2:00PM Water Cooler 7/18/2018

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Readers, household duties caused me to get a late start. A bit more in a bit. –lambert UPDATE 3:10PM All done!


“Textile Industry Shattered by China Trade Embraces Trump Crusade” [IndustryWeek]. “After decades of shedding thousands of jobs and closing factories as the U.S. opened up trade with China and other countries, textiles stabilized in recent years. And just as the sector was trying to invigorate growth, along came a presidential candidate pledging to revive American manufacturing. The industry immediately saw Trump’s election as the best chance in a generation to reorient U.S. trade policy. And so far he hasn’t disappointed…. Trump, however, largely avoided targeting consumer products for fear of upsetting voters who could face higher prices at the mall.” • But wait… Consumers are also workers… So if their wages were higher…

“World Trade Organization Deputy Director-General Alan Wolff said Tuesday that a leaked EU proposal detailing reforms to the global trading group, including its embattled dispute settlement process, is a sign of hope that member countries could be starting to work toward a compromise over U.S. complaints” [Politico].



“Hillary Clinton Blasts Trump For His Putin Press Conference With Just Four Simple Words” [Bustle]. • The words are less important that the fact of the words, and the venue. Clinton having veto power over the next Democrat candidate, or even being that candidate, is the ugliest possible scenario. So probably it will happen.


UPDATE Have you seen the other guys?

Why, yes. Yes I have.

And then there’s this:

This is silly. The problem with the Democrats’ Russia messaging is that they aren’t talking about it enough.

“‘These guys need to wake up’: House Republicans badly outraised in midterms” [Politico]. “Democrats in 56 House districts surpassed Republican incumbents in second-quarter fundraising… It’s a financial trend line that has gotten worse for Republican candidates over the past year… The picture is even grimmer for Republicans in open, battleground districts, where a slew of retirements has put even more seats up for grabs. More than two dozen Democratic candidates in those districts also topped GOP opponents in fundraising, and 19 of those Democrats also led in cash on hand.” • Presumably, at some point, the dark money taps will be turned on?

NY-14: “Vote Joe Crowley, for Working Families” [Joe Lieberman, Wall Street Journal]. • Joe Crowley, the DCCC, and the DNC have naturally disavowed… Oh, who am I kidding?

NY Governor: “State resources went to Cuomo campaign effort, records show” [Times-Union]. “For eight months in 2014, a longtime top aide to Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Joe Percoco, left the state payroll to manage the governor’s re-election campaign. Yet during that time, the taxpayer-funded phone line in Percoco’s former government office was routinely used for campaign-related business in violation of state regulations, according to records obtained by the Times Union.” • Not a regulation, but the law, if I understand the rest of the article correctly.

UPDATE NY Governor: “Cuomo donor made 69 tiny donations to campaign” [New York Post]. “Queens resident Christopher Kim donated $1 or $5 to Cuomo’s campaign 69 times over three days as the filing deadline approached. All told, he gave just $77, records show. But Kim isn’t just an overeager small-dollar donor: records show he shares a Long Island City apartment with the Cuomo campaign’s “creative director” Julia Yang.” • Cuomo gives a refreshingly low number of f*cks, doesn’t he?

New Cold War

“The Helsinki Summit: Trying to Turn the Page on the New Cold War” [Zero Anthropology]. “Taken together, all of [Trump’s] positions are united by their divergence from the status quo ante, the neoliberals’ dream of a New World Order, of a ‘transatlanticism’ that married Europe and the US in an imperial alliance that sought to command, and thus exploit, the rest of the planet. In the US, it repaired the apparent belief among neoliberals of the right and left that the political system is one where the FBI/CIA rule at the top, and the President is second.” • Readers know that my priors include this “apparent belief” by elites; whether a “repair” has taken place — as opposed to a punch, followed by a return by both sides to their corners — is open to question. (That is the point of the two versions of “Back in the Saddle” that I presented yesterday. A long read, so get your coffee and settle down with some stimulating and hysteria-free commentary.

UPDATE “Imagine if Russia were to launch a real attack — say, a surprise strike on a US Navy vessel somewhere in international waters. How would the national security apparatus respond? First, presumably, it would try to figure out Russia’s motives and guess its next steps. Then calculations would be made about what military and political objectives to seek and how to safely achieve them. Moves and countermoves would be methodically gamed out. And confident declarations of serene resolve would be issued” [Seth Ackerman, Jacobin]. “None of that is happening now. Instead, the mandarins of US power and their acolytes in the commentariat seem to be having a collective meltdown.” • Indeed! See below…

The Political Class Has Lost Its Mind

Democrat calls for military coup:

To which the answer should be: “In their barracks, and long may they stay there!”

And then there’s the religious aspect:

“Putin’s Attack on the U.S. Is Our Pearl Harbor” [Politico]. • Wowsers.

Black misleadership class, the next generation:

Sadly, Newsome was the South Carolina activist who climbed a State capitol flagpole to take down a Confederate flag. A laudable act in itself, of course.

Torture advocate John Brennan, who should have been in the dock at the Hague, asks a question:

To which the answer is that the Republican Patriots, like the Spanish fleet, are not yet in sight. #Resistance hero Bill Kristol:

Beneath the blather, Kristol is saying that the Helsinki gambit has failed and with it, at least for now, a #Resistance + #NeverTrump alliance (however implicit). No doubt another gambit is already being primed. But consider: Why would the Republicans abandon Trump? The base would punish them. And if you try thinking about policy like a Republican, instead of like a hysterical, self-regarding, virtue-signaling, and intellectually lazy Democrat, you’ll see that for them, there’s a lot to like about Trump: He’s doing the right thing on judges, he’s gutting reining in the EPA, he’s sabotaging making ObamaCare sustainable, he’s even more into charters than the Democrats, and he’s not making the dumb mistakes Bush made on Iraq, or on Social Security. Plus Mr. Market is all in his happy feelings, and Trump is totally owning the libs on an hourly basis. And who doesn’t love owning the libs? Sure, Trump may be a little… crass, but look at the big picture, and is everything so very bad?

Dammit Bernie:

“This is not normal” is a liberal Democrat talking point of the most vile order, and generally applied to things Trump has done that Bush and then Obama prepared the way for, are typically bad Republican practice, or are routine in the Beltway (like press secretaries lying, for example). Feelings aren’t facts, and what is, in fact, not normal is that the Democrat base in the 9.9% feels disempowered and disrespected. I am not altogether certain that is such a bad thing, at least for a period of time. Perhaps it will have a chastening effect.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Top Voting Machine Vendor Admits It Installed Remote-Access Software on Systems Sold to States” [Motherboard]. “The nation’s top voting machine maker has admitted in a letter to a federal lawmaker that the company installed remote-access software on election-management systems it sold over a period of six years, raising questions about the security of those systems and the integrity of elections that were conducted with them… [Senator Ron] Wyden told Motherboard that installing remote-access software and modems on election equipment ‘is the worst decision for security short of leaving ballot boxes on a Moscow street corner.'” • It’s not Moscow I’m worried about, you insufferable ninny.

UPDATE Sound advice:

And don’t contribute through rent-seeking intermediaries. Give directly to candidates.

UPDATE It’s not clear to me why this should have taken a year:

It still looks to me, very much from the outside, like DSA has growing pains. The growth is good. Festering institutional problems — if any — are not so good.

Stats Watch

MBA Mortgage Applications, week of July 13, 2018: “Purchase applications for home mortgages fell” [Econoday]. “Though still an improvement from the negative readings seen in June, the week’s slim year-on-year gain in purchase applications does not indicate robust housing market strength.” • If wages rose — or costs, like health insurance and college, went down — maybe more people would be able to afford houses. Just a thought.

Housing Starts, June 2018: “In an unexpected downturn, housing starts as well as permits both fell sharply to their lowest rates since September last year” [Econoday]. “Housing data can be very volatile… Volatile or not, this report is a warning that the housing sector, where resales have been dead flat, may not be a positive contributor to the 2018 economy including second-quarter GDP.” And: “Housing starts in June were disappointing, and starts for April and May were revised down. However this was just one month, and most of the decline was in multi-family starts that are volatile month-to-month” [Calculated Risk]. “It is likely that both starts and completions, on rolling 12 months basis, will now move mostly sideways.”

Retail: “An increasingly urgent race in the fast-growing grocery home-delivery market is drawing big investment in logistics technology. FreshDirect LLC, which helped pave the way for Amazon.com Inc. and other retailers jockeying to pick out your produce, is making a big bet on the business with its move into a highly-automated distribution center in the Bronx” [Wall Street Journal]. “The site, which helps speed up order fulfillment by 75%, is the latest sign of an arms race in grocery delivery. At FreshDirect, software maps out routes for order bins, helping food move faster and stay fresh longer. Brick-and-mortar competitors like Kroger Co. are answering with their own investments, and they’re gaining ground with “click-and-collect” services where customers pick up their own groceries. All are trying to reduce the cost of last-mile delivery in a sector projected to hit $40 million in sales by 2021.” • $40 million? That’s it? (Watch that word “race”; the conditions for the race are almost always artificial and not explained in the article. Here, we seem to be racing to pick up a few pennies, so why? I mean, are we really going to order fresh tomatos we can’t put back in the cooler if we don’t like them? Or ice cream that’s melted and then refrozen?)

Retail: “UPS tests smart locks for parcel delivery to apartment lobbies” [DC Velocity]. “Transport and logistics giant UPS Inc. has been testing a service that allows its delivery drivers to open ‘smart locks’ on apartment buildings and leave packages for residents in the lobby area instead of waiting to be admitted by doormen or residents, the company said today…. The system relies on smart locks provided by New York-based Latch, a firm which provides an electronic lock that can be opened by residents or others who have the appropriate code on their smartphone. In UPS’ case, drivers use the same handheld computers they carry to provide route planning and to record proof of delivery signatures. To ensure security, the credential for each lock works only for a specific building and creates an audit trail that identifies the user and their time of access, according to UPS.” • I think, at this point, when we hear the word “smart” we should think “hackable.” I would bet physical locks are superior, exactly as hand-marked paper ballots, hand-counted in public are superior, and for the same reasons.

Shipping: “Trade war sparks more capacity cuts on transpacific container trades” [The Loadstar]. “Following last week’s news that both the 2M and The Alliance groupings would suspend a service each this summer, the latter announced this week it would also withdraw its PSW4 loop at the end of August. The service deploys six COSCO vessels with an average of 10,000 teu capacity and has a port rotation of Lianyungang-Shanghai-Ningbo-Long Beach-Seattle-Lianyungang. In combination with the withdrawal of the 2M’s TP-1/Eagle service from 29 June and THE Alliance’s PS8 on 31 July, total capacity on the trade will be reduced by some 31,300 teu a week, or 6.7%, according to Alphaliner. However it warned capacity would likely increase again due to planned upgrades to APL’s premium services.”

Shipping: “Sabah Port officials detained for corruption investigations” [Splash 247]. “A director of Malaysia’s Sabah Ports and Harbours and three directors from the port’s contractors have been remanded by authorities to assist in alleged corruption investigations related to shipping arrangements between 2016 and 2018. The four officials are allegedly involved in offering bribes to a civil servant in a ship maintenance contract.” • Hmm. Maintenance contracts seem relatively innocuous. Kill a chicken to scare the monkeys?

The Bezzle: “Bezos’ Space Flight Gamble” [Safe Haven]. ” Teal Group aerospace analyst Marco Caceres told Reuters that each flight will cost Blue Origin up to $10 million, and they’re only taking six passengers per trip. So, if tickets go on sale for $200,000—those six passengers are getting a great deal….But the problem here is that no one can see the market—just like they couldn’t predict the rise of the Internet in its early days. That is precisely the Blue Origin gamble. Bezos is willing to subsidize it to some extent, vowing to sell $1 billion in Amazon stock every year to help Blue Origin be the first to commercialize space flight.” • Wowsers. Those squillionaires are desperate to get off-planet, aren’t they? (I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around the idea that markets which cannot be seen are precisely those into which you should dump all your stupid money. Then again, I’m not an adventure capitalist. Cf. Heb 11:1).

Private Equity: “Private equity firms bet on pet care to survive economic slump” [Financial News]. “Alternative investment firms are hoping to cash in on the the humanisation of pets.” • Great. I can set up a lease-back arrangment for the cat.

Recession Watch: “There are two important points to keep in mind while economists and the financial press obsess about whether the labor market is full and a recession is impending in the next 1-2 years. First, the labor market doesn’t need to be full for there to be a recession. The mini recession from mid-2015 to early 2016 occurred when the labor market was less full than it is now. In April 1981, the unemployment rate bottomed at 7.2% and a recession occurred a few months later. The labor market doesn’t need to be tight for a recession to occur. The second point is something we’ve discussed often in our labor market articles. The prime age labor participation rate is still signaling the labor market has about 2-3 years of slack left before it gets tight. The quick job creation in 2018 is evidence that the labor market isn’t nearly full” [Econintersect]. • One reason, perhaps, that the instints of the “I won’t, because all of me wants to” #NotYetBears are in fact correct: Bad stats. The whole article is worth a read.

Five Horsemen: “All of the Fab Five are down at mid-morning, including Alphabet after being fined $5 billion by the EU” [Hat Tip, Jim Haygood]. • The EU doesn’t mess around, does it? This isn’t some kinda small-fry pissant insider trading indictment. Although one does wonder if we’re every going to see criminal penalties for the elite….

Five Horsemen July 18 2018

NakedCap Mania-Panic Index: “Yesterday’s mild market rise lifted the mania-panic index to 57 (complacency)” [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 17 2018

Health Care

But we can’t:

“Free at the point of care” needs to become a #MedicareForAll talking point/requirement and any bills that do not include it must be revised. If any portion of the eligibility determination infrastructure is not uprooted, it will come back stronger, like kudzu or quack-grass.

“The one big winner of the Obamacare wars” [Politico]. “Health care, as the current president famously noted, is complicated­—and the past decade of change has generated an immense new market for consultants, advisers and a whole universe of ancillary experts who don’t practice medicine but promise to help navigate a landscape that seems to change every six weeks.” • In other words, ObamaCare’s complexity is a Jobs Guarantee for the 9.9%. That’s why they “fight” so hard to preserve it, and fight even harder to oppose #MedicareForAll. Maybe when the squillionaires all fire themselves off the Mars, they can take some “ancillary experts” with them? I mean, besides the armed guards and the nannies? Just leave us alone….

Black Injustice Tipping Point


I heartily appreciate the sentiment, the imagery, and the punchline, although I don’t like this style of poetry very much.

“Eric Garner was killed 4 years ago today. His killer is free, and got a raise.” [GritPost]. “Eric Garner was killed four years ago today for selling loose cigarettes in Staten Island. His killer remains on the job, while the man who filmed his death is in jail. On July 17, 2014, police originally approached Garner on suspicion that he was selling loose, untaxed cigarettes on the street. The questioning transitioned into a physical struggle when Officer Daniel Pantaleo put Garner in a chokehold, which has been banned by the NYPD since 1993. Garner died, leaving behind four children (daughter Erica Garner, who became an outspoken criminal justice reform activist after her father’s death, died in December of last year due to a heart attack at the age of 27). Eric Garner’s final words were ‘I can’t breathe,’ which later turned into a rallying cry for the Black Lives Matter movement in a wave of protests nationwide after a grand jury declined to charge Pantaleo in Garner’s death.” • The tragedy of the Garner family should be an an English-language opera, not that neoliberal claptrap Hamilton.

“It’s Time For Us to Rethink ‘The Talk’ [Radical Faggot]. This is well worth a read, and if you, like me, were not given the talk when you were young, do consider reflecting on that and what it means. More: “I did not get ‘the talk’—at least not directly—given to so many young Black people about the dangers of the police. I grew up middle class, half-white, and very light skinned in suburban Massachusetts…. [A new book is designed to] provide parents with tools for making ‘the talk’ easier. The book ends with a five step plan to keep Black kids safer in police interactions… The most glaring problem with this approach is that it obscures the core injustice of police violence: There is absolutely nothing one can do to avoid it….” The author then gives an alternative to “the talk,” whose first bullet point is: “Do not talk to the police.” • And that’s good advice. I know Yves has run this before, but here it is again:

This is well worth listening to, in its entirety, if only because it’s also very funny.

“The chief wanted perfect stats, so cops were told to pin crimes on black people, probe found” [Miami Herald]. “‘If they have burglaries that are open cases that are not solved yet, if you see anybody black walking through our streets and they have somewhat of a record, arrest them so we can pin them for all the burglaries,’ one cop, Anthony De La Torre, said in an internal probe ordered in 2014. “They were basically doing this to have a 100% clearance rate for the city.'”

Class Warfare

“How Corporate America Is Filling The Gaps In Public Education” [Safe Haven]. “U.S. businesses have recently begun training primary and high school students with the skills needed in the market. Or, more to the point—they’re training them with the skills they need them to have to fill jobs that are increasingly hard to match with capable applicants. And they’re starting as young as kindergarten.” • Get the kindergartners in debt, and there’s your feudalism, right there (and neoliberal playbook, step 4). But wait. I thought twenty years of Charters under both administrations would have fixed this? Guess not.

“What’s driving the new wave of unionization sweeping digital newsrooms?” [Columbia Journalism Review]. • Let me guess: Wages and working conditions. Yep: “For staffers at young digital media companies, the thing that once was thought to be a barrier to unionizing—their tendency to hop from employer to employer—has turned into a prime motivation to organize. One recently unionized employee tells me her last job was at an organization that no longer exists and she doesn’t expect to stay at her current company for long, either. Still, she says, ‘I want a 9-to-5 job that I earn a decent salary from, [to] be able to save money, leave work when I’m not working, and not be working all the time.'” • Notice how everything the left wants supportsthat, and there’s nothing on offer from liberals or conservatives except two flavors of more of the same.

News of The Wired

“Federation in social networks” [LWN.net]. • A focus on the ActivityPub W3C specification — I found the bios of the editors encouraging, because they’re not corporate — and what it supports. More: “One of the most exciting aspects of ActivityPub is that its flexible definition of an ‘activity’ allows it to serve as the federated messaging layer for a variety of social applications. One interesting example is PeerTube, which combines ActivityPub federation with WebTorrent, an in-browser peer-to-peer file transfer implementation, to build a decentralized video sharing service. In this case, the activities exchanged between instances are simply references to videos that are retrieved directly from other peers. While PeerTube is still in early development, the current implementation is quite promising and it’s easy to imagine it succeeding in many of the same ways as Mastodon.” • Federated blogging would be interesting; an abstract or first para could work as a tweet….

* * *

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 (Arizona Slim):

Arizona Slim writes: “Attaching a photo of Bunny Ear Cactii (Opuntia Microdasys) from the front yard at the Arizona Slim Ranch. And, yes, those little glochids hurt when they poke you!” Literal bunny ears, not TV bunny ears…

And not to overplay the cat angle, but cats are supposed to like boxes. What’s up with the distinct lack of excitement?

* * *

Readers: Water Cooler is a standalone entity not covered by the annual NC fundraiser. So do feel free to make a contribution today or any day. Here is why: Regular positive feedback both makes me feel good and lets me know I’m on the right track with coverage. When I get no donations for five or ten days I get worried. More tangibly, a constant trickle of small donations helps me with expenses, and I factor that trickle in when setting fundraising goals. So if you see something you especially appreciate, do feel free to click the hat!

To give more, click on the arrow heads to the right of the amount.


If you hate PayPal — even though you can use a credit card or debit card on PayPal — you can email me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, and I will give you directions on how to send a check.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Guest Post, Water Cooler on by .

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. jsn

    “Hillary Clinton Blasts Trump For His Putin Press Conference With Just Four Simple Words”

    Shades of Yulia Tymoshenko & Viktor Yanukovych now that the US is a fully fledged Oligarchy with Hillary leading the “resistance”.

    1. flora

      Our first female ‘caesar’ wanna-be. oy… The old guard is terrified of losing its grip, which will happen by time’s passage alone. AOC won a ‘safe’ seat and DiFi lost the Cal Dem committee endorsement. This doesn’t mean the old guard is on the verge of losing this election, but time is not on their side. ‘Beware of an old man (or woman) in a hurry’, as the old saying goes.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Remember how weak Obama was in November 2008 when the Democratic caucus moved to oust Lieberman, and Joe used his powers of persuasion on Obama to get him to lobby to keep Holy Joe on all his committee assignments including chair of Homeland Security where so much grift happens. If Obama just wasn’t so weak…

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            It’s like that place is a swamp or something.

            In fact, I think, originally, it was quite swampy when it was chosen, over 200 years ago.

          2. Richard

            I think this is one of those “not a bug, it’s a feature” moments. I don’t think Obama was weak at all; he and the dem leadership kowtowed to Lieberman, among others, because they’re useful in punching left, lecturing the base about “what’s possible”, and keeping things nice and retrograde. Useful in “preventing” the management from doing what they don’t want done in the first place.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I don’t speak French but I’m always wanting to learn.

      So, one easy way for me to remember ‘lèse-majesté’ is that when you make the queen her majesty feel less, small, you are treasonous.

      It’s treason to rob a queen of her throne…and especially egregious with Russian help.

      1. Procopius

        By the time of the Tudors it was treason to in any way harm the interests of the monarch. That’s probably why so many people accuse their opponents of treason, even though our founders knew the danger and were careful to limit and make absolutely clear the definition of treason. Without war there can be no treason. Also, America is not a monarchy, too. ‘Lèse-majesté’ is not treason, and does not exist in American law nor in English common law after the Glorious Revolution. Why are you people too lazy to find the definition of actual crimes the orange balloon might be guilty of?

    3. jrs

      5 word question for Hillary “which side are you on?”

      But I don’t mean the Russians, no the Pete Seeger reference is to are you with the workers or the owners? But we know, with your banker speeches, we know ….

      No war but the class war.

      1. Amfortas the Hippie


        as I’ve said before, with the push of a button, I turn this whole place into a beerjoint…music in the trees.
        so when we have a work day, wherein the buddies of my boys come out and do farm stuff(i am shocked that this is popular, but who am i to argue. it was their idea) they get exposed to everything from Bach to Miles Davis to stuff like this…as well as a smattering of Utah Phillips and a bunch of Wobbly songs for good measure.
        this usually leads to lots of questions, which I am more than happy to hold forth on. So last week, cutting, splitting and stacking firewood(they readily agreed with my assessment that it is superior to the “strength and conditioning” offered by the coaches), I talked for half a day about the history of Labor in this country.
        luckily, none of these kids’ parents are all that political, so I don’t expect burning crosses or anything, so long as I avoid dissing the Cowboys.
        I consider this sort of exercise a good example of Gandalf’s “small stones that become an avalanche.”, at least potentially. They sure ain’t getting this education anywhere else.

        1. Procopius

          Good on ya. I got a little of that education in my high school, of all places. It was one of the middle-class suburbs of Detroit, 100% white but not vocal about it, and some of it had to do with what a rotten, lying SOB Old Henry was. He paid that $5 a day to very, very few people who could pass the screening by his secret police. Of course, that was the McCarthy years and the teachers were reacting against the general anti-union attitude of the “anti-Communists.” No, Walter Reuther was not a member of the Communist Party, thank you.

  2. Carolinian

    Latest C.J. Hopkins: the media’s Trump obsession as coitus interruptus

    And so, once again, Western liberals, and others obsessed with Donald Trump, having been teased into a painfully tumescent paroxysm of anticipation of some unimaginably horrible event that would finally lead to Trump’s impeachment (or his removal from office by other means) were left standing around with their hysteria in their hands. It has become a sadistic ritual at this point … like a twisted, pseudo-Tantric exercise where the media get liberals all lathered up over whatever fresh horror Trump has just perpetrated (or some non-story story they have invented out of whole cloth), build the tension for several days, until liberals are moaning and begging for impeachment, or a full-blown CIA-sponsored coup, then pull out abruptly and leave the poor bastards writhing in agony until the next time … which is pretty much exactly what just happened.[…]

    The London Resistance’s secret weapon was the baby Russian Agent Hitler blimp, which forced Trump and his Nazi goons to retreat to one of his Scottish golf resorts, but not before humiliating America, and horrifying The Washington Post, by failing to grovel before the British monarch. Still, the point is, London was saved. The forces of hatred, bigotry, and Russianness were roundly defeated by the forces of love, and goodness, and democracy, and tolerance, and whatever. If only the French had been willing to deploy a baby Hitler blimp in 1940 …

    More over the top /sarc:


    1. Buck Eschaton

      C.J. Hopkins has been a tear in his last few pieces.

      I liked the ending of this one.

      “Democrats at least have a new campaign slogan that they can use in 2018 and beyond … “NEXT TIME VOTE FOR WHO WE TELL YOU TO, YOU RUSSIA-LOVING NAZI SCUM!””

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > It has become a sadistic ritual at this point

      See “The Capital of Kink” from a few days ago.

      I remember, a decade or so ago, some snark about Republicans having better sex, because so much is forbidden to them, and when does doing the forbidden not make for better sex? And sometimes snark, like cliché, touches on certain truths. It does make sense that the party that, as today’s snark has it, is “paid to lose” would have issues with bringing its affairs to… completion. (Actually, not the party; that’s a category error. I mean the, er, members of the party.)

    3. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I’m still looking to experiencing my first genuine, not pseudo, Tantric exercise.

      1. ambrit

        Yab yum on a Zen stick?
        To steal a line from Judge Dee: “Does no one in this monastery do any meditation?”

      1. Lee

        On December 3, 1969 [Black Panther, David] Hilliard was arrested for threatening to kill Nixon.[9] This threat was given in Hilliard’s speech given on November 15, 1969 at Golden Gate Park. In his speech Hilliard was quoted saying “We will kill Richard Nixon.”[5] In July 1971, Hilliard was sentenced to one to ten years and incarcerated at Vacaville Prison.[2] In January 1973 while serving a sentence of six months to 10 years, he was denied parole.[10]


  3. Knifecatcher

    I may have missed it, but has there been any commentary on the Lieberman op-ed in the WSJ?


    A few days ago there was a minor Twitter kerfuffle when AOC accused Crowley of not being willing to concede the election and not giving up the WFP line on the ballot. At the time I started smelling the possibility of a Ned Lamont / Joe Lieberman situation but even my cold cynical heart never imagined that Lieberman himself would start the process.

    1. Scott

      I was going to school in Connecticut at the time and Lamont seemed like a bit of an empty suit. He ran against the Iraq War, which was good, but he never had the substance that I’ve seen from AOC across the board. I doubt that an individual as tied to the financial industry from Greenwich would be a reliable vote on economic issues.

      1. Big River Bandido

        If the “Working Families Party” deserved any credit for anything, they’d never have endorsed Crowley in the FIRST place. This is the same “party” that endorsed Cuomo four years ago.

        The WFP is nothing but an astroturf, focus-grouped, sheepdog front for the Democrat Party in its effort to keep the left in line without any concessions whatsoever. Democrat blather (“working families”…excuse me for having to go upchuck) is even part of the “party’s” name. The sole purpose of the “Working Families Party” is to deflect the anger of the left and co-opt it.

        Of course WFP *seems* “legitimately pissed”. That’s their con game.

        1. hunkerdown

          In US politics, the voters are not members of the Party and their policy preferences can and usually do differ. You can’t have an aristocracy if you let just anyone in.

  4. JohnnySacks

    “UPS tests smart locks for parcel delivery to apartment lobbies”
    If only there was a centralized location in every single zip code in the entire country where a person could pick up a package. With the added bonus of heavy handed federal prosecution if the service was used for any type of fraud.

    1. FreeMarketApologist

      In NYC, most unattended (non-doorman or resident super) small apartment buildings already have a little lockbox by the front door, which contains a front door key. Postal delivery people all have the key to the lockbox, and that’s how they let themselves in to deliver mail to the resident’s mailboxes in the lobby. This has worked well for a long time. Why UPS couldn’t also have keys to the same lockbox is beyond me (proprietary “but that’s only for my use” behavior on the part of the postal service, probably, along with some liability issues).

      (I do like the audit trail feature of the electronic version, though not at the expense of privacy and data leakage).

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Good point. Because maybe because people have fewer issues giving phyical keys to a public servant than they do giving hackable keys to a corporation?

    1. Terry Humphrey

      Remind me again why I should be so butt hurt about Bernie throwing shade on Trump and the Russians. In all likelihood, Trump will be the one Sanders must face in 2020. Then there’s the Gallup Poll above citing American’s total disregard for “Russian situation.” If you’re going to bitch about what he says about Russia you could at least acknowledge his courage on Israel. As far as “escalating tensions,” welcome to the 21st Century.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        We’re being given a powerful lesson in how easily consent can be manufactured (to slander Medicare-for-All as a Putin’s ploy to destroy America, for example).

      2. djrichard

        The enemy of my enemy is my friend I guess. So in this case, the long game is that Trump will be Bernie’s enemy. In which case, take the position that Bernie is taking now: if the machinery that manufactures consent has it in for Trump, then don’t get in the way of that. Indeed, help it along.

        But let’s look at it from the other side. Who does the machinery for manufacturing consent see as their enemy? Sure, obviously Trump. But Bernie was definitely a target during the primaries against Hillary.

        In which case is Bernie calculating that he’s less of an enemy than Trump is to that machinery, and therefore they can make strange bed fellows until Bernie is in power. And then once Bernie is in power, they’ll what, go their separate ways? Not sure how this plays out – in particular for us who are expected to do the consenting.

        An alternate way for Bernie to approach this is to see that machinery as the enemy, an enemy more dangerous than Trump. And dare to dare, that Trump could be his strange bed fellow in going up against that enemy.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          I’m trying to imagine 2020-2021, when the Dems have lost to Trump yet again, having planted their flag and screeched endlessly about a “problem” less than 1% of people care about (Boogieman Russia). What possible depravity and further unhingedness can they come up with? They already said Trump was Satan, Hitler, Nosferatu, Beelzebub etc., all to absolutely no effect. It’s almost as if they want to lose, just so they can continue to kaching their coffers with Permanent War monies and fat contracts making sure Americans can’t get basic health care and services. Not hard to decide which is “treasonous”, that or the Orange Man having the temerity to actually *talk* to a nuclear superpower that could annihilate us.

          1. Kris Kelvin

            I was pondering the very same possiblity, as I remain convinced that I won’t be voting for the offspring of the ruling class running in Iowa’s governor race as a pro-biz Dem. He keeps bragging about being on Corporate Boards. F*sk.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The world is like what was said in the article in the Moon of Alabama in today’s links – there are 3 power centers: America/the West, Russia/Euroasia, and China.

      It benefits China to see the first two apart.

      Should people be paranoid about a hidden hand meddling in there?

      “Are you a Chinese stooge?”

    3. Lee

      Since I, like the vast multitude of my fellow Americans, don’t give a teeny-tiny shit about the Trump/ Russia situation (see poll above), Sanders making an essentially meaningless gesture of agreement to the establishment Dems on this, troubles me little.

      1. John k

        If the poll is right, even the dems that voted for her vs Bernie in the primary. Sub 1% includes the beltway and a little of her fans, and that’s it. They’ve got power and money, but no votes. Power draining out of their pockets and raining onto the streets.

        As for Bernie, if economy stays strong to 2020 it might be close, no need to antagonize even a minuscule group, given that group will vote. Plus it was likely a small, rogue group that took out Kennedy, no reason to more excite that type than they are now.

  5. UserFriendly

    If anyone wants to get mad as hell…..
    Adam Parkhomenko, the director of ‘Ready for Hillary,’ organized #OccupyLafayetteSquare (park across from the white house) to call for war with Russia / impeach Trump.
    You can see a list of idiots using the twitter Hashtag here. I’m surprised it took them so long to astroturf Occupy, Of course I am the only one who finds it a bit odd that anti-capitalism protests some how got co-opted by neo-McCarthyism.

    1. flora

      sigh…. don’t these people read? At the risk of appearing to violate Godwin’s Law, here’s something relevant to today’s hysteria, imo, from a while back.

      “Of course the people don’t want war. But after all, it’s the leaders of the country who determine the policy, and it’s always a simple matter to drag the people along whether it’s a democracy, a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger.”

      — Herman Goering at the Nuremberg trials

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        They did seem to see the underbelly side of humanity rather too clearly, unfortunately, except for the crimes of humanity (which are what we have been doing to Nature).

        They didn’t see those; nor did many other people in the West, until maybe the 60s’.

    2. freedomny

      OMG – there’s an organization called “Ready for Hillary”? I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. I wonder who funds it? Wouldn’t it be a hoot if OccupyLafayetteSquare was funded by a Corporate Pac?

      The “resistors”, the MSM and the politicians are all out of their minds….

      1. DonCoyote

        “Ready for Hillary” goes back to well before her 2016 campaign (2012-13): Planet Hillary (written in Jan 2014) calls it:

        “One project is Ready for Hillary, which has become a kind of clearinghouse for people angling to get in early with the hypothetical campaign. ”

        But some of the Democratic Party’s deepest-pocketed donors have described Ready for Hillary as a make-work program for former Clinton hands. From its inception, the group didn’t exactly fit everyone’s definition of a sophisticated, modern-day apparatus. It was started by Adam Parkhomenko, who worked as an assistant to Patti Solis Doyle in 2008 until Solis Doyle (who coined the term “Hillaryland” back in the White House days) was ousted as campaign manager. Just out of high school, the earnest Parkhomenko started working for a Hillary-related PAC and has been trying to get Clinton elected president for much of his adult life. (He also works a couple of nights a month as a reserve officer with the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington.) The group raised $4 million last year, in part, by hawking iPhone cases with the black-and-white “Texts From Hillary” image of Clinton looking at her BlackBerry onboard a C-17 to Tripoli.”

        The problem (as Stephen Colbert demonstrated) is that Super-PACs can live on long after the event for which they were raising money has passed, and spend the money on whatever they please (see also the Clinton Foundation, which was incorporated to build the library for Bill post presidency).

      2. Jim Haygood

        The only known way to get “Ready for Hillary” is to swallow a handful of Valium and wash it down with at least a half dozen shots of distilled spirits.

        Some may require a more diversified pharmacopoeia to cope with the malignant horror. :-0

        1. Off The Street

          Mena, Arkansas restaurants have booths ready for Hillary. They seat five, so she can have a moment of silence honor those four local kids.

          1. ambrit

            Good G– man. Mena Arkansas, which we’ve been to, was where many of the Reagan Iran Contra guns to the Contras flights originated from. Some also came out of the Abita Airport in Louisiana. If that bunch has the hots for Hillary, then we’re all well and truly screwed.

      1. UserFriendly

        Since they are all rich employed Hillary voters the plan is to meet up every night at 8 pm. I know this because one of them literally played the ‘Hillary Card‘ on me, accusing me of bringing up Hillary when she had nothing to do with it…. For mentioning the ‘Ready for Hillary’ connection…. not the brightest bulb.

        There was literally one women there during the day today.

    3. djrichard

      At least #OccupyWallStreet had better branding. It named who the enemy was: Wallstreet.

      But I guess #OccupyTrump doesn’t work. Maybe #OccupytheWhiteHouse? Not quite the same branding, because it doesn’t actually name an enemy. But it certainly would identify an end-game wouldn’t it. An end game that would more than appeal to Hillary.

      And we’ll all look back and wonder, who was the enemy again? Not all that different than after we regime changed Iraq. If only this naming convention was a thing back then, we could have had #OccupyIraq.

      1. djrichard

        P.S. we need to infiltrate this protest with signs saying #OccupyRussia. See how much traction that gets, lol.

  6. Summer

    Re: Bezos Space Gamble
    “Those squillionaires are desperate to get off-planet, aren’t they? (I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around the idea that markets which cannot be seen are precisely those into which you should dump all your stupid money. Then again, I’m not an adventure capitalist. Cf. Heb 11:1).”

    Or they’re desperate to get their money or digits that represent it “off the planet”.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      “If I, the richest person, were to convert all my wealth into pennies, and stack them one on top of another*, they would reach Mars.”

      *Actually, I haven’t worked out the math. It’s quite possible that person still needs to extract, sorry, work very hard to make that boast.

      1. ahoyahoy

        My seat-of-the-pants calculation suggest he’s about half way to Venus at closest approach(22.8 million Kms. of ~41 necessary). In the spirit of the times I suggest a go fund me campaign.

  7. shinola

    Re. The Talk (abouit how to deal with police)

    An uncle of mine who had spent a few years as a county deputy sheriff gave my cousin & me the talk just before my cousin 1st got his drivers license. It started something like this:

    Most cops are good guys just trying to do their job. But there are always a few that are cops because they want to hold their d*ck in one hand and a gun in the pother… and you don’t know if the cop who’s pulling you over is one of those.

    Oh, we’re white boys.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      From Police (not Police, Poland though), Wikipedia:

      Law enforcement in ancient China was carried out by “prefects” for thousands of years since it developed in both the Chu and Jin kingdoms of the Spring and Autumn period. In Jin, dozens of prefects were spread across the state, each having limited authority and employment period. They were appointed by local magistrates, who reported to higher authorities such as governors, who in turn were appointed by the emperor, and they oversaw the civil administration of their “prefecture”, or jurisdiction. Under each prefect were “subprefects” who helped collectively with law enforcement in the area. Some prefects were responsible for handling investigations, much like modern police detectives. Prefects could also be women.[11] The concept of the “prefecture system” spread to other cultures such as Korea and Japan.

      In ancient Greece, publicly owned slaves were used by magistrates as police. In Athens, a group of 300 Scythian slaves (the ῥαβδοῦχοι, “rod-bearers”) was used to guard public meetings to keep order and for crowd control, and also assisted with dealing with criminals, handling prisoners, and making arrests. Other duties associated with modern policing, such as investigating crimes, were left to the citizens themselves.[12]

      In the Roman empire, the army, rather than a dedicated police organization, provided security. Local watchmen were hired by cities to provide some extra security. Magistrates such as procurators fiscal and quaestors investigated crimes. There was no concept of public prosecution, so victims of crime or their families had to organize and manage the prosecution themselves.

      Under the reign of Augustus, when the capital had grown to almost one million inhabitants, 14 wards were created; the wards were protected by seven squads of 1,000 men called “vigiles”, who acted as firemen and nightwatchmen. Their duties included apprehending thieves and robbers and capturing runaway slaves. The vigiles were supported by the Urban Cohorts who acted as a heavy-duty anti-riot force and even the Praetorian Guard if necessary.

    2. Cat Afficionado

      Yup, that was also the basic talk I got as I approached the age where I would be able to drive. Hand on the wheel, no sudden movements, inform the officer before reaching into a pocket, glove compartment, anything. End sentences with “sir” and keep any and all chatter to an absolute minimum beyond basic yes or no responses. The number of people that I would otherwise consider intelligent who adamantly believe that it is their right to yell obscenities and “state their rights” in any and all interactions with police is mind-boggling. I cannot fathom how any thinking person could conclude that this would improve their situation.

      I ended up in handcuffs once as a teenager, out in a farm field in an episode of underage drinking. Being polite, physically cooperative and avoiding hysterics enabled me to keep a clean record. I also specifically recall begging the officer to let me spend the night in jail as an alternative to calling my parents. Alas, the phone call was made, and I suppose that it had its intended effect. In the decades since then, I have not interacted with the police again, other than a couple of moving violations.

    1. hunkerdown

      They’re not open for debate. You either agree with high school history narratives and the elected none-dare-call-it aristocracy, or you’re a traitor.

      Speaking of, with such neolib-friendly cant as “Ambition to counter ambition”, is Comey running?


    On Obamacare as jobs guarantee: I’ve noticed it’s generated jobs on two levels. You do have the consultants and experts, hangers on to the big insurance companies, pharmaceuticals, and hospitals, making the big bucks. But then you also have people working at small community organizations, non-profits, local government agencies, etc., making little cash but doing the actual person-to-person work of helping people navigate the arcane web of the exchanges. So like everything else in America, it’s either supplying 10%-er jobs or minimal living standard jobs.

      1. Code Name D

        My local tax preper thought they were going to get into healthcare. Turned out it was too complicated for them. And you think I am kidding.

  9. Carey

    I thought the Zero Anthropology article on the Helsinki Trump/Putin meeting was notably

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      I strongly agree with your assessment of the Zero Antropology article.

      In the past I skipped over most of the discussion and links related to “Russiagate” because I had and still have trouble believing that anyone could give credence to any of the allegations. I thought both the ‘Intelligence’ community and the wholly owned press seemed to keep tongue firmly in cheek as they made their fabulous claims. Reminds me of a favorite quote from the movie “Shooter”: “They also said that artificial sweeteners were safe, WMDs were in Iraq and Anna Nicole married for love.” — Mr. Rate from “Shooter”

      How many people are there who really believe in “Russiagate”?

      1. Jen

        Well, to judge by one of the links above citing no measurable interest by most voters, not that many, but they’re out there. I started a faceborg debate with my cousin last night. I probably should have been drinking more. Or less. He’s utterly convinced that there’s collusion between Trump and Putin; that there could be no other possible reason for Trump to seek peace with Russia. Another friend of his joined in, hyperventilating about hundreds of thousands of russians bending their computers to do something to the 2018 elections. Then he starts ranting about Putin supporting Assad, a man who is so evil he gassed babies, and how can Trump be sincere about wanting peace when he’s picking fights with everyone.

        These people have lost their minds.

        1. Elizabeth Burton

          I agree they’ve lost their minds, or rather, that their minds have been eaten by a steady diet of propaganda from the corporate media combined with a diluted knowledge of history that has been carefully designed to advance US exceptionalism. They’re headline-and-lede readers and sound-byte listeners who are easily suborned by carefully constructed media pronouncements.

          What we have is a culture that has fallen under the sway of cult mind control as defined by Steven Hassan, and which is now moving from harmless to deadly.

          1. FluffytheObeseCat

            This descent into group krazy became inevitable when MSNBC and CNN decided to boost ratings by using the “if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em” method to combat Fox and their parent, Newscorp. Propaganda works.

            However, the prevalence of Russia/Putin derangement among the truly well-educated has still taken me by surprise. I once believed there was such a thing as a ‘reality-based’ community. Even though it was populated by snide, effete little snobs, I always thought rank stupidity was not their way.

            Of course, it’s easy for them to boost this meme. Putin is a genuinely evil guy, Trump is a petulant ass who suffers from intermittent bouts of evil, and Russia is a nation-state with interests that diverge from our own. However, Russia’s pitiful little efforts to play with our electoral process did not put Trump on the throne. Establishment elites did that. Hillary did that.

      2. kareninca

        I am absolutely terrified to say that I just talked with two middle aged upper middle class women I know, and they both think that Trump should be impeached because he is a terribly dangerous traitor who is handing our country over to the evil Russians. They are both convinced and they think that it is a terrible and immediate danger.

      3. Amfortas the Hippie

        sadly, both my mom and my stepdad are true believers.
        mainlining msnbc all day and night is the likely culprit.
        as well as an acute aversion to any consideration of American Politics and even “news” as essentially a puppet show throwing shadows on the wall.
        If trump trips over his gut and legalises pot, I don’t know what I’m gonna do.

  10. NotTimothyGeithner

    Cats don’t see like we do, and I’m pretty certain its already “hiding” under the plant from its perspective. My tuxedo cat who comes when called will occasionally hide under house plants or an afghan draped over the furniture. She’ll peek out as you call. She won’t come for any reason and then will pounce when I walk away.

    1. Jen

      My cat was a stray. She’s been a well loved, overfed house cat for 16 years now, but retains an instinctive fear of being trapped. She will happily flatten a paper bag, but you’ll never see her in one. Boxes? Forget it. Thankfully my other cat has a normal feline appreciation for such things.

  11. Carey

    The cat-deities do love boxes, in my experience, but not as much as the enjoy confounding their humans… and do I detect, again, a put-upon expression on
    this one’s face? They crack me up

        1. neighbor7

          In my experience cats are, above all else, arbitrary (from human perspective). Obsessive involvement with something turns in a microsecond to an utter disavowal of its very existence.

  12. Oregoncharles

    ” But wait… Consumers are also workers… So if their wages were higher…”
    Which is more important to most people: their job, and whether they have one, or the price of cheap plastic objects – or even clothes?

  13. UserFriendly

    Some excellent news:

    Which 10 Democratic House campaigns have reported the most contributions?
    David Trone (Maryland’s 6th): $10.7 million
    Randy Bryce (Wisconsin’s 1st): $4.8 million
    Paul Kerr (California’s 49th): $4.5 million (defeated in his primary)
    Josh Gottheimer (New Jersey’s 5th): $4.4 million
    Adam Schiff (California’s 28th): $4.2 million
    Gil Cisneros (California’s 39th): $4.1 million
    Raja Krishnamoorthi (Illinois’ 8th): $3.6 million
    Joe Crowley (New York’s 14th): $3.4 million (defeated in his primary)
    Nancy Pelosi (California’s 12th): $3.1 million
    Andy Thorburn (California’s 39th): $3.0 million (defeated in his primary)

    Odd, or not, that the MSM haven’t mentioned 3 of the top 10 dem fundraisers have lost their primaries…. Now what does that say about the need to keep selling out?

    1. Adam

      Cisneros by all rights should have lost his primary as well, but the Dem Party basically forced the more popular insurgent out of the race.

  14. flora

    re: Dammit Bernie

    Yes. But, and here I may be wrong, I wonder if he’s trying to protect the flank of the non-DCCC candidates like AOC and others by taking up the talking point. Don’t know.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      The path to hell is paved with good intentions.

      The time is always right, to do what’s right.

      I don’t see this as ending well. Its July. Campaigns should be gearing up for serious efforts especially with the proliferation of early voting. Negative campaigning turns people off politics. The chorus is getting off on its collective circle jerk, but no one will join in the long run. Negative campaigning was the hallmark of Democratic campaigns in pretty much every year in recent memory except 2006, 2008, and the waning days of 2012 at least by Obama.

      With Sanders joining the chorus, it does two things: continues the poisonous atmosphere and provides evidence the OMG Russia crowd is winning. A third thing would be that it delegitimizes Sanders. You have to dance with who brought you, and this kind of thing didn’t get him to where he is.

      AOC and others are big kids. AOC knocked off a senior member of the party leadership in a walk-able district. She still needs Sanders as an ally and for wisdom, but she doesn’t need his protection.

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I left it out, but the danger of the #resistance winning over Sanders is they continue down the path that lost election after election. The blue wave might not be so good if the tide goes out. The treason protests were being held on Wall Street and across from the White House. Its been my experience poor voters employ a savvy strategy to determine if they vote or not. Its simple, but it works. Did the candidate come to my house and try to talk issues with me? I’ve found people will accept not understanding a candidates ideas about mortgage legislation, but a candidate who comes to their homes is different than a candidate who doesn’t.

          The people who care the most about “treason” are the people who don’t worry about today and tomorrow. They are fine. Civility is under fire. Imagine if HRC and her cronies devoted a fraction of the energy to Flint as they are to defending HRC for basically breaking the law.

          Clapping along with these vile people isn’t going to turn non-voters into voters which is what needs to happen to win an election.

      1. pretzelattack

        agree. i really don’t see the need for sanders to join in on this. it’s hard to believe he is taken in by the propaganda.

    2. Jeremy Grimm

      I can cut Bernie some slack for going soft on the F-37 — figuring it plays an important part in keeping a number of Vermonters employed. I am considerably less understanding of his willingness to take up “Russiagate” talking points and as for Elizabeth Warren she appears more and more like just another Democratic Senator.

      1. JohnnyGL

        Warren’s raising truckloads of cash…for….something….

        If she’s NOT running for prez, then WTF?!?!?

        1. Elizabeth Burton

          Warren hasn’t really had a serious Republican challenger for most of her career in the Senate. This year, however, the GOP (which means, by extension, the Kochtopus et al.) have announced they will spend whatever they have to to get rid of her.

          Better to have and not need than to need and not have.

    3. LL

      There’s talk in the streets that one Twitter account is partof owned by Dem powers. I have no idea and I don’t care. This is rank nonsense and his largest appeal is being a straight shooter. Terrible to sully his reputation this way.

  15. Steely Glint

    I listened to an interview with Professor Anthea Butler today, and she was on fire. Although I have I strongly disagree with her on Bernie & super delegates “What a nice reward for the guy who continually upended the Democratic 2016 campaign by not conceding until he was emotionally ready.”, I strongly support the rest. I recently heard the phrase ” when they go low we should bury them ( instead of go higher) and agree we should open the fire hydrate and spray them from all angles, much like what has been done to progressives.
    “This time of national upheaval should be a clarion call for a clear message of common sense and fighting for democracy. If Democrats can’t find that message, then perhaps it will be time to change the symbol of the party from a donkey to a jackass.”

    1. Big River Bandido

      After reading the article in the link, I am perplexed. She complains about the Democrats’ lack of message. And yet, not a word in the article about economic considerations. Not one word. In fact, there’s hardly anything about policy of any kind, at all.

      1. Carey

        That’s how I read it, too: lots of use of the words “message” and “messaging”, but
        no mention of particular policies. It’s not going to work.

    2. Richard

      Did not see the Bernie/superdelegates remark anywhere in this article (was that from some other remarks?), but if she doesn’t understand that issue as plain and simple democratization, then she’s succeeded in confusing herself.
      I think she’s got a point about attacking Trump aggressively, tying repubs to him, but she didn’t say much about focusing those attacks on policy, and on which policies to challenge. Tiptoeing around class makes clarity hard, dunnit?

    3. Summer

      Bernie/Democrats/2016…seems like only yesterday:

      Washington Post – 7/25/16 (no, not the Washington Post-Moscow)
      Didn’t include the entire article. But highlighted what the article discussed. There are lots of greatest hits from 2016. Just a sampling of revelations, but please note VOX’s sentiment at the time (see end),which was echoed by many Democratic Party apparatchiks.
      “Thousands of leaked emails have sealed the fate of Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz’s uneven five-plus-year tenure as DNC chair.

      Wasserman Schultz’s resignation announcement Sunday afternoon comes as a bad situation just keeps getting worse — and appears as though it might continue to do so. That’s because WikiLeaks has so far released nearly 20,000 emails, new details are still being discovered, and there is still the prospect of additional, damaging emails coming to light.

      Many of the most damaging emails suggest the committee was actively trying to undermine Bernie Sanders’s presidential campaign. Basically all of these examples came late in the primary — after Hillary Clinton was clearly headed for victory — but they belie the national party committee’s stated neutrality in the race even at that late stage.

      Below is a running list of the most troublesome findings for Wasserman Schultz and her party. As new revelations come out, we’ll update it:
      Targeting Sanders’s religion
      Wasserman Schultz calls top Sanders aide a “damn liar”…
      …and says Sanders has “no understanding” of the party
      A Clinton lawyer gives DNC strategy advice on Sanders
      Plotting a narrative about how Sanders’s campaign failed
      Mocking Sanders for his California debate push
      Wishing Sanders would just end it
      Calling an alleged Sanders sympathizer a “Bernie bro
      Criticizing Obama for lack of fundraising help — “That’s f—ing stupid”
      Flippant chatter about donors

      The email trove contains some embarrassing revelations but no bombshells

      But from the craziness today, you would think there had been actual bombs lobbed into voting booths by Putin and the KGB.

  16. Musicismath

    There’s something darkly humorous about seeing people who are all in for open borders and moving beyond the nation state in one context literally yelling “TREASON!!!” in another, as several of my self-described “very liberal” Facebook friends are currently doing.

    It adds to my suspicion that a great deal of “#resistance/idpol/progressives for the national security state” thought is really just a collection of feel-good slogans with no coherent intellectual framework connecting them. It’s this self-contradicting lack of consistency and structure that’s part of the madness, I think.

  17. rd

    Trump doesn’t see why the US should defend a country like Montenegro through NATO. https://www.yahoo.com/news/trump-wonders-why-u-always-132455912.html

    Trump appears to be blissfully unaware that only one country has ever been actively defended by the rest of the NATO block in a military action. That would be the US which has had broad NATO involvement in Afghanistan after 9/11. https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/topics_8189.htm#

    “SEPTEMBER 2001 – JULY 2003

    11 September 2001: A series of four coordinated terrorist attacks are launched on several targets in the United States, killing almost 3,000 people.

    12 September 2001: NATO Allies and partner countries condemn the attacks, offering their support to the United States. The Allies decide to invoke Article 5 of the Washington Treaty – the Alliance’s collective defence clause – for the first time in NATO’s history, if it is determined that the attack was directed from abroad against the United States.

    2 October 2001: The North Atlantic Council is briefed by a high-level US official on results of investigations into the 9/11 attacks and determines that the attacks are regarded as an action covered by Article 5.”

    Montenegro has been in Afghanistan since 2010 and this is one of the reasons Montenegro was allowed to join NATO last year: https://www.nato.int/cps/su/natohq/topics_49736.htm

    Canada was a major participant in Afghanistan suffering numerous casualties because the US is a NATO partner requiring defense. Canada was not a participant in Iraq because that action was independent of NATO and the UN.

    Trump is whining about the monetary costs of US participation in NATO while blissfully unaware that numerous countries in NATO have spilled blood on behalf of the US in the Afghanistan NATO mission. This simply makes the US look ungrateful and petty which will likely negatively impact our relations with the rest of the world for a long time.

  18. Jim Haygood

    Netanyahu struts and preens:

    In a video clip aired Tuesday by Israeli television, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu boasted that Israel was responsible for US President Donald Trump’s decision to quit the Iran nuclear deal.

    In the video, which the Kan public broadcaster said was filmed two weeks ago, Netanyahu can be seen speaking to activists and senior members from his Likud party.

    “We convinced the US president [to exit the deal] and I had to stand up against the whole world and come out against this agreement,” Netanyahu says in the video. “And we didn’t give up.”

    The prime minister then begins to speak about the Iranian regime — “not the Iranian people, I have nothing against them” — before he is interrupted by an unidentified person off-screen who says, “It will disappear with the help of God.”

    “You said it. From your mouth to God,” Netanyahu says in response as the clip ends.


    A perennial claim of Israeli hasbara is that Iran is committed to Israel’s destruction. We are supposed to be shocked — shocked — by Iran’s extremism.

    But this video makes clear that the commitment to destruction is mutual. Moreover, Israel — with its undeclared state-of-the-art nuclear arsenal — is actually capable of destroying Iran.

    Somehow with all the cries of treason in the air, no one in Congress displays any interest in how a foreign leader is able to countermand US foreign policy, demanding (successfully) that the US cancel the Iranian nuclear deal and move the US embassy to Jerusalem.

    1. Chauncey Gardiner

      Think funds flows both directions might also play a role in US-Israel policy. In the eyes of its beneficiaries on both sides of the pond, not too dissimilar from what former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan termed a “virtuous cycle”. Hence, the disinterest in Congress.

    2. johnnygl

      I mean, what other explanation can there be for why trump is so devoted to israel? Bibi MUST have nudie pics of the first lady!!!

      1. The Rev Kev

        Didn’t a New York newspaper publish them during the election year? I thought that rather crass at the time.

  19. Chauncey Gardiner

    Under today’s Class Warfare section, it is difficult for me to distinguish in any meaningful way between the South Park Underwear Gnomes referenced in the linked NC post from late May and the Neoliberal Playbook Gnomes. Both value accumulation of a resource for the sake of accumulation, thereby depriving others of a necessary resource, and the power that gives them to influence the behavior of others.

    Is there a meaningful difference between the two gnome types I am overlooking? They both seem intent on applying themselves to ever more accumulation, and neither is able to use the vast amount of the resource they control in a productive way other than… well, more accumulation. I tip my hat to the script writers of South Park for their perceptiveness regarding the underlying ideology.

  20. Bruce krasting

    When you say “only 40 million?” what are you referring to? Fresh Direct’s sales are north of $600m.

  21. The Rev Kev

    “Torture advocate John Brennan, who should have been in the dock at the Hague, asks a question:”

    No good Lambert. Remember the American Service-Members’ Protection Act that Bush brought in and also known as the “Hague Invasion Act”? What it means is that if there are any Americans or allies in the Hague for war crimes, the US military has the right to invade the Netherlands and bust them out of the Hague-


  22. Chris

    Slate’s Fred Kaplan just posted an article on how Trump’s performance at Helsinki is not treason, and there are people in the comments comparing the alleged degree of Russian interference to Pearl Harbor. It’s an amazing thing to see insanity spread in real time…

    1. johnnygl


      1) trolls gonna troll..don’t forget brock’s paid trolls. There’s prob more…perhaps a lot more.

      2) perhaps the more interesting reaction is the backlash as heard from the perfectly coherent caller to c-span in the above link.

      She actively THANKS the russians for saving us from HRC. If the blowback is people saying ‘i don’t really care about russia’s interference’, then, well….things get….interesting…

    2. polecat

      Orson Wells himself couldn’t have delivered a better hysteria than what we’re witnessing at present …
      At least War of the Worlds had entertainment value !

      1. AbateMagicThinking - but Not Money

        Entertainment Values and Polecat:

        I hate to disagree with anyone in commenting on NC, but for an outsider Corgi-Food’s* adventures, are really the only guaranteed entertainment going. I state that with the ongoing implosion of the British Tory party as an alternative black comedy.


        *The Queen no longer has any corgis. She doesn’t want to leave any behind.

  23. The Rev Kev

    “Putin’s Attack on the U.S. Is Our Pearl Harbor”

    Always worthwhile looking who is writing an article. One is a former NATO general – Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling – while the other is Molly K. McKew which the article mentions that “she is a registered agent for Georgian President Saakachvili’s government, which she advised from 2009-2013, and for former Moldovan Prime Minister Filat, who has been in prison since 2015.” Yeah, top-tier trolls.
    I have to confess being only able to skim this article as it is just part of the latest dredge though it does not seem to be having any effect on Republican voters (https://www.rt.com/usa/433638-trump-republicans-russia-poll-putin/) which I find interesting.
    The thing is, the article is sloppy in its research. It mentions “eight U.S. battleships were damaged and four were sunk” at Pearl Harbour which Hertling should know is wrong. One was destroyed, one capsized, and two others were flooded to temporarily settle on the shallow bottom to stop fires getting to the magazines. A minor quibble yes but a sign of no fact-checking.
    Same with the bit about “Its leader, Osama bin Laden, chose targets linked to the U.S. government and American economic power as part of his larger strategy”. Bin Laden was into attacking “symbols” hence the Pentagon and the Twin Towers. If Bin Laden wanted to be really effective, he could have sent an airliner against the CIA headquarters, the NSA headquarters, the Pentagon and maybe the White House (which was the likely target of the airliner that the passengers took down in Pennsylvania.
    I just wish that these trolls and shrills in these articles could write better stuff in their attacks.

  24. ChrisPacific

    This is silly. The problem with the Democrats’ Russia messaging is that they aren’t talking about it enough.

    You need to use the right language, Lambert.

    “Thanks to our recent focus groups, we’ve realized that we perhaps haven’t done as good a job as we hoped of communicating the urgency of the Russian threat. This has led to the perception among some voters that we are not focusing on the issues that matter to them. We’re sorry that they perceive us this way, and we’d like them to know that we’re committed to delivering our message more effectively so that we can bring everybody on board.”

  25. JBird

    “The chief wanted perfect stats, so cops were told to pin crimes on black people, probe found” [Miami Herald]. “‘If they have burglaries that are open cases that are not solved yet, if you see anybody black walking through our streets and they have somewhat of a record, arrest them so we can pin them for all the burglaries,’ one cop, Anthony De La Torre, said in an internal probe ordered in 2014. “They were basically doing this to have a 100% clearance rate for the city.’”

    Between evil like this and Chicago PD Homan Square someone might actually think we have a problem.

    My question is how many places do we not know about? The Chicago PD had(has?) their black site operating for years before the Guardian printed its multi part expose. There are thousands of American police departments with anxious leadership wanting to maintain good stats, many with carefully hidden quotas like the NYPD’s that police officers are expected to meet. Just how often does convenient arrests of people who might be surprised at the drugs and guns they somehow have?

  26. kareninca

    I noticed the weirdest thing in the WSJ comment section in the last couple of days. Although the WSJ, in its heart of hearts, still hates Trump, its readership – old timey Republicans – very much favor him. Every time the WSJ runs an anti-Trump article, and it is not rare for them to do so, the comment section will blast back and defend Trump. However, the Putin meeting stories have been an exception. Suddenly, the top-voted comments were Trump-hating. There were far more votes than usual, and they were up votes for the “Trump is a traitor, selling us out to the Russians” comments.

    I felt as if I were watching a psyop in action. Not to be paranoid or anything.

  27. Darthbobber

    Apparently “A Better Deal” didn’t do it. So the new House Dem generic slogan is to be “for the people”. Wow. That’ll pack in the voters. Clearly differentiates them from all the politicians who OPENLY and explicitly tout themselves as “against the people.” But I think mom and apple pie should really be in there somewhere.

    1. Carey

      “Paid to lose” seems to best fit those facts. Good to see Lieberman out there doing what he does best, too, WRT Crowley.

      Kill it with fire

  28. Darthbobber

    Team Donkey and the intelligence “community” seem determined to sidetrack any rational discussion of what the US-Russia relationship should be, given all of the other priorities. (Recall the famous Obama “pivot to Asia” reprioritization? Which maintaining an artificial crisis with Russia on the European edge does nothing but interfere with?)

    Both our handling of the Ukie coup, and our reaction to the inevitable Crimean annexation pretty much locked us into a stance of maintaining an openly hostile and punitive relationship unless they agree to hand the Crimea over to the Ukies. Which will happen either when hell freezes over or when Russia loses a major war and a world actually survives it.

    The really pathetic thing is that Russia was always willing to become a (very junior) partner in the world imperial consortium, if given an end to our prodding around on its western and southern borders, and some acknowledgement of their regional status. Things headed south sharply after our antics in Libya and the Ukraine convinced them that in present circumstances this could not happen, and also that deals with us weren’t worth a plugged nickel.

    I’ve always assumed that they were doing whatever they could (not that much, as far as I can see), to head off the prospect of a Clinton presidency. Their security establishment would have been greatly remiss in its duties if it didn’t.

    At the end of the day, the shallow Trump seems to muster more of a clue than the blob on this. Instinctively, he sees nothing to be gained by a posturing contest where the inevitable formal denials get responded to with “Nyaah. Yer a dirty liar.” And at the end of the day, the underlying issues still need to be resolved.

    I’ve seen several “smart person” pieces the past couple of days in which the author will lament that Trump conflates the “Russia meddling” issue with the “collusion” one. But the conflation is understandable, since this is what a large subset of the establishment Dems are doing on a daily basis.

  29. The Rev Kev

    “Cold War II”

    I have just watched Trump walking back his comments in Helsinki. I think that this is the one that Tucker Carlson calls the “hostage video”. If you watch very carefully, you can see that Trump is blinking in a pattern like that US POW in Vietnam once. He goes blink, blink, blink, bliiink, bliiink, bliink, blink, blink, blink. I think that he is trying to send a message.

    1. flora

      A stray thought. Bernie ran a populist oriented campaign, and so did Trump, each in different ways. Both were talking bread and butter issues for the 90%, among other things. Issues from Bernie or the Trump or sometimes both: anti-trust/anti-monopoly enforcement, immigration reform, single payer or medicare for all, not doing more bad trade deals, rewriting NAFTA, jobs, college costs, etc.

      Stray thought: the D.C. bubble is determined to only talk about what it determines is important to prove it’s still in charge; and what it determines is important has nothing to do with bread and butter populist issues for the 90% that propelled Bernie’s or Trump’s campaigns. So it’s “putin, putin, putin” all the time now from the mighty wurlitzer. The D.C. / estab bubble is collectively and pointedly saying “we can’t hear you” to the rest of the country. A week or two weeks from now there will be a different, collective, we-can’t-hear-you story hysteria. The D.C. bubble is determined to show Trump (elected by populist sentiments) , and Bernie, and the rest of us that the D.C. estab is still the boss. They’ve circled the wagons.
      So Bernie and Warren tweeting stuff that sounds like bending to the D.C. bubble bullying is not good.

  30. VietnamVet

    “Going off planet”. This is only option for End Game Liberalism (The 10% doing anything they want at the expense of everyone else). Silos don’t work. To have guards protecting them, the low lives must become members of the family. Wealthy families become tribes. Tribes fight each other. To win, armies are needed. The best armies were from democracies who served the people and taxed the wealthy for protection money. The American Empire is collapsing from declining taxation, too much debt, increased inequality and incompetence.

    The final attempt for the Western Elite to keep their wealth to themselves is to scapegoat Russia and start WWIII. The smart money knows the only winners must be off planet.

    1. Amfortas the Hippie

      I keep an eye on Rich Folks in the Bunker stories.
      There is often talk about the Guard Problem, as you laid out.
      But I’ve never seen anyone talk about the potential for robot guards…maybe even with Alexa or something.
      Given the kind of people these stories are usually about(Tech billionaires in cuddle puddles with imported hippie songstresses(!?)), one would think that this simple solution would have been long ago arrived at.
      No robot families to bring along and provide for, no morality or ethics to worry about.
      It’s a win win for the billionaires.

      1. VietnamVet

        If there is anything that will unite mankind, it is fighting together against the Robots. I don’t know who will ultimately plunder the horded wealth; humans or Cyberdyne series T-1000. The rich always lose in the end when civilization collapses. But, in the nuclear age, there may be no survivors left on earth.

Comments are closed.