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

                  Too often, you thought you came up with something new or original.

                  Then, reality dawns on you (as strangers kindly remind you – it hadbeen done before…there was an ur-something).

                  1. ambrit

                    A Bodhidharma would call it an ur-ur report. And then smack you up the side of your head.
                    “Gilgamesh At Guantanamo,” an Attic Tragedy if I ever saw one, called it Ur-Urk. All politics are local, and thus, not eternal.

            3. The Rev Kev

              If I recall correctly, none of the generation that he was leading for forty years in the desert did. That was part of the plan.

              1. foghorn longhorn

                40 years roaming the desert.
                Let’s see, st. raygun estb. 1980
                carry the 18, so 38 yrs., looks like 2020 could be a blockbuster.

                1. The Rev Kev

                  I say Moses screwed up. Imagine if he had led his people to what is now eastern Saudi Arabia where all those oil fields are located. His people’s descendants would be sitting pretty right now.

                  1. John k

                    They actually ended with a chunk of the Fertile Crescent and the river Jordan.
                    Getting 2000 years early to the big payoff woulda been a pretty crappy life for 60 generations. Course, maybe we never heard of the branch that got pissed following Moses all those years and decided to go east… they’re all related…
                    And anyway, those on the eastern side that did get there first, and where all the oil is, are Shia and second class citizens.

          1. Summer

            Complete institutional failure includes the electoral system and the Constitution.

            The next election or the ones after aren’t really the heart of the issue.

          2. a different chris

            >When you talk about the ideas

            But this is key. I for sure would not bet a dime against the outcome being basically identical if we – without changing anything else – somehow forced 90% turnout.

            I think polls are stupid. Mathematics by people who don’t understand math. But when you literally have a poll of a 100 million people, I’m quite confident that’s a really really good proxy for the remaining 125 million.

            1. hunkerdown

              As they say, the USA is not a democracy but a republic, which is in essence a feudal system of hierarchical management without the pesky responsibilities of ownership. The system is designed to exclude the people in their collective capacity from power, as Madison put it in Federalist #85.

              The other 125 million don’t enter an opinion because the few have taken what they want off the table. Forcing people to show up and vote for one of the successors approved by the ruling class isn’t working out so well for Australia.

      2. PKMKII

        But the appeal to the Russiagate crowd can be made without the deferential bowing to the spies. Frame it as, Trump believes Putin because Putin’s oligarch and Russian mob buddies buy up Trump condos. It can be kept within Bernie’s class/money corruption mode.

        1. June

          Indeed. This truck with the “hacked our Demacracy!” Crowd is worrisome, even if he sticks to terms like meddling.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          That is not as effective, I think, as Putin’s oligarch and Russian mob buddies PROMISING to buy more Trump condos.

        3. a different chris

          Even shorter: He believes Putin because Putin is a billionaire like Trump.

          There’s them and there’s the rest of us. How hard is it for people to figure this out?

    2. djrichard

      … here’s the top comment (as of yesterday) on this article, https://www.yahoo.com/news/latest-ryan-says-no-russia-interfered-175635647–politics.html (which is now defunct)

      Rand Paul and Bernie Sanders did not vote for Russian sanctions.

      So points to Bernie for understanding that his enemy is behind him. Advantage to Trump in a way in that for him at least that enemy is an enemy that’s in front of him instead of behind him. So in a way, he can act more liberated (and less obedient) and deal with that enemy head on. OK, maybe not entirely in front of him, but still more direct than what Bernie is dealing with.

      That said, Bernie does have the option to go full gonzo and follow in Trump’s lead. LoL, can you imagine?


      Made this same comment on this same topic in yesterday’s water cooler. So apologies for the repeat. Just don’t think anybody saw it cuz my comment was late and the topic was kind of buried to begin with.

  5. Jean

    “This is why the weakness of the Bush and Obama years was so destructive.”

    Imagine this, a military truck drives up to your house and uniformed soldiers jump out kick your door down and grab you and your family. They force you into the truck and drive you all to a nearby military base where you are imprisoned without access to a lawyer or any civil rights for an indefinite amount of time with dozens of other people in a compound.

    Why? Because you were photographed at an anti-Trump demonstration.

    President Trump thanks president Obama for signing the National Defense Authorization Act that allows this. All the unconstitutional powers that Bush and Obama allowed to be created have been handed to President Trump, remember that all you T.D.S. hand wringers.

    1. JBird

      The people have nothing to fear from our fine Gestapo security police. Only the bad ones do, which is why we need to amend that pesky Constitution and its criminal supporting Bill of Rights.

      Oh, that scenario is much like the ones done under Pinochet and the Dirty War, which the United States aided, even created. That worked out great. We murdered removed out most of the faculty of the universities’ economics departments, as well as political leadership, labor organizers, and social and political reformers, anyone really who was a leader that was left of the Spanish Falangists.

      1. Jean

        So? Pinochet is lon dead in South America.

        We are alive in America now.

        Whatever you do ‘Brer Rabbit–don’t criticize Obama!

    2. The Rev Kev

      That scenario reads like what happened in Iraq every day of the occupation. Standard operational procedure. If a bomb went off and you happened to be on a mobile phone nearby, US troops grabbed you as a likely suspect for setting off that bomb by remote control. Obama signing the National Defense Authorization Act meant that these practices were imported back into the US for use. Yeah, it’s all Iraq’s fault!

  6. JohnnyGL


    Full interview of Chris Wallace with Putin. I’ve got to re-listen.

    This is transcript of conference

    Not a lot of play being given to the offer of Putin for the US and Russia to assist each other with criminal prosecutions. I love how he invited Mueller and his team to come sit for questions with the suspects. Please take him up on this offer!

    1. clarky90

      More Widdershins/Black Magick from MSM. Look at their “outrage” about others, and follow it back to the “accusers”.

      MSM, I think you protest, Way Too Much!!” Grow up and take responsibility for your precious presence on this Earth.

      Who Is Bill Browder, Kremlin Foe Singled Out in Putin’s Offer?

      (from the Putin-Trump press conference in Helsinki)


      “Mr. Putin on Monday detailed on television a variation of some of the allegations that the lawyer, Natalia V. Veselnitskaya, brought to the Trump Tower meeting — namely that some of Mr. Browder’s associates had funneled $400 million to the Clinton campaign with money illegally moved out of Russia.

      “Business associates of his have earned over $1.5 billion in Russia,” Mr. Putin said. “They never paid any taxes. Neither in Russia nor in the United States. Yet the money escaped the country. They were transferred to the United States. They sent huge amounts of money, $400 million, as a contribution to the campaign of Hillary Clinton.”

      Additionally, Mr. Putin declared, “we have solid reason to believe that some intelligence officers accompanied and guided these transactions.”

  7. barefoot charley

    “Brennan (torturer), Clapper (perjurer), and Mueller (entrapment artist)” ranks as my most gratifying Lambertism du jour (yes, it bears repeating like the twitlers do). And there’s still yesterday and tomorrow. Ring that bell!

  8. Wukchumni

    “Barack… I knew & served alongside him in the senate, and you’re no James Buchanan!”

    1. Wukchumni

      The reign of error has seen the error of his ways, and while he’d never apologize in a million years for anything, he’s changing his tune in regards to the Russian addressing, and might prefer to be far away in the thousand islands.

    2. Swamp Yankee

      I think that the ruling class* (deep state, as it’s sometimes called) doesn’t actually think in real terms of what the outcomes of its projects are. Many of these journalists and congresspeople squawking like it’s December 8th, 1941, and we’ve got to DO SOMETHING, are the type of people who have never been in a fight (cf. Chris Arnade’s front row kids). They are also historically and culturally illiterate, mostly, as Pat Lang points out, studying poli sci, econ, sociology, rather than history, literature, philosophy. So I think it honestly does not occur to them that a policy of unceasing hostility towards Russia might actually end in…. hostility with Russia. Including nuclear weapons.

      Plus, these are team players, Company Men and Women, and they don’t want to rock the boat.

      It has a Barbara Tuchman quality about it, scarily enough.

      *Arguably, realism about what war means is strongest in parts of the officer corps.

      1. flora

        ‘ the type of people who have never been in a fight…’

        I think that’s a good description.

        The US Media is Losing its Mind

        But there is a simple explanation why establishment journalists are in unison in their dominant Russian narrative: it is career suicide to question it.

        As Samuel Johnson said as far back as 1745: “The greatest part of mankind have no other reason for their opinions than that they are in fashion …since vanity and credulity cooperate in its favour.”

        Obsessed as [the MSM] are with the “interference” story, the media virtually ignored the other crucial issues that came up at the summit, such as the Middle East.


      2. JBird

        …studying poli sci, econ, sociology, rather than history, literature, philosophy.

        Any decent study of all these subjects especially poli sci requires studying history, and political philosophy, especially the violence that supports the reasoning of the conclusions in political science, and yes political economy. Just as even studying philosophy is best done by understanding the historical context of its creation. That’s one of the reasons political economy became economics. It is all connected so if you go even a little deeply in one subject you have to study some other subjects as well.

        But study beyond the most freaking superficial is often discouraged. Which is kinda the goal of the people in charge. Ignorance for control is the goal.

        1. Wukchumni

          “He who controls the past controls the future. He who controls the present controls the past.”

          Eric Blair

        2. Swamp Yankee

          Agreed, JBird! No reason the humanities and social sciences have to be foes. Indeed, they’re cousins of a close and necessary kind. But I agree that, unfortunately, a lot of elite US universities have put out people with glib and meretricious understandings of something like poli sci or econ, who then do lots of well-intentioned, Quiet American style damage. Of course, history and philosophy are not without some pretty unpleasant students (and teachers) as well…

        3. Toske

          Just as the ideal slave mistakenly believes himself to be free and in control, the ideal educated person (according to those who seek to control him) believes himself to have all the answers when, in fact, he hasn’t a clue. It’s even better than keeping them ignorant, because if you’re aware you’re ignorant, you might eventually start looking for answers. If you think you’ve already got them, you won’t even look, and will even argue with people who try to correct you.

          1. Pirate Prentice

            “If they can get you asking the wrong questions, they don’t have to worry about answers.”

            -Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow

        4. anonymous

          It’s possible to obtain a PhD in one of those areas listed from a top 10 university without engaging in an in-depth study of history.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Which degrees lead to higher total career earnings?

            It was a question I heard a lot, when I was a college student, let’s say, a few decades ago.

            Is that still being asked often?

            “I’d like to be a pre-med, but I don’t think my GPA is good enough…I’m just not in the top 1% IQ…brain inequality…inherited, untaxed….perpetuating said inequality.”

      3. sixpacksongs

        Half my double major is in political science. There was one professor, of my many polisci profs, who consistently gave me lower grades. I ended up with 3 of his classes. I had always leaned left and of course as a naive teenager was attracted by the romance of revolutions. He was a Cold Warrior with a specialty in Colombia. As I started reading Crane Brinton and Ward Churchill, and writing papers about Central America, Black Panther Party, AIM, etc, my grades went down even as my father, an Army officer and intelligence analyst, thought I was writing the best papers of my scholarly life to date. It’s not about the field of study; it’s all about the (prefabricated) box. Not only does the educational institution not generally include a broad basis of study, there is often some person who seems to punish those who try to apply alternative sources – and that’s just human nature. As is, of course, that prefab box, and it’s often just easier to not notice those cardboard walls, especially after a few years of squeezing into them. These are very hard patterns to break, and they exist in all disciplines and societies.

        I recall Richard Wolff saying that in gaining a Ph.D. in economics over 3 different prestigious schools, he never had a class on Marxism. Kind of says it all, right there.

    3. Lambert Strether Post author

      “Ruling class” will do. “Deep state” implies a unity of command, where the political class is more like a rugby scrum. That said:

      “… there in stately splendor, far above the squalid village below, they fight their petty battles over power and money.”

      1. Shane. Mage

        The relationship between the ruling class and the deep state: the deep state is like an iceberg, whose upper tranche (composed of people with names like “Bush” and “Dulles” and “Warren”) is the only part visible. The ruling class is the crumbling glacier which calved that iceberg.

      2. Watt4Bob

        I’ve decide that the ultimate answer, to any question, any accusation voiced pertaining to misbehavior in America, no matter the scale, is;

        Hey, give me a break, I’m just trying to make some money here.”

        When used in conjunction with;

        Are you a (insert favorite or applicable *____ist here) or what?

        You get a universally accepted pass, because ‘markets‘ I guess.

        *racist, misogynist, anti-semite, homophobe, vegetarian…

        1. Jessica

          This acceptance has deeper roots that contemporary market fundamentalism.
          The notion that everyone has the right to make a living was actually radical and progressive. Back in the 1600s and 1700s.
          As a replacement for “aristos have the right to a living and everyone else gets to be props for that”, it was a step forward.
          Now we need to move forward to “everyone has the right to make a living in a way that does not depend on taking away someone’s right or their well-being”.
          That will be a deep cultural change.

          1. Watt4Bob

            I think you missed a turn in the road.

            We blew right past the notion that everyone has the right to make a living, and almost directly to everyone has the right to make a living doing whatever the hell they want, including buying and selling people, genocide, piracy, and wanton environmental despoliation.

            We enjoyed a brief reprieve via the New Deal, only to be overtaken by the renewed efforts of the forces of rapacious greed, eager to reclaim their right to do whatever the hell they want.

            They’ve succeeded beyond our wildest nightmares, which may soon leave us with the right to plant potatoes.

            You’re right about the need to move forward, but the point from which we are starting may as well be 1898.

            Maybe it won’t take fifty years this time around?

      3. Randy


        There is nobody in charge and they just feed on each other.

        They will instigate a war with Russia or a civil war in the US if they get their way. When they realize what they did it will be too late. It will engulf them but only after it snares the rest of the little people first.

        Trump is an asshole of the first degree but I agree with him in this case.

        SST saying China stole Hellary’s emails!

    4. djrichard

      The dems want to regime change Trump and this feeds their GOTV strategy. Dems to Russia: “nothing personal, it’s just bidness”.

      The deep state wants to preserve one of the primary narratives that’s been used to rationalize it’s existence. The other one being GWOT. Deep state to Russia (and to terrorists): “nothing personal, it’s just bidness”.

      Don’t forget the player that’s behind the scenes – global capitalism. Trumpism and populism is anathema to global capitalism. The dems (so far) and deep state are not; they’re integral parts of the eco-system of global capitalism, both doing their jobs to provide the narratives that conceal global capitalism and deter the rise of populism.

      P.S. media to global capitalism, dems, deep state: “how can we be of service in your campaign?”

      1. Scott

        One of the aspects that I’ve been thinking about is who the Democrats’ base is. As Thomas Frank has said numerous times, it’s the professional class. These are people who used to be seen as the enemy of the working class. In other words, they are a group that is historically Republican. It makes perfect sense that the heirs of McCarthism and Russopobia would find itself at home amongst the Rachel Maddows of the country.

        1. Swamp Yankee

          Scott, I couldn’t agree more. This is the end result of the Democrat’s amoeba-like absorption of Rockefeller Republicans — professional-managerial types — as the Republicans begin to get increasingly reliant on the South starting in the 70s. We now have a whole party-within-the-party that are essentially Don and Betty Draper in woke clothing.

          It feels very 2002-3, but even more crazy, perhaps; (many of the people I know who were OUTRAGED about Iraq are practically clamoring to open up our 155s on the 1st Tank Guards Army on the Estonian frontier….)

          1. Amfortas the Hippie

            ^^”Democrat’s amoeba-like absorption of Rockefeller Republicans”^^
            or maybe the other way around, depending on who’s story you prefer.
            the recent spectacle of neocons backing hillary was just them coming home, after all(see: scoop jackson)
            duopoly lends itself to patricianism…the tents are too big for a real conflict of the orders to have any real purchase, since the peons over on the sacred mountain are too numerous to get their $hit together, and are thus easily coopted and divided.(eg: tea party began as a ron paul joint, contra duoploy)
            (see my favorite part of Livy:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conflict_of_the_Orders)

            I remain very disappointed in the discourse(sic) in democratic soc/med: it is now “progressive” to defend the cia/fbi/nato/wto,as well as the global empire of war and capital in general.

            1. Swamp Yankee

              I love the Conflict of the Orders, especially the Secessio Plebis, the first general strike!

              And yes, unbelievable to see the rise of the Woke Militarists of the McResistance. There is a hallucinatory quality in the rhetoric and thinking, such as it is, of the 10%ers who really think they can turn back the clock to before 2015, the beginning of the current epoch in world-history (I’d say the Greek Crisis begins this phase, but your mileage may vary — I can see an argument being made for Miliband’s disastrous 2015 Gen’l Election, too….).

              1. Amfortas the Hippie

                it’s easy to see why the Humanities are given such short shrift.
                As for surreality….absolutely.
                After the (2nd)invasion of Iraq, I undertook to figure out who the American Right was. This included lurking in their online fora(duck blind).
                I’d been around these folks my whole life(rural texas), but now I was learning which lenses they mistook for eyeballs. It was shocking…both the narrative framework itself, and the secret fear that it was all bull$5t…which led to often pre-emptive defense of the paradigm.
                I think the “other side” is having an epiphany of the same kind…the ridiculous and amoral hypocrisy in our history are becoming harder to ignore and to reconcile….and the comfortable see termites everywhere, and don’t know what to do, so they lash out. Cognitive Dissonance is hard to maintain.

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          I think one way to look at all of this is the 9.9% defending their class power. Certainly this is true in the media — for partisans of both parties.

    5. Bern

      “Do you, these people who are hunting Trump. do you prefer trying to impeach Trump to trying to avert war with nuclear Russia?”

      Does this have to be either/or?

  9. Skorn

    A class warfare contribution from a Harvard flexian 9.9%er, employed by the Harvard Humanitarian initiative. The arrogance and vitriol conveyed to a perceived commoner is on full display. The approach would’ve been much more civil if the young mother flashed the trappings (speech, wardrobe,CV) of the local elites.

    Full recognition of Humanity is only reserved for attendees of top 20 schools, and influential “thought leaders”.


    1. Kurtismayfield

      Here is the recording

      Cell phone video of Ms. Lund

      She asked twice whether or not the other woman lived in a Harvard apartment. This smacks of someone who wanted to use the leverage she had at the University to put pressure on the other person. Since she did not live in the Harvard controlled unit, she had nothing.

  10. DJG

    The problem with the intelligence community is an old one. It is giving access to an exclusive kind of power with certain symbolism: Pulling from a Wikipedia entry:

    They benefited from several advantages due their close proximity with the emperor: the Praetorians were the only ones admitted while bearing arms in the center of sacred Rome – the Pomerium.

    And by then, the Praetorians were a corruption of their original function, which was a small force to guard an official of the Republic. Likewise, “our” intelligence community manipulates the symbols of patriotism and has access to the “sacred” part of Washington, which is now a power vacuum left by our decadent House of Representatives and our thoroughly unrepresentative and elitist Senate.

    I’m not going to do some “Gibbons warned us” business. Gibbons didn’t provide a recipe for garum, so he didn’t know everything. But the issue for discuss is how we can draw parallels to think of ways forward, through, and out.

    I am reminded of how the Dominicans put together god, the law, and a mingy search for a certain limited kind of truth. It didn’t end well.

    I am reminded of how many well-meaning (maybe) people have called for coups and reactions so that law ‘n’ order can be maintained. Ask the Brazilian middle classes how getting what you wished for went for them in the 1960s and 1970s. And we’ll always have Chile.

    The first step is to stop panicking.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      From Embroidered Uniform Guard, Wikipedia:

      The Embroidered Uniform Guard (simplified Chinese: 锦衣卫; traditional Chinese: 錦衣衛; pinyin: Jǐnyīwèi; literally: “brocade-clad guard”) was the imperial secret police that served the emperors of the Ming dynasty in China. The guard was founded by the Hongwu Emperor in 1368 to serve as his personal bodyguards. In 1369 it became an imperial military body. They were given the authority to overrule judicial proceedings in prosecutions with full autonomy in arresting, interrogating and punishing anyone, including nobles and the emperor’s relatives.

      The Embroidered Uniform Guard was tasked with collecting military intelligence on the enemy and participation in battles during planning. The guards donned a distinctive golden-yellow uniform, with a tablet worn on his torso, and carried a special blade weapon.

      In the later years of the Ming dynasty, the Jinyiwei were placed under the control of the Eastern Depot/Dong Chang faction. As the government sank into corruption, the Jinyiwei was constantly used as a means of eliminating political opponents through assassinations and legal prosecutions.

    2. Mark Gisleson

      This was likened elsewhere today to the servant who tended to one of the King Henrys’ stools, a position that grew in importance and was given a title reflecting the frequent proximity to great power.

        1. Mark Gisleson

          Pretty sure it was better worded on Twitter but mostly I’m proud of myself for acknowledging I didn’t remember which Henry this started under.

          OK, that I could have probably said better.

  11. stefan

    Improved translation of Putin’s quote for the ages: “As for who to believe, who you can’t believe, can you believe at all — you can’t believe anyone.”

    1. Jim Haygood

      Likely Putin was riffing on the great orator George W Bush:

      There’s an old saying in Tennessee — I know it’s in Texas, probably in Tennessee — that says, fool me once, shame on — shame on you. Fool me — you can’t get fooled again.

    2. Carolinian

      Putin often seems like the voice of pure reason which may be why our histrionic punditry hate him so much. Although in truth I doubt they pay much attention to what he has to say but simply stick to the widely bruited talking points.

      As for Bernie, if he can’t say something reasonable about Trump and Putin then why say anything? Unless there is incontrovertible evidence–photos of bags of money being exchanged etc–the notion of the CIA and FBI sticking their noses into our elections should appall every American. I’d even say Comey did the right thing by dropping the Hillary email investigation. Let the public decide assuming the public know the facts. So press bias does play a role but that still doesn’t excuse using the spooks for some kind of tit for tat.

      1. a different chris

        The strength of Bernie has always been said to be his intense focus on the economics of the 90%. He needs to just shut up about anything else.

      2. Richard

        I am of a mind with you, wondering why he needs to get on the record supporting the hugely fictive, goal post moving enterprise that is Russiagate. It certainly won’t win him any support among voters, or sway any detractors. Of course, the point very likely is to signal to a relative few, not to message the masses. In this area, he will not be disturbing the official narrative. Even though it cries out to HIGH HEAVEN to be disturbed. I don’t know how our country can ever prosper or be healthy or sane again with such an enormous and obvious lie at its center:
        “The Russians stole the election”
        Scream the mandarins who stole the primary
        their legitimacy at peril
        But Bernie is not the man to take this on. He’s making that very clear.

        PS – I am perhaps guilty of a little hyperbole about the impact of one lie. There’s a long line…

        1. Shane Mage

          Feigning obeisance to the goons by pronouncing their test word “shibboleth” is an elementary act of (political) self-preservation. Imagine the shit storm (easy if you read the zionist crap that the Blairites and the Guardian are throwing at Corbyn) that our own witchhunters would be throwing on Sanders if he simply said nothing, let alone even hinted at the truth!

  12. Zachary Smith

    Dammit Bernie

    Sanders has dropped way down’ on my list of acceptable politicians. On account of him not being an actual criminal (that I know of) I’d vote for the old **** if it came to a contest between him and Trump, but I’d hold my nose while doing so.

  13. DJG

    I was recently reminded that Trump is the most ambiguous and purely strange politician since Aaron Burr. And no one understands Burr’s motivation (least of all Lin-Manuel Miranda). Burr forced the election of 1800 to 36 votes in the House of Representative. Then, as vice president, he went off and killed Hamilton. He was later accused of treason.

    And yet the United States managed to survive such behavior.

    1. Shane. Mage

      Burr was accused of Treason, with even less basis than the hysterical accusations against Trumpe-l’Oeil, by the racist slavemonger Thomas Jefferson (whose contempt for the Constitution allowed him to “purchase” the vast remaining homeland of the real Americans with public money not appropriated by Congress) and James Madison, the author of the most stupid (pre-Iraq) war ever begun by an American president. And he plugged Hamilton while defending himself in a duel that Hamilton deliberately provoked (see “Burr” by Gore Vidal).

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Did Burr wear cotton clothes from the South?

        Wouldn’t that be enabling?

        Hopefully he did not, though I don’t know.

        Those who did though – they helped to make that system work.

        1. a different chris

          Only if you assume that there were (affordable) options other than going completely naked. I think your options were cotton or silk in those days, and silk isn’t cheap or practical.

          Excuse my sensitivity, but I have to drive a car, my spouse insists on having a truck, does that mean I should just shut up about the environment?

      2. Richard

        I maintain that if half the people who went to see Hamilton had stayed at home and read Vidal’s Burr instead, the world would be in better shape. Not much better, but a tiny, tiny bit better.

  14. Conrad

    “Our,” apparently, like “we” — “What do you mean, we?” — has become a word to watch.

    The lack of differentiation between inclusive and exclusive first person plural pronouns is a really annoying feature of English. Māori for example, uses tātou for “us including you the listener” and mātou for “us, but not you the listener.” This nicely avoids the ambiguity, or at least reveals the mendacity of the speaker when they use tātou in place of mātou. The absence of such a distinction makes it just that little bit easier to mislead in English.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Yes, and I mentioned it once before.

      As for its absence in English, maybe it’s a feature, and not a bug, for the perfidious Albion?

      “Not agreement capable.”

  15. Wukchumni

    MGM Resorts International sued the victims of a Las Vegas music festival mass shooting in an effort to block any potential compensation claims against it.

    The owner of the Mandalay Bay hotel claims a 2002 federal statute wipes out liability for any company that adopts “anti-terrorism technology,” which it says it did. It asked a federal judge in Nevada for a declaration that the company isn’t liable.


    The only thing that stops a giant liability with guns, is a giant lawsuit absolving you of guns.

    1. fresno dan

      July 17, 2018 at 4:33 pm

      I saw that. And at first, I thought it was outrageous (that the hotel was suing victims). But upon reflection, what exactly was the hotel suppose to do – go through everybody’s luggage?

      Oh Yeah….this:
      So, can a hotel confiscate your gun while your a guess? Should any tall building have the right to search you for sniper rifles? Hmmm….
      How about confiscating guns within a mile of a school – if its a “drug free zone” shouldn’t it also be a gun free zone.

  16. CalypsoFacto

    I work for a big tech multinational as a lower-tier matrix manager, and I lead a team that is compensated with bonuses every quarter. The bonuses are tied to the company’s performance and our unit’s performance with respect to our goals. 4x a year, per the fiscal calendar, I sit in on meetings to plan out the goals and compensation of my team based on the earnings and performance report. The weeks around those magic 4 days a year are filled with different types of panic and mania; where do we allocate what, what is the justification for that, can you find the reference to the prior goalpost, etc etc.

    I’ve noticed something similar to that panic/mania cycle in the news reporting of the hashtag treason summit/omg russia epic. Every couple of months, like a quarterly calendar, the insanity from the media ticks up another step function, fanning the flames of whatever the week’s perceived tyranny to be hashtag resisted. Every time I see it happen, I wonder: is someone allocating bonuses? Is someone else looking at fiscal earning reports and trying to figure out if it’s time to make some ‘hard decisions’ (cuts or changes)?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I wonder: is someone allocating bonuses

      That is a very interesting question. Do we have any NC readers who could provide an answer in the form of a chart?

    2. Mo's Bike Shop

      Or is this everyone’s 24 four hour media dominance plan creating hysteria in a vacuum? I recall July-August being called the silly season. I’m thinking about hurricanes.

      How would our Media survive going from Trump to Pence?

  17. Jim Haygood

    Well, there they went again — the rampers, punters and corporate treasurers, that is, who sent four of the Five Horsemen to record highs today. Laggard Apple remains 1.3% short of a fresh record.

    Even during the halcyon days of January when our president used to tweet gleefully about the market’s record highs, never did all of the Fab Five hit records on the same day. Four simultaneous records was the most they could muster, on five occasions during the month including the 26th, when the fireworks show ended.

    Nevertheless four of five is impressive breadth. Ballooning prices of the Fab Five have lifted their weight in the Nasdaq 100 index to an astonishing 46.8%. Unsurprisingly, the Nasdaq 100 reached a record high today as well, while the S&P 500 index remains 2.2% below its Jan 26th record.

    Is it 1929 all over again, when the Dow Industrials ripped higher all summer to reach a record close of 381.17 on September 3rd?

    *fires up the Stutz Bearcat to cruise for flapper girls*

  18. ChrisPacific

    I feel like Trump and the media are collectively trying to push us into a false dichotomy on Russia. It’s possible to want better relations and a more constructive relationship with Russia even if they turn out to have been involved in the DNC hacking. It’s certainly not a reason to go full Cold War, prime the nukes, install proxy dictatorships around the world, and engage in McCarthyist smears against anyone who dissents.

    The US has done plenty of stuff that’s as bad or worse, and I don’t see anyone in the international community calling for sanctions and ostracism (with the possible exception of some Middle Eastern countries). How about recognizing that international relations are complex and approaching them like grownups, instead of burning them on the altar of domestic conspiracy theories?

  19. Summer

    RE: The Reality Based Community Has Lost Its Mind

    The aide said that guys like me were “in what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. “That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” he continued. “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality — judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

    Except in that stream of words, there is no reality base in “reality based.” It’s not sorting or solving issues, but attempting to change perceptions to cover failures and ignorance, in order to perpetuate the status quo. It’s moving the goalposts when you’re losing. It’s telling another lie to cover for another. So it only works as long as one can convince others a perception is worth study or belief or the time of day.

    It’s more “the denial based community.” It depends on people living in various states of denial – especially about history.

  20. Code Name D

    Is it just me? Or has the russia-russia-russia displaced all of the “blue wave” talk?

    1. foghorn longhorn

      And don’t go to an anti-rump rally or they will come and kick in your door and take you to re-education camp.

  21. jonhoops

    As for the Mac OSX Dock problems: It is probably a corrupt dock preferences file.

    So if you’re experiencing problems with the Dock, first remove the file called “com.apple.Dock.plist,” which is located in the /username/Library/Preferences/ folder. Then either restart or logout and log back in to relaunch the Dock. In addition, you may also need to remove the “com.apple.Dock.db” file that’s in the same location as the Dock’s preferences.

    After this is done the Dock will need to be set up again, but should behave normally.

  22. NorwegianRockCat

    Lambert, the issue may be that your there is a cache mismatch and your preferences are out of sync and that defaults doesn’t actually change the value if it’s the same as what it thinks it is. Try setting it to FALSE and then back to TRUE.

    Hope this helps.

  23. danpaco

    I’m amazed that the usually wonderful and insightful commentariat has not mentioned the elephant in the room. Many postings about Russia, war, nukes,Putins great, deep state, etc… but nothing on the press conference itself. Regardless of your leanings vis a vis Russia and alleged election meddling, that was one weird press conference. Why was Trump not prepared with an answer to what was the most obvious question that could have been asked? It says a lot about him and his handlers that he was so unprepared. Good luck America.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      There is a link to the press conference transcript with commentary in yesterday’s links. Frankly, the torrent of bullshit was so enormous I didn’t have time to sort it out, especially since I was pressed for time.

      1. pretzelattack

        i think noting that trump is unhinged is required by the narrative. at any rate, no matter how well-hinged he is, still no good evidence that russia hacked the election, or influenced it in any meaningful way.

    2. Code Name D

      Why was Trump not prepared with an answer to what was the most obvious question that could have been asked?

      You’re kidding, right? Trump is never prepared. Hell, it would have been newsworthy if he DIDN’T say something stupid. So exactly what was “odd” about the press conference again? Maybe his hair was orange or something. Or is this just typical anti-Trump hysteria desperate to find anything scandalous.

  24. Summer

    “If things go on as they are, after 2016, there won’t be a President, or a Presidential candidate, who will be able to run or take office without being vetted first by the intelligence community (via, no doubt, oppo or, if need be, quiet conversations). Start with the fact that no party will want to take any risks and go on from there.”

    I don’t know that the intelligence community isn’t already vetting Presidential candidates. They’ve done it since Post WWII. Remember, Democratic Party establishment members and the Clinton campaign wanted Trump to win the Repub primary. They thought it would be the end of the Republican Party and their bubblicious polls showed them exactly what they wanted to hear. The establishment knew Trump was corrupt, before the word Russia started appearing in every news story. But by their standards, he passed vetting because he really would not upset the status quo. There is a war going on within the defenders of the status quo, but it has not been upset. For all the handwringing, America isn’t going to abandon Europe, whatever happens to NATO. All the same wars are still humming along. Rich are still getting richer. People are still being overcharged for healthcare. Rents are still too damn high. Financial sector deregulation is still rolling. Essentially…what has changed?

    They vet them all. And Trump was found to be a useful one. Entire institutions are a shambles because they weren’t even designed to really help people. So any attempt to reform them tends to completely destroy them.

    The intelligence community is not set up to battle con artist disguised as a businessman, racists, liars, and cheats. They only stop candidates that present true challenges to corporate rule. The only thing that will keep someone from passing “the vetting” would be an actual agent of change. They would vet, then shoot.

  25. drumlin woodchuckles

    Perhaps a lot of people planning to attend the Bernie War-On-Terror town hall meeting can educate themselves in just exactly these issues and problems which Lambert Strether is raising here. Perhaps they can prepare themselves to ask these questions and raise these concerns in a very bald non-clever straightforward linear way to see what Sanders thinks and also to offer him some new thoughts to think about.

    The people preparing to ask these questions should co-confer and pre-prepare ahead of time so they can follow-up eachother. They should disperse themselves throughout the audience and pretend as best they can not to know eachother. They should also be as polite as possible.

    But most of all they should be very well and heavily prepared.

    1. flora

      Racism isn’t new. And the country elected a black man twice. The bubble still can not accept that half the country has had enough of the neoliberal economic regime that has crushed their economic state, shortened lives, left the young mired in debt, and destroyed good jobs. The bubble is looking for any excuse it can to absolve itself from the damage its neoliberal policies has caused to the 90% over the last 35 years.

    2. marym

      The description of Trump as wanting to be King of White People or as the betrayer of those supposedly “our” institutions. It’s a bit of drama that distracts from a confrontation with authoritarianism and its current appeal on the right and the left. I also don’t think Trump is taking orders from Putin; and don’t have any knowledge as to whether US white supremacists look to Russia as a leader in the “struggle for ‘white Christian civilization.'” *

      The rest doesn’t seem at all insane. It provides a good summary of the touch points of the Trump administration’s white supremacy agenda in various policy areas; and the appeal to that sentiment in Trump’s campaign and his on-going public persona.

      One can argue the proportional role of white supremacy in Trump’s and his administration’s policies and politics; and in the presentation of these issues in right-wing media. However, imo, it’s a real and dangerous role. It’s also not going away if Trump (implodes, gets impeached, whatever the #resistance(tm) is fantasizing).

      *whatever “civilization” is to those Trumpians who don’t value science, history, languages, curiosity about other cultures, democracy, or even anything more than a very narrow view of Christianity.

      1. Plenue

        I don’t deny that the Trump administration is blatant and ugly in how it presents itself. But considering the last administration, the one lead by the charming*, polite black man, presided over the largest number of deportations (predominately of Hispanics) in US history, and a truly staggering decline in black wealth, I’m really struggling to see how Trump represents some massive sea change in the substance of US policy. Trump is putting an ugly face on stuff that was already happening.

        I’m also extremely cynical about how many people are genuinely upset about many of these things, having only been made aware of them in the ‘Age of Trump’, and how many will continue to oppose these ugly policies when Trump is gone. For example, I very much suspect that ICE will not only not be abolished, but come 2021 or 2025, when Trump is out of office, it will be continuing on much as before, while the protests and outrage will have largely disappeared

        *so they say…

        1. marym

          Yes, all those inexcusable things happened during the Obama years. The veneer of diversity, the supposedly thoughtful, targeted drone wars and selective deportations, the whining about “mean Republicans made him do it” were tools that served the ruling class. White supremacy, as rhetoric and policy is also a tool.

          It’s similar to distinguishing between the neocon overt push for war, chaos, and hegemony; and liberal r2p “humanitarian” interventions. Same outcome in many respects, same interests served, and, as we’re seeing now, convergence in alliances of who supports/opposes what (liberal embrace of never-Trump neocons). However, it’s not useful to oppose “war” without a critique and alternatives specific to the ideologies at work.

  26. Summer

    How about a running link to the DNC & Clinton emails every time there’s a story about the “Russians interference”. The emails haven’t been debunked.
    In all fairness, the story is so convoluted now that it would be a nice reminder about what was exactly revealed.

  27. ChiGal in Carolina

    Sorry to be trivial, but Aerosmith?

    Thank you though for the tweets from the Black Socialists. I am not on Twitter so I only see the ones you post and they are always on point.

    Cut right through the bs.

  28. pjay

    Thank you for these very relevant and heartfelt postings on Russiagate and Bernie, Lambert. We need more of this everywhere to make a dent in the MSM insanity. I defended Bernie against many skeptics in 2016. But the current political climate is so surreal that ‘Putin derangement syndrome’ is a litmus test for me. Bernie is failing it, at least in his public statements. You nailed many of the key issues today. Many good comments as well, though I fear a few commentators still accept, even if unconsciously, some of the propaganda that has shaped acceptable discourse among the “educated.”

  29. Plenue

    Re RustBelt Rebel:

    “anybody who is queer knows what the straights (or closeted gays) do when they’re ‘humiliated.’ and their masculinity is up for question. you better run like fucking hell, cuz if they catch u, ur about to be fucked up.”

    I’ve noticed this a lot lately, LGBT lamenting or even vilifying ‘the straights’. I get the sense it’s only sometimes tongue in cheek. I can certainly understand how this attitude develops, but surely treating everyone outside of a minority group as an enemy, and applying the same type of stereotyping and broad-brush painting that was originally applied to your group, isn’t healthy or helpful.

    Also, apparently this person thinks LGBT people don’t have egos? Or that openly gay men specifically can’t have fragile masculinity?

  30. Plenue

    “Neither have I [seen anything like this], and I was present at the creation for WMDs and the Iraq War in 2003.”

    There’s significantly less incredulity now than there was in 2003. Not really so much among the mainstream media, of whom I think only McClatchy showed any dissent. But at least back then you could rely on constant sniping from the ‘Bush r stoopid lol’ liberals, spearheaded by Jon Stewart’s Daily Show (I think time has shown that not one of this crowd actually has an ounce of principle, and they were simply engaging in partisan politics. Had it been Gore blowing up Iraq there wouldn’t have been near as much ‘opposition’).

    Back then there was a large public anti-war movement, that completely failed to achieve anything, at least partially because the media refused to give them much coverage. It’s shocking the degree to which this isn’t at all present now. There are constant protests and demonstrations today, but they’re all effectively pro-status quo restoration. And of course on the number one issue that Trump should be being attacked over, the genocide in Yemen, there is complete public silence. Instead we get constant laments that wanting to negotiate with Russia (and possibly avoiding WWIII) are bad things.

    History, is there’s anyone left to write it, is not going to be kind to the media and public ‘intellectuals’ of this era.

    1. Swamp Yankee

      Plenue, I’ve had the exact same thought since about 2015 about the Bush r stoopid liberals of 2002-5 or so; I see, often the exact same people who were violently and righteously indignant (I was in college at the time) about the recklessness of George Bush (and he was reckless!) say that we are at war with Russia after having been attacked.

      They really didn’t have any principles; if they believed what they said they believed in 2004, they wouldn’t act as they have for the last two years.

      Extremely, pellucidly clarifying times, as Lambert says….

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Wowsers. For both Tweets.

      I’m picturing some sort of action plan for the “intelligence community” circulating on Capitol Hill, to which Wheeler has been given access…

      Note the “scary,” “terrifying,” “fear.” It’s almost like they’re trying to keep us constantly worked up…

      1. Plenue

        Wheeler herself is adamant that she’s been given access to special information that tells her Russian and Putin did/are still doing, um, *something*. It apparently doesn’t occur to her that the spies might be lying and manipulating her.

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