2:00PM Water Cooler 7/26/2018

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“Backing off auto tariffs, US and EU agree to more talks” [Associated Press]. “In a hastily called Rose Garden appearance with Trump, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said the U.S. and the EU had agreed to hold off on new tariffs, suggesting that the United States will suspend plans to start taxing European auto imports — a move that would have marked a major escalation in trade tensions between the allies. Trump also said the EU had agreed to buy ‘a lot of soybeans’ and increase its imports of liquefied natural gas from the U.S. And the two agreed to resolve a dispute over U.S. tariffs on steel and aluminum. But while politicians and businesses welcomed the deal Thursday, the agreement was vague, the negotiations are sure to be contentious, and the United States remains embroiled in major trade disputes with China and other countries.” • The soybeans should help with the Farm Lobby and the mid-terms, at least in terms of perception…

“Today’s D.C. Visit by Top Mexican Trade Officials May Reveal Whether a Renegotiated NAFTA Deal Can Be Signed in 2018” [Eyes on Trade]. “What’s new is Mexico’s heightened motivation to finalize a deal now, given that both the outgoing and incoming administrations appear to have compelling reasons to want a deal done in time for the current Mexican president to sign it and they generally agree on what terms would be acceptable. ‘If a deal cannot be reached now and negotiations roll into 2019, the timeline for talks to be concluded, as well as NAFTA’s ultimate fate, become less certain. Achieving a deal that can get through the U.S. Congress and that satisfies Donald Trump’s high-profile campaign pledges to bring back manufacturing jobs and reduce the NAFTA trade deficit is extremely tricky, but ironically less so if current predictions of Democratic gains in the midterm elections hold true. For decades, congressional Democrats have advocated for the NAFTA changes that could deliver the outcomes Trump promised.” • Of course, now the Democrats would have to deliver, instead of “advocate”….

“Mexico’s negotiating team is back in Washington today to talk NAFTA 2.0 with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, almost two months after talks chilled between the U.S., Mexico and Canada. Mexican Economy Secretary Ildefonso Guajardo and Lighthizer will meet today to formally resume the talks, renewing hopes that negotiators can land a deal in the coming months” [Politico]. “‘There’s hope that the U.S. should have a new position. It wouldn’t make sense to schedule this meeting if there’s no change in position,’ a source close to the negotiations told Morning Trade. A big part of today’s meeting will be to ‘see if the U.S. has found a way to work through the challenges with Mexico.'”

“Tariffs Once Tore the GOP Apart—and May Be Doing So Again” [The Atlantic]. The deck: “It’s only a matter of time before rural voters again learn what their forebears knew: Protectionist policies are rigged against them.” • The trope that all the Democrats have to do is wait crops up everywhere, doesn’t it?



“Hillary Clinton to appear on ‘Madam Secretary’” [Associated Press]. “CBS on Tuesday announced former secretaries Hillary Clinton, Madeleine Albright and Colin Powell will appear on drama’s fifth season premiere on Oct. 7.” • Please, please, please, I’m begging here, let this just be a grift — Clinton making money from being a public official — and some kind of signal….


“Here comes that blue wave” [The Week]. • Reads like analysis until the author just can’t help it, and lets go. More: “Democrats have been at their strongest over the past two years when they have come together to fight the Trump administration with fiery unity [(!!)]. That was true during the health-care fight in the summer of 2017, and it was true during the tax-cut battle that December. When that unity has dissipated, or when Democrats in Congress have lost their fighting spirit, they have watched their polling numbers decline.” • Unspoken whenever the unity schtick is deployed: The liberal Democrats have the power to blame, but the left has the power to determine who wins and loses. (“The people who can destroy a thing, they control it.” –Frank Herbert.) Nice little party you have here. It would ba a shame if something happened to it. I don’t think this is a winning message, but it would be nice to see it more often as a subtext.

UPDATE “House Dems introduce bill to require two years of debt-free college across the US” [ABC]. • Damn. Ask for four years, get two. The left should have asked for free grad school, and then they might have gotten four years.

UPDATE “Democrats overperforming with the real swing voters: those who disapprove of both parties” [NBC News]. “President Trump helped win the White House thanks to an overperformance among voters who disliked both Trump and Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton in 2016…. Democrats have a 30-point advantage over Republicans among this constituency on the generic ballot, a stronger lead than Republicans had during each of their midterm wave years of 2010 and 2014. Fifty-five percent of these voters back Democrats, compared to just 25 percent who back Republicans.”

“Why So Many Reporters Are Missing the Political Story of the Decade” [Nancy LeTourneau, Washington Monthly]. “Frankly, someone needs to tell [Bernie Sanders] to sit down and shut up for a while…. By zeroing in on the oudated battles between old white men, too many reporters and pundits are missing one of the biggest political stories of the decade as it unfolds right in front of their faces. That is what white male privilege will do to you.” • Even in these days of gender fluidity, I’m surprised to learn that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Nina Turner are “old white men.” Perhaps the memo came when I was at brunch?

UPDATE “A Top Democrat Says Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Would Need To Wait Her Turn For Leadership” [Buzzfeed News]. “‘I would* ask her to remember how long I had to wait to get here,’ [#3 Democrat Jim] Clyburn said on BuzzFeed News’ AM to DM on Wednesday morning when asked if Ocasio-Cortez would have to wait for her turn at seniority. ‘Let’s not forget the history of all of this,’ said Clyburn. ‘And I think that all of the folks who have that mentality seem not to give much respect to those of us who sat in jails, as I did, so that they would have the kind of activities or the kinds of rights that they have today.'” NOTE * A fine example of the Beltway Subjunctive. • I would think that, very sadly, the transformation of the heroes of the Civil Rights of yore into the Black Misleadership class of today negates Clyburn’s point, as shown by Rep. John Lewis’ disgraceful performance in campaign 2016, not to mention Clyburn’s own role in maintaining the South Carolina firewall, but AOC can’t say that…

“So do I get any credit for being on the cutting edge of all of that? Or should the credit go to my children and grandchildren who are the beneficiaries of it? I think that we have to balance this out.”

UPDATE Then again:

See Down with Tyranny on Buffy Wicks: “New Anti-Berner Model Test In California’s 15th Assembly District Election.” Whoever got AOC to come to this fundraiser played her for a fool. I know AOC won’t have a chief of staff ’til November — crossed fingers — but this is really an own goal, and one easily avoided. I’ll say it again: She should stay grounded by continuing to knock doors in the district.


Remember that “Berniecrat” Hernandez got 24% against establishment darling Beto O’Rourke with almost no funding. So Hernandez is worth listening to, if not necessarily agreeing with. Politics ain’t beanbag….

“No. 2 Democrat Steny Hoyer Unveils Centrist Economic Pitch” [Wall Street Journal]. “In a speech Monday at a WeWork co-working facility, Mr. Hoyer said he sees education and skills training, entrepreneurship and infrastructure on the Democrats’ policy list if they retake control in the 2018 midterms. The speech followed a tour of nine states, where the Maryland Democrat hosted events with business owners, city officials and students.” • Attaboy.

UPDATE “There Is No Silent Centrist Majority [The New Republic]. “In fact, national polling suggests that there is public support for an institutional move to the left. Polls consistently show that two-thirds to three-quarters of Americans support raising taxes on the rich. Nearly half of Americans support a federal jobs guarantee, according to a Rasmussen poll in May. And a Kaiser Family Foundation poll in March found that 59 percent of Americans support Medicare for All; around 75 percent support the public option, which would have been part of the Affordable Care Act if it weren’t for moderates like then–Senator Joe Lieberman. Among Democrats specifically, support for these and other policies is even higher. For instance, while Himes believes abolishing ICE is “not a real political proposal,” 43 percent of Democrats say the government disagree, versus 34 percent who want to keep ICE.”

Liberal Democrat appeal to Republicans continues unabated:

“It’s time…” is so weak…

UPDATE Left appeal to Republicans continues:

MI Governor: “Abdul El-Sayed Is Running for Governor of Michigan on a Platform That Embraces the Future” [The Nation]. “El-Sayed proposes to create the nation’s first state-operated Internet-service provider with an eye toward expanding access in rural and urban communities across Michigan. The plan would close the state’s digital divide.” • More than this, of course. If liberal Democrats cared about the rural vote, they’d push this, so of course not.

DE Senate: “Carper Dominates in Fundraising due to Corporate and PAC donations” [Blue Delaware]. “Progressive challenger Kerri Evelyn Harris has raised a total of $52,306 this year, and $29,512 this past quarter. She has raised all but $519 from grassroots individual donations. She has $15,458 cash on hand as of June 30Three term Senator Tom Carper has raised $780,687 in individual donations since January, but has received $1,354,580 from corporations and PACs. Seriously, there are 35 pages of 20 PACs and corporations in Carper’s latest filing….. I have noticed that health insurance companies seem interested: Aflac PAC, Aetna, AES Corp., and TransAmerica. I wonder if these health insurance companies expect Tom Carper to the the Joe Lieberman of 2021. A moderate Senator in his final term that kills Medicare for All.” • Ka-ching…

New Cold War

“Leon Panetta: How To Save America From President Trump’s Foreign Policy Hell” [Newsweek]. • New headline: “Democrat Spy-Humper Tells All.”

“Henry Kissinger Pushed Trump to Work With Russia to Box In China” [Daily Beast]. • Hillary Clinton’s very good friend

UPDATE Tit-for-tat shouldn’t be that hard to understand. Thread:

Realignment and Legitimacy

“House Intel chair calls for ban on electronic voting systems” [The Hill]. “House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) called for a ban on electronic voting systems in an interview that aired Thursday on Hill.TV’s ‘Rising.’ ‘The one thing we’ve been warning about for many, many years on the Intelligence committee is about the electronic voting systems, Nunes told Hill.TV…. ‘Those are really dangerous in my opinion, and should not be used. In California — at least in the counties that I represent — they do not use an electronic system,’ he continued. ‘I think anybody that does that, and that’s communicating over the web, it’s going to be a challenge. So you have to make sure that you limit that as much as possible, and we need a paper trail so that you can go back in case you have to do a manual recount,’ he said.” • Yes but no. Hand-marked paper ballots, hand-counted in public means that the paper is the ballot (and not just a paper trail. It is, as it were, the transaction, and not a receipt for the transaction). Nevertheless, it’s interesting to see this come from the Republican side of the aisle. If Sanders joined him, and they introduced a bill together — they could start by cutting off all DHS funding for crapping around with electronic voting systems, which is an obviously Bad Idea — that would cause any number of heads to explode….

“Republicans and Democrats love luxury goods, but buy them for different reasons” [MarketWatch]. Interesting, particularly in light of the OzyFest just passed. “A study published earlier this year in the Journal of Consumer Research found that conservatives prefer products that broadcast to the world that they are better than other people, while liberals like products that [irony alert] signal their ‘uniqueness.'” • So the “snowflake” moniker has a grain of truth, according to science.

“As Tensions Rise in National Politics, Democratic Socialists Push Denver Chapter” [WestWord]. “The Denver chapter of Democratic Socialists of America started with three radical activists disappointed by the outcome of the 2016 election. Not quite two years later, 73 Denver residents packed into a church classroom on a hot Saturday afternoon to discuss socialist organizing tactics and political issues. With nearly 300 registered members, an endorsement of candidate Julie Gonzales that might have helped make her the Democratic nominee for a state Senate seat in District 34, and a hand in some of the most well-attended recent progressive rallies, Denver DSA is no longer on the fringe of local politics.”

UPDATE At some point, disorder in the front office is going to affect the players on the field. Thread:

True, it’s just a caucus, But I see little indicators like this thread constantly. Maybe it’s all part of the plan (“Let 100 flowers blossom”). Or perhaps there is no plan. “Growing pains” works until it doesn’t.

Stats Watch

Durable Goods Orders, June 2018: “[A]ircraft orders did in fact rise sharply in June but still not nearly as much as expected” [Econoday]. “Strength in the report is centered in core capital goods (nondefense ex-aircraft) where orders rose…. Though aircraft is soft, this is otherwise a very positive report showing solid strength for capital goods. Manufacturing remains one of this year’s top performing sectors.” And but: “Civilian aircraft and autos were the main drivers this month in the adjusted data. This series has wide swings monthly so our primary metric is the unadjusted three month rolling average which declined” [Econintersect].

Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Index, July 2018: “A little less acceleration in orders and production and even more stress in deliveries and prices” [Econoday]. “This sample, like other regional surveys, has more than enough business than it can handle. Manufacturing, as underscored by this morning’s durable goods report, is enjoying a very strong year.” And: “Kansas City Fed manufacturing has been one of the more stable districts and their index remains very strong. Note that the key internals remained in expansion” [Econintersect]. And: “All of the regional surveys for July have been solid so far” [Calculated Risk].

International Trade in Goods, June 2018: “The goods portion of June’s trade deficit is a bit deeper than expected” [Econoday]. “There was a very steep decline in exports of consumer goods in June… Capital goods exports, a key U.S. strength, also fell.”

Jobless Claims, week of July 21, 2016: “Jobless claims remain very low in confirmation that employers are holding onto their workforces” [Econoday]. But: “Jobless claims rise after hitting 48-year low” [MarketWatch]. “Claims often bounce up and down during the summer, but the broader picture is unchanged. Very few people are being laid off and companies are struggling to find skilled workers to fill a sea of open jobs. More people are leaving jobs but it’s voluntary and doesn’t show up in claims data.”

Retail Inventories, June 2018 (Advance): “unchanged in June” [Econoday].

Wholesale Inventories, June 2018 (Advance): “unchanged in June” [Econoday].

Coincident Indicators: “June 2018 Philly Fed Coincident Index Year-over-Year Rate of Growth Declined” [Econintersect]. “The reality is that most of the economic indicators have moderate to significant backward revision – and this month they are generally more positive.”

Finance: “Private investors are getting involved in the tug-of-war over cash in the supply chain. U.S. pension funds, private-equity firms and other investors are plowing capital into trade finance…, a business that was historically dominated by large banks” [Wall Street Journal]. “The new capital is helping to transform a $10 trillion market that greases the wheels of cross-border trade, as large companies have pushed the average number of payment days to 56.7, the highest level in the past decade. By selling their invoices to private financiers, small businesses that banks often view as riskier borrowers can get cash to keep operations running. Over the past decade stricter regulations world-wide have forced banks to set aside more capital against these types of loans, making them less lucrative, and institutional investors are increasingly stepping in to fill the void.” • Regulatory arbitrage once more…

Shipping: “The changing face of cargo theft: interview with Scott Cornell” [DC Velocity]. “According to security consultancy CargoNet, nationwide incidents of cargo theft last year declined 17 percent from 2016 levels. Yet there were still more than 700 reported incidents last year, involving $89 million of stolen goods. Many more incidents were believed to have gone unreported. The bulk of the thefts occurred over long holiday weekends when drivers take extended breaks and often leave their rigs and cargo unattended. Businesses are getting smarter, but so are thieves.” • $89 million doesn’t seem like very much.

Shipping: “Truckload driver wages must hit $75k annually to boost supply, executive says” [DC Velocity]. “Lana R. Batts [co-president of Tulsa-based Driver iQ] said in an e-mail that driver wages ‘certainly’ must hit the $75,000 threshold for seats to be filled and stay that way. Another possible metric, that of wages equaling 60 cents per mile or about $80,000 a year, is irrelevant because drivers aren’t getting the miles they need to make a solid living due to issues such as delays at shipping and receiving docks and a federal mandate requiring virtually all drivers use Electronic Logging Devices (ELD) to track compliance with hours-of-service requirements. Batts’ comments indicate that drivers must be assured of miles equating an annual wage of $75,000 or more for the truckload sector to compete with other industries for valuable labor.” • Carpe truckem

The Bezzle: “Facebook pays for all its mistakes at once, and it is a big bill” [MarketWatch]. “Many analysts were rather dumbstruck on the conference call, with some stammering a bit as they asked questions trying to get their heads around a decline in revenue-growth that had long been presaged but never actually arrived. Wehner warned exactly two years ago this month [“You knew damn well I was a snake before you took me in“] of a coming revenue slowdown, due to a slowing ad load, but it still had not happened…. Now, as investors mull Facebook’s surprising forecast for revenue growth to sharply decelerate in the second half of the year, some may be hoping that Wehner was just the boy crying wolf again. But based on all the controversies that have surrounded Facebook this year — especially its role in the Cambridge Analytica scandal, where data from 87 million user profiles was scraped and used for marketing purposes during the 2016 campaign — Facebook is finally paying for its sins.” • “All at once”? How do we know that? And when is the karmic hammer going to strike Google? Since it seems both companies belong in the same circle of Hell. (Circle VII, “Fraud,” I would think. All the bolge are relevant, but particularly 10, “Falsifiers.”)

The Bezzle: “Facebook’s Worst Day Ever Isn’t Over Yet” [Safe Haven]. “Techland is reeling as yet another FANG stock bites the dust—this time, it’s a major Facebook fall from grace. First, it was Netflix Inc., whose shares dropped nearly 10 percent about a week ago after the company failed to meet subscriber growth projections during Q2 earnings. And now, Facebook Inc. stock is on pace for its worst single-day stock drop in its six-year history as a public company…. FB stock managed to claw back lost ground after the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal earlier this year. But this next climb is going to be one very tough slog.”

The Bezzle: “Facebook, Under State Pressure, Will End Discriminatory Ad Targeting” [Governing]. “Facebook will be legally required to end its practice of allowing businesses to block certain groups like blacks, gays and immigrants from viewing ads under an agreement reached with the Washington State Attorney General’s Office. The Attorney General’s Office said Tuesday it had launched an investigation into the social-media giant and successfully bought 20 fake Facebook ads that excluded various ethnic minorities in late 2016. The ads, all approved by Facebook, were in some cases blatantly racist: One housing ad contained a headline specifically stating that people of certain ethnicities need not apply; another was looking for a white tenant.” • Less regulatory arbitrage, lower profits…

The Bezzle: “Safeguarding autonomous vehicles: The role of AI” [Automotive IQ]. “As this report states, “[S]ensing is easy; perception is difficult… The paper defines the components necessary to create this movement from sensing to perception… Manufacturers must cooperate in developing these components in the most interchangeable way possible. This goes against the autonomy of major auto suppliers in all tiers, just as other industries have proprietary systems and patents they hold most dear. However, this appears to be the only way for a fully functioning autonomous vehicle system to perform; any other system demands severe limitations on its size and scope.” • The same issue I raised yesterday re: robot car “Black Box” data; standardization is at once necessary and resisted by all manufacturers.

The Bezzle: “LifeLock Bug Exposed Millions of Customer Email Addresses” [Krebs on Security]. “[LifeLock — a company that’s built a name for itself based on the promise of helping consumers protect their identities online — may have actually exposed customers to additional attacks from ID thieves and phishers. The company just fixed a vulnerability on its site that allowed anyone with a Web browser to index email addresses associated with millions of customer accounts, or to unsubscribe users from all communications from the company. The upshot of this weakness is that cyber criminals could harvest the data and use it in targeted phishing campaigns that spoof LifeLock’s brand. Of course, phishers could spam the entire world looking for LifeLock customers without the aid of this flaw, but nevertheless the design of the company’s site suggests that whoever put it together lacked a basic understanding of Web site authentication and security.” • Ouch. “In late 2016, Symantec said it would buy Lifelock for $2.3 billion, and the deal was closed in February 2017.” • Imagine what the price would have been for a company with a technical staff that knew what it was doing.

Supply Chain: “Why Amazon’s supply chain ambitions should have logistics companies worried” [Freight Waves]. “Though the e-commerce industry has been quite successful in shielding the actual cost of logistics from the eyes of the consumer, increasing fuel costs are winding the screws so hard that even Amazon failed to bear the brunt. This was evident from the recent change in Prime membership plans, which would cost a bit more than usual going forward, as the annual price jumped to $119 from $99. Even with the rise in premium, Amazon would still be compensating heavily for the actual costs, as total logistics expenses stood at $46.9 billion in shipping and fulfillment last year – with membership premiums amounting to only a fraction of it. It is evident from the company’s financials that logistics expenses play a primary role in bringing its profits down. And Amazon’s attempt to reduce its overhead is leading it to take interest into how its supply chain is run. • Of course, Mr. Market doesn’t demand that Amazon make a profit. So there’s that.

Five Horsemen: “Shaking off the Facebook blues, Apple is the only rider at a new high at late morning after yesterday’s five-fecta” [Hat Tip, Jim Haygood].

Five Horsemen July 26 2018

NakedCap Mania-Panic Index: “Yesterday’s brisk rally lifted the mania-panic index to 67 (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 25 2018

Our Famously Free Press

“Beyond the Truth-O-Meter” [Columbia Journalism Review]. “Today, about 70 percent of the world’s 149 fact-checking organizations use rating systems like the Truth-O-Meter…. [W]e found that a large share of our audience fixated on the meter, no matter how thorough the article was. That was especially true when they disagreed with the rating. The meter was so effective that people used it to hate us…. One of the projects we’re funding is Truth Goggles, which will experiment with new ways to present corrective information…. To counter that, Schultz says Truth Goggles will be like customized lenses for each user. The [developer] is developing questions to calculate a user’s needs: What are their biases? What makes them upset? Where are their blind spots—the information they may be ignoring, consciously or subconsciously? The answers will provide clues about how to present fact-checks so users won’t feel attacked, dismissed, or that their values are being disrespected. The next step is to tailor the fact-check to the situation.” • Too bad we fired all the editors. They used to handle stuff like this. Dunno about goggles, though. Even as a metaphor, they suggest a They Live! scenario. In reverse.

“MSNBC has done 455 Stormy Daniels segments in the last year — but none on U.S. war in Yemen” [Salon]. “On July 2, a year had passed since the cable network’s last segment mentioning U.S. participation in the war on Yemen, which has killed in excess of 15,000 people and resulted in over a million cases of cholera. The U.S. is backing a Saudi-led bombing campaign with intelligence, refueling, political cover, military hardware and, as of March, ground troops. None of this matters at all to what Adweek calls ‘the network of the Resistance,’ which has since its last mention of the U.S. role in the destruction of Yemen found time to run over a dozen segments highlighting war crimes committed by the Syrian and Russian governments in Syria.”


“Mars at Opposition 2018: How to See It and What to Expect” [Space.com]. “Just after Mars reaches opposition with the sun July 27, 2018, observers on Earth will have their closest view of the planet since 2003….. Mars arrives at opposition on the same day as July’s full moon. For some lucky skywatchers, that means they also have the chance to see a total lunar eclipse.”

Health Care

UPDATE Who knew, Medicare for All polls well in the battleground states:

UPDATE “The Conservative Case for Universal Healthcare” [The American Conservative]. “The objections to socialized healthcare crumble upon impact with the reality. One beloved piece of folklore is that once people are given free healthcare they’ll abuse it by going on weird medical joyrides, just because they can, or simply let themselves go because they’ll have free doctor visits. I hate to ruin this gloating fantasy of lumpenproletariat irresponsibility, but people need take an honest look at the various health crises in the United States compared to other OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development) countries. If readily available healthcare turns people hedonistic yahoos, why does Germany have less lethal drug overdoses than the U.S. Why does Canada have less obesity and type II diabetes? Why does the Netherlands have less teen pregnancy and less HIV? The evidence is appallingly clear: Among first-world countries, the U.S. is a public health disaster zone. We have reached the point where the rationalist santería of economistic incentives in our healthcare policies have nothing to do with people as they actually are… Strange as it may seem to American Right, $600 EpiPens are not the sought-after goal of conservatives in other countries.” • At some point, The Next Trump, if they’re focused and disciplined, is going to totally own the libs by stealing this issue, and they’ll pass it, because Republicans like to get stuff done. Of course, they’ll only do it if they want to stay in power for the next generation or two….

“Black Mom Collapses, Ambulance Won’t Help Because She’s Uninsured. Now She’s Dead.” [GritPost]. “‘The EMS came, the whole conversation was that my daughter couldn’t afford an ambulance because she had just had a baby. Did I want to spend $600 just to take her three blocks,” [grandmother Nicole] Black told local media. ‘They didn’t do any vital signs, no blood pressure. No temperature, as my daughter was in her bed under the covers, screamed and begged for them to take her to the hospital.'” • America is already great.

Class Warfare

“Employees actually work harder if they think their boss gets a big fat paycheck” [MarketWatch] (NBER original). “New research suggests employees don’t work as hard if they think they earn less than their co-workers, yet they work even harder if they find out that their bosses get a big fat salary.” • I suppose one might label this “false consciousness.” But I think a behavioral economist would have a word to say about that, and rightly.

“The Role of Technology in Political Economy: Part 2” [Law and Political Economy]. “Yesterday I outlined the ways in which the dominant ‘skills-biased technical change’ and ‘winner-take-all economics; explanations of inequality share an idealized view of both markets and technology as natural and necessary…. The pro-labor economists’ story is that policy choices as diverse as minimum wage erosion (particularly for women), deregulation, monetary policy, trade, immigration, as well as legal and political attacks on unions and unionization combined to weaken labor’s negotiating power and enable managers and shareholders to extract an ever-growing share of productivity growth, leaving labor running as fast as it can just to stay in place, at best.”

Class warfare always has identity dimensions (however):

News of The Wired

“Attempting to modify e-coli with CRISPR in my bathroom” [Benjamin Computer]. • What could go wrong? I had to dig for this, but I remembered reading Greg Bear’s Blood Music in 1985, and so extrapolating every-so-slightly, this from protagonist Virgil’s Mom: “Snyone who’s ever sanitized a toilet or cleaned a diaper pail would cringe at the idea of germs that think.” Disruptive though they might be.

“The Shipping Forecast” [99% Invisible] (Includes the podcast, which is good.) “Four times every day, on radios all across the British Isles, a BBC announcer begins reading from a seemingly indecipherable script. “And now the Shipping Forecast issued by the Met Office on behalf of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency,” says the voice over the wire. “Viking, North Utsire; southwesterly five to seven; occasionally gale eight; rain or showers; moderate or good, occasionally poor.” Cryptic and mesmerizing, this is the UK’s nautical weather report.” • People use the shipping forecast to fall asleep, a perfectly honorable purpose.

* * *

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 (SG):

SG writes: “Shot of my night-blooming Epiphyllum oxypetalum, apropos the epiphylum featured on Jul 3rd: This plant blooms continuously through the late-summer/fall, and does so even when brought in for winter. Usually 2-3 blooms at a time, this past year we got nine blooms all at the same time. The backyard smelt heavenly, as if transported to a small equatorial island.”

I wonder if there are night-blooming perennials in Zone 5….

* * *

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 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. diptherio


    …Worker self-management in public services has been rare in the United States. But examples, both here and elsewhere, do exist. Most recently, the British government, as part of its “Big Society” agenda, has pursued the creation of employee-run public service “mutuals.” Critics within the labor movement
    and the left have regarded that initiative with suspicion, seeing it as an effort to continue a neo-liberal agenda under the guise of worker empowerment. Yet, the fact that a center-right British government has at least embraced the language of worker control in public services suggests that similar experimentation may be politically feasible in the United States as well…

    Includes some good history on the the “pendulum swing” between public and private ownership of public services.

    1. Bugs Bunny

      love the segue to “this is all about white privilege”

      Is There any Article in the New Yorker that doesn’t have an Identity Politics-Moderate Dem Slant to it?

  2. dcblogger

    Not quite two years later, 73 Denver residents packed into a church classroom on a hot Saturday afternoon to discuss socialist organizing tactics and political issues.
    like all activist organizations, they meet in a church. if churches go down, we are taking the activists left with us. so, even if you are not religious, consider patronizing your local church’s rummage sale.

        1. pretzelattack

          well we still have elks. they seem a fairly diverse group politically, from the limited sample i’ve seen.

  3. Gary

    “Employees actually work harder if they think their boss gets a big fat paycheck”
    Yeah but only in a guillotine factory…

    1. noonespecial

      I wonder what Alphabet’s contractors would say? Seems like some kids don’t get any ice cream at this party /s/.


      From the article:

      In Google’s home county of Santa Clara, a family of four with an income of as much as $94,450 a year is considered by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development to be “low income”; total annual compensation for a full-time Google janitor—including benefits as well as wages— is a bit over half that amount.

    2. ChrisPacific

      The headline (and study interpretation) are questionable. What they are actually claiming is that employees at organizations where their boss is paid more work longer hours, i.e., there is a correlation between the two.

      The use of ‘hours worked’ as a proxy for ‘working hard’ is questionable. I might, for example, interpret this as saying that organizations with relatively lower paid bosses were more desirable places to work, since your average hours worked would be slightly lower.

      Also, even if this is true, there are several possible explanations. ‘Employees are inspired to work longer hours due to knowing how much their boss is paid’ is one, but not the most probable one (in my opinion).

      1. Procopius

        Robert X. Cringeley, writing in 1992, observed in his book, Accidental Empires: How the Boys of Silicon Valley Make Their Millions, Battle Foreign Competition, and Still Can’t Get a Date, that the young programmers at Microsoft work very long hours, but most of those hours are really unproductive. Kind of like Japanese salarimen. They just stay at the office until after the boss goes home.

  4. UserFriendly

    “Why So Many Reporters Are Missing the Political Story of the Decade” [Nancy LeTourneau, Washington Monthly].

    If anyone missed it yesterday in links here is my response to her claim.

    Frankly, someone needs to tell this guy to sit down and shut up for a while. Reinforcing the notion that a party that was led by Barack Obama for eight years has merely been representing the one percent contributes to the divide and reinforces Republican lies.


    Sadly, I don’t think it has clicked for her.

    1. fresno dan

      July 26, 2018 at 2:30 pm

      If you didn’t see the below on the 24th, its new to new!
      Also, because as incredible as it seems to me, some people didn’t understand the sarc or as I prefer to call it, satire in the below posting – I would have thought the head of Kennedy, Elvis is alive, and that Hillary got more white women voters than Trump (see what I did there with Hillary as an example? Some dead ender dems cannot believe that Hillary got fewer white women voters than Trump, and EQUATE with Elvis being alive) would have let everyone know I was being satirical. I’ve add some italicized portion to hopefully make it clearer.

      fresno dan
      July 24, 2018 at 7:25 am
      Why So Many Reporters Are Missing the Political Story of the Decade Washington Monthly. Versailles 1788.

      Frankly, someone needs to tell this guy (i.e., Bernie Sanders) to sit down and shut up for a while. Reinforcing the notion that a party that was led by Barack Obama for eight years has merely been representing the one percent contributes to the divide and reinforces Republican lies. (the author assumes that saying Obama represents the 1% is a lie – I don’t)
      ….party that was led by Barack Obama for eight years has merely been representing the one percent….
      (the author of the article) BESIDES believing that Obama DIDN’T represent the 1%, I’m sure this reporter believes:
      1. The earth is flat
      2. Elvis is alive
      3. The living head of John F. Kennedy is kept at the CIA
      4. There are 2 Melania Trumps
      5. that Hillary got more white women voters than Trump….
      other examples are welcome

    2. fresno dan

      July 26, 2018 at 2:30 pm

      Oh, and of course I saw your twitter response to the author the other day. Its was marvelous. Of course, when your filleting someone alive intellectually, maybe the link below is incongruous with the substance and tone of your post, but I can’t think of anything that captures what a fantastic display of skewering talent you have

  5. Bill Smith

    “Attempting to modify e-coli with CRISPR in my bathroom”

    This can’t be good… If enough people try this one of them is going to end up with something really bad…

    1. John

      Blood Music by Greg Bear was a wonderful book!
      Leave work with a slight fever and end up dissolving down the shower drain. And that was just the beginning.
      Darwin’s Radio was another good one.

      1. Oregoncharles

        “The White Plague,” by, of course, Frank Herbert.

        Home genetic engineering for revenge – on the whole world.

    2. Andrew Watts

      I’ve always appreciated people who’ve risked it all for a Darwin award.

      It demonstrates true dedication as a mad scientist.

  6. Dave

    We’ll have to see where Facebook sits after a few days to determine whether the drop has stopped, but interestingly, of the Five Horsemen it and Apple appear closest to having a regular earnings-based stock valuation. Facebook’s P/E now sits at just under 30, and Apple at under 19 – compare, Google at 54, Microsoft at 74, and Amazon at 228 (and Netflix at 243).

    Obviously Facebook still isn’t paying dividends – it’s too busy pouring earnings into drone-delivered wifi and all sorts of other longshots – but still, those are *almost reasonable* numbers where they could ease off the need for growth if they saw fit and transition into a bluechip type of company. Amazon, meanwhile, needs to, what, increase profits 8-10x for its stock valuation to make any sort of sense? How much more room for growth is there in its business plan?

      1. Dave

        Oh, that’s probably the best possible scenario. And it’d probably even result in a lessening of the surveillance state, since there are numerous controls (some more hypothetical than others) on what a state-run company could do that don’t apply to a private business.

    1. Elizabeth Burton

      Their ad revenues are declining because their ads are a colossal ripoff. Instead of using those much-vaunted algorithms to actually target people who might have some interest in the item being advertised, they are still sending them to “response farms” to run up the numbers and justify the fee. The last ad I paid for got more than 1K responses on Instagram—in Brazil. For a novel in English.

      That’s more likely the reason behind their “we’re going to make your Newsfeed more personal” than any actual attempt to avoid “fake news.” More and more people caught on to the above, so they figured if they made it harder to get promotional posts spread around more people would give in and pay for ads.

  7. Carolinian

    Ted Rall on why Russiagate isn’t catching on. Boiling it down to two sentences.

    Trump doesn’t even read one-page memos. Yet we’re being asked to believe that he supervised a ridiculously complex Machiavellian conspiracy?

    Indeed. In his previous Counterpunch column Rall suggested Trump would be re-elected even if Sanders wound up running against him. Said Rall: Trump will have the advantages of incumbency–2016 was Sanders year. Debatable but it makes sense. Some of us believe the real panic among Dems is not the made up Spy v. Spy narrative but that Trump might somehow manage to become popular. These days hating him is all they’ve got.


    1. neo-realist

      Incumbency and a stable economy, without mass layoffs, e.g., 2008, would work in Trump’s favor against a Bernie Sanders in the general. A lot of voters unfortunately don’t think much about hard right judges and increasing privatization of public services as long as they’ve got a secure job.

    2. dcblogger

      Obviously Rall missed what happened in Virginia last year and what has happened in almost every special election, to say nothing of increases in registered Democrats.

    3. Kurt Sperry

      I don’t see how the numbers work for Trump vs. Sanders. Just look a the relative positive vs. negative polling data. Trump isn’t and never was popular, but he was about as popular as the unpopular Clinton was and played the electoral game smarter. Even right-wing Dems aren’t going to crossover to the Putin Stooge {familyblog}-grabber, and they will hold their noses and vote for the team just to get rid of Trump. As, or more, importantly, Sanders does significantly better among the already huge and growing group of independent voters. Sanders beats Trump easily, ~60-40%.

  8. UserFriendly

    Also, this didn’t make the news but, Bernie was in the very first Scene of Sasha Baron Cohen’s new show ‘Who is America’ that has been causing all the trouble with the GOP. The show attempts to go after everyone, left and right to demonstrate various absurdities other less notable skits are are with a family about gender roles (not funny, just awkward), a pretentious art gallery manager (disgusting but funny), and the GOP extreme gun nuts who want to arm children (Very funny). I suspect that SBC wanted to draw attention to how eminently reasonable single payer is compared to the other extreme stances.

      1. UserFriendly

        Yeah, I guess the promo led me to think it was going to be more a hatchet job on the GOP so I was totally surprised to see Bernie. I’m just hoping that the DC insiders and ultra dem partisens that go see it with that motive come away with the same thought.

  9. curlydan

    Wow, I’ve often told people that Dems and particularly Obama have a “half a loaf” negotiating strategy where instead of asking for a loaf of bread, they ask for one-half and end up with maybe an eighth of a loaf at best. “House Dems introduce bill to require two years of debt-free college across the US” demonstrates this strategy perfectly.

    They could start by doing the extremely logical 4-years of debt-free college, but nooooo…let’s just start with two years to be reasonable and maybe placate our Repub and Wall St friends, then we’ll negotiate from there.


    1. John k

      There’s no basis to think they want more than 1/8 loaf… or any loaf at all. Obama’s strategy was no mistake. In this case for profit colleges won’t like free competition. Always ask, what do the donors want? That will tell you what both parties want.
      Net neutrality is one of the few where there are big donors on both sides.
      Where are the donors that want to end wars, m4a, PO banking, break up monoploies, 15/hr, or anything else that benefits workers?

      1. Chris

        The dollar Dems really don’t care – they get personally delivered artisanal brioche. The loaf or 1/8 loaf isn’t for the elites, it’s just for the mopes. Appearance (performance) is all…

    2. Jeff W

      Think small.

      It’s not even a negotiating blunder so much as a complete failure of visionary leadership. What does it say about the commitment to higher education as a common good? What sort of voter is going to be inspired by the prospect of getting half of college tuition debt-free?

      That proposed bill actually highlights the powerlessness and defeatism of the Democrats or that “nothing’s free” syndrome lurking in US politics—no, no, you can’t get anything free at the point of service, you have to pay half the tuition, co-pays, service fees, something—or both. It would be laughable if it weren’t so incredibly pathetic.

    3. Mo's Bike Shop

      And Junior and Senior year double in price. It’s the systemic bleeding that is the problem.

      Couldn’t bear to read–I assume there’s a provision that penalizes anyone who then stops at an AA degree? Maybe triple damages?

    4. anon y'mouse

      if what they really asked for was 2 years of college debt-free, then they aren’t asking for anything that doesn’t already exist (at least for some).

      if you qualify for Pell grants, you can go to community college for your first two years and get out with an Associates debt-free. that’s what i did.

      i didn’t need loans until moving on to actual university. the public university tuition each quarter, without books or supplies or even a bus ticket, was under the level of my Pell grants.

      **disclaimer: this may or may not hold true right this minute in all places, or for all people.
      ***remember not to get caught doing anything illegal that might jeopardize your grant status! one marijuana bud found in your car bans you FOR LIFE. or at least, it did before all of this legalization went on. now?

      1. anon y'mouse

        just under = about $5 under. so, at university i would have gone without books, supplies or transport just on the grants alone.

        sorry about that lack of clarity!

  10. ChrisAtRU

    “Perhaps the memo came when I was at brunch?”

    Per the minds rent in twain by HRC’s election loss: “If Hillary were President we’d be at brunch right now”

    Maybe we can assume that brunch is cancelled for now, Lambert …

    1. ChrisAtRU


      Pavlina Tcherneva today, drawing sharp distinctions between job program endorsed by Rho Khanna and an actual #JG:

      Thread ⬇️I'd like to comment on Rep. @RoKhanna's "Job Opportunities for All" bill. First, I want to stress that he is one of the most important progressive voices in politics today. 1/n— Pavlina R Tcherneva (@ptcherneva) July 26, 2018

      1. Left in Wisconsin

        I’ve been thinking about the job guarantee and have concluded the the CCC, WPA, etc. is the wrong model. Or at least the wrong focus.

        The CCC did lots of great stuff and I’m all for allowing people who want to do that kind of outdoor work to do it. But I don’t see work camps as anything more than a small part of a modern job program. And I have complained before that the job guarantee foresees important caring work as a one temporary employment solution for the unemployed. This is simply wrong. The work is too important for it to be residual work.

        The model we should be looking to emulate is WW2. THAT was when everyone who wanted a job could get a job. And the work they were doing was (perceived as) critical to the survival of humanity. Isn’t that where we are now? Anyone with eyes can see that our private economy is not adequate, and will never be adequate, to addressing the challenge of climate change (prevention or remediation). Yet we continue to devote $1T/year to war/defense. The people still left in US auto manufacturing are making almost exclusively gas guzzlers. Fracking is a growth industry that provides good jobs. Etc.

        During WW2, it is estimated that the US govt paid for virtually all new manufacturing plant, most equipment, and at least 50% of all machine tooling. A similar commitment to addressing climate change would/could provide meaningful work for a lot of people, stimulate a new greener manufacturing sector, and to some degree address the biggest threat to our survival. But it would require subordinating the rest of the private economy to the needs of humanity. Still, as long as business could still make money (which they seemed to in WW2), it seems like it might be possible to bring them along.

        Not sure what the role of the tech titans would be, though.

        1. JBird

          Not sure what the role of the tech titans would be, though.

          That is why they would try to stop this. To them, if it is not being used to support their pet project along with their ego, it is something that should not exist.

          I could be wrong, but it does seem to me that too many of our economic and political elites are in the game, because they see it as a game of ego stroking, and not for solving, or even any real form of governing for the current deadly realities of life. War-gaming scores instead of true war’s causalities.

        2. ChrisAtRU

          Well … I wrote a really long response to you, But it seems like the site ated it


          But basically I agree, however, I worry less about the “what will people do” part because MMP36.


        3. foghorn longhorn

          “During WW2, it is estimated that the US govt paid for virtually all new manufacturing plant, most equipment, and at least 50% of all machine tooling.”

          And after NAFTA passed, they boxed it all up and sent it to Mexico, China, etc.
          We are not here by accident.

      2. ChrisAtRU


        One more for the commentariat!

        Please Let The Seas Take Us **


        “Even the panel on “The Future of the Conservative Movement Under Trump” with anti-tax goblin Grover Norquist and Appalachian Trail hiker and former South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, which did little to thrill the crowd of Nasty Women and Friends of the Pod, promoted self-improvement. Listening to these Republican sleazoids prattle about the coming debt bomb and the power of tax cuts might have put the attendees off their artisanal dumplings, but it also assured them that they’re open-minded, thoughtful people who are willing to listen to different points of view, unlike the MAGA maniacs and the strident leftist de-platformers. From Common’s plea for people to end mass incarceration through education and outreach — because “you have to listen in order to hear” — to Democratic National Committee chairman Tom Perez insisting in a plaintive wail that the Democratic Party is working hard to serve you, that he’s listening to the hopes of people all across the country, that your call is very important to him and to please stay on the line, the OZY Fest message that rung out the loudest was that the people who paid to be there are good people living in a good country that was only going to get better.”

        #AmericaIsAlreadyGreat #Natch

        ** I chose the link title based on the URL. Note the difference to the article title … ;-)

  11. curlydan

    Zuckerberg may want to read this…could be his future calling. Beware buying stock in a company where the founder controls the Board… “It’s a common structure, also embraced by tech companies including Google parent Alphabet Inc., Facebook Inc., and Snap Inc. in order to concentrate decision-making power in the hands of founders and early investors. In the case of Snap, public shareholders don’t have any voting rights at all.”


  12. Roger Smith

    Re: Clyburn

    If had a proper social system this fool would have been out on his (family blog) two decades ago. He doesn’t want to govern, he wants to bathe in the aimless bureaucracy. “Hey I was a weak coward who went through all the dumb red tape, so you have to as well!”

    1. Carolinian

      Of course from a black leadership standpoint Obama jumped to the head of the line while Jesse Jackson–a genuine Civil Rights figure–was considered a menace by the Dem poobahs in 1988. So perhaps it’s less a matter of paying your dues and more a matter of playing ball with the party’s big money power base.

  13. Pavel

    Back in the day, in London, I did indeed fall asleep to The Shipping Forecast… I suspect like most things Beeb it has been degraded by now but I’ll have to check out the podcast.

    There is a lovely Glanmore Sonnet by Seamus Heaney (No VII) referring to it:

    Dogger, Rockall, Malin, Irish Sea:
    Green, swift upsurges, North Atlantic flux
    Conjured by that strong gale-warning voice,
    Collapse into a sibilant penumbra.
    Midnight and closedown. Sirens of the tundra,
    Of eel-road, seal-road, keel-road, whale-road, raise
    Their wind-compounded keen behind the baize
    And drive the trawlers to the lee of Wicklow.
    L’Etoile, Le Guillemot, La Belle Hélène
    Nursed their bright names this morning in the bay
    That toiled like mortar. It was marvellous
    And actual, I said out loud, ‘A haven,’
    The word deepening, clearing, like the sky
    Elsewhere on Minches, Cromarty, The Faroes.

    Heaney grew up listening to “the wireless” and apparently loved the musicality of the forecasts.

    1. Carolinian

      Some of us Yanks used to fall asleep to the World Service on camping trips–Big Ben cozily tolling on the hour. Sadly the Beeb closed down it’s main North America shortwave transmitter and it’s now very hard to get here. The new jazzy BBC assumes first worlders can get radio programs on their I-phones. I believe they still broadcast to Africa, Central America.

      1. Grebo

        Central America and Caribbean coverage was curtailed more than ten years ago, sadly. You can get it online or on Sirius (the satellite radio thing, not the star), if you have the moolah for it.

      1. Pavel

        It is indeed. After his passing the BBC played a recording of him reciting this sonnet with a lovely cello accompaniment by his friend Neil Martin… alas no longer available on the BBC website it seems. :(

        Heaney grew up listening to the radio and repaid his debt many times by giving many interviews and recitals on that most magical of media.

        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          At the tender age of 17 I worked as a deck hand on a fishing trawler putting out of Plymouth, England.
          We and the other boat crews would gather in the local pub starting around 4 A.M. and listen to the Shipping Forecast to see if we would go out that day.

          Winds of Force 5 or below meant everybody went out. Force 6, everyone eyed each other to see who was going. Force 7 or higher meant nobody went out and instead started a day of hard drinking.

          I always feared Force 7 or higher because you didn’t just buy a round for yourself, you had to shout a round for everyone in the pub. So by 11 or so you’d be completely sh*tfaced, wandering back to the bunk on your boat. Being the Bay of Fundy, though, with tides of 5 metres+, that meant climbing down a string of wet tires on ropes just to get aboard. Great memories though of that crisp voice saying “Aberdeen, 6, Mevagissey 5…”

          1. foghorn longhorn

            Life is about what you experience and that sounds like a HELL of an experience.
            I envy you sir.

          2. AbateMagicThinking - but Not Money

            I worked as a ‘technician’ on surveys on the North Sea (among others). I was once hanging around on the bridge and was tasked with taking down the shipping forecast as it was broadcast. Result: abject shame-faced failure.

            Bad weather was fun (no work) – just wallowing with the swell if it wasn’t too nasty, or on the rollercoaster if the wind really started to blow.


          3. Pavel

            Dear HAL

            There have been lots of wonderful posts here on NC but this is one of my absolute favourites. Thank you for that delightful insider intelligence.

            Thanks also to Lambert for hosting the conversation(s).

    2. Annotherone

      Ah yes, I remember it well, the shipping forecast – magically soothing, kind of addictive it was!
      Mrs Bale (the housekeeper in “As Time Goes By”) was addicted to the shipping forecast too – remember her?

  14. Oregoncharles

    “(“The people who can destroy a thing, they control it.” –Frank Herbert.)”
    It’s actually a paraphrase of a SCOTUS decision, about the states taxing the Federal government – they aren’t allowed to.

  15. Summer

    Think Facebook is having a bad week? In about a year, Netflix is going to say, “Hold my beer…watch this tumble…”

    1. flora

      About Facebook’s bad week: There is for me a tiny bit of schadenfreude here. This fall from market grace has ocurred shortly after the fake AOC interview* went viral – thanks in large part to Facebook , who has been promising to up its act for some time. The stock price fall wasn’t directly or even primarily related to this event, the timeline correlation says nothing market-wise, but straw/camel etc., imo.

      * https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-intersect/wp/2018/07/24/after-a-fake-interview-of-alexandria-ocasio-cortez-went-viral-its-maker-said-it-was-satire/

  16. Oregoncharles

    ” Nice little party you have here. It would ba a shame if something happened to it. ”

    The percentage of people who consider themselves Democrats: about 30%.

    It already happened, after 2006.

    The Republicans are about the same – the numbers fluctuate.

    “Everybody else” are a solid plurality. That’s why the Independent Party is now legally a major party in Oregon. 3, not 2.

    1. Jeremy Grimm

      No — 2. The Republicans and the Democrats are two flavors of the same party — 1.

    1. fresno dan

      July 26, 2018 at 4:40 pm

      At first, I thought I really needed a laser pointer – what if a LION came in my house…IT COULD HAPPEN! All those smaller predatory cats seemed absolutely mesmerized by a laser pointer.
      But I got the distinct impression that the lions and tigers would be concentrating on eating me rather than looking at any laser dots….

    2. The Rev Kev

      Hey, that Oregon women could have used that with the cougar that she found in her living room per Links story.

  17. Richard

    Any ideas anyone on how I can contribute to Kaniela Ing without going through ActBlue?
    I’ll do it anyway, if I have to, but just wondering…

    1. Elizabeth Burton

      ActBlue provides their collection services at a low enough cost most progressives are going to use it for that reason alone. Which means other than mailing them a check, you’ll likely need to grit your teeth and use ActBlue. That said, if you think you’ll be making more than one donation, Howie Klein’s Blue America has a list that includes all the progressives he’s backing, which includes Ing. One stop instead of many.

      1. Richard

        Thanks! Sounds like teeth-gritting time.
        Man, I’ll tell ya though
        I’m not blue and I’ve never felt less blue in my life.
        I want a new color.

        1. Mo's Bike Shop

          White is obvious but probably can’t be used for the next few hundred years.

          Perhaps Whitey? As in, ‘Would you like what Whitey’s got? Then join Whitey!’

          1. Richard

            Yeah, I dunno…:^
            Well, let’s run through some of the candidates, shall we?
            Green – Taken. And not doing much with it, IMO.
            Black – Awesome idea, looks good on everyone, but anarchy already kinda grabbed it, so…
            Orange – My personal favorite, but some schlub is going to bring up Ulster unionists..
            Purple – Trump would have us executed for lese majeste, and it’s way too Gilded Age anyway
            Pink – Looks good on almost no one between 6 and 80.
            Yellow – Hmm. Yellow.
            Aqua – C’mon! (makes jerking off motion)
            Brown – Kind of a farmer’s party thing? Rich, loamy soil? Fertilizer? Work with me here…
            Well, I’m all outta colors. I vote brown, you guys. Yellow might work if we stayed real positive all the time. But brown is better.

      1. Richard

        Thanks, but it just leads right to ActBlue. I guess I just want to contribute to a dem without admitting to myself they’re a dem :^

  18. Elizabeth Burton

    “Hillary Clinton to appear on ‘Madam Secretary’”

    Since CBS is about the only commercial network channel I watch—and that via Access—I can say that by my observation they are the entertainment arm of the WaPo/CNN propaganda machine. Let us not forget it was Les Moonves who famously said Trump might be bad for the country but he was fantastic for CBS’s bottom line.

    I mentioned some months back they introduced a midseason quasi-SF thriller series the fourth episode of which was such a blatant anti-Russia, anti-Iran screed I stopped watching. Then they ended the season of Hawaii Five-O with an episode about Russian spies supported by a Russian submarine in the tranquil Hawaiian waters. Which I also refuse to watch.

    Their fall lineup includes reboots of Magnum P.I. and Murphy Brown and yet another paean to the FBI. I don’t even want to know what God Picked Me is about. They’ve already resurrected SWAT, where the team led by the black guy is full of enlightened heroes while the one led by the white guy is full of racist bullies. You know, the sort who keep shooting and killing people of color. So, you get the idea. Sort of a new version of black hats and white hats, I guess.

    1. flora

      It sounds like CBS is looking for a new – new in demographics, not in age – audience. It sounds like they’ve given up on convincing their old audience. Sounds almost like they know the old audience is no longer susceptible to CBS’s old shtick. And it probably isn’t. 20 years of watching one’s standard of living fall, one’s kids’ future shrink to ever bleaker prospects, and wars that never end, those things will make one question the official narrative, as they say.

      As far as Hillary appearing on Madam Secretary, why not. I’m sure she’s getting paid a fortune to appear. And if there’s one thing 20-somethings look to for guidance it’s 70-somethings…not… 20-somethings look to 70-somethings as interesting set pieces from another age.

      1. flora

        adding: I enjoyed the tv show The West Wing. However, when Martin Sheen, cast as pres Jed Bartlet, did a tv ad broadcast in Kansas in 2016-17 urging the state’s electoral college electors to violate their oath of office, I thought WTF. It won’t be Marin Sheen paying a huge fine or going to jail for others violating the oath of office. This tv actor thinks a tv role gives him credibility in the *real* world of politics? What an idiot.

        1. katiebird

          I missed somehow missed that! Wow. I wish I had seen it. I would have loved to rant about it.

        2. integer

          This tv actor thinks a tv role gives him credibility in the *real* world of politics? What an idiot.

          Speaking of idiots, remember Rob Reiner and Morgan Freeman’s “We Are At War With Russia” ad?

          Actor-director Rob Reiner and actor Morgan Freeman have teamed up with a sordid crowd of extreme right-wingers to push the McCarthyite anti-Russia campaign.

          Reiner, a longtime Democratic Party fundraiser and fervent Hillary Clinton supporter, is a member of the Advisory Board of a new organization, the “Committee to Investigate Russia,” which describes itself as a “non-partisan, non-profit” organization “helping Americans understand the gravity of Russia’s continuing attacks on democracy.”

          “Committee to Investigate Russia:” Rob Reiner and Morgan Freeman’s warmongering video WSWS

    2. polecat

      ‘Black is the new White’ evidently ..

      ….. with a smattering of “REDS!” here and there, if I get your drift ..

    3. The Rev Kev

      I’ve always thought of this program as a vehicle to help propel Hillary Clinton into the top job. Seeing all those neocons and actor neocon in that one image just underlines it for me. Want a prediction? If that program goes on a while longer, expect that character to be sent into the top job and the show become Madame President.

    4. Mo's Bike Shop

      Trump might be bad for the country but he was fantastic for CBS’s bottom line.

      When is Mueller going to look into all the free air time that cable news gave to Trump? I hear it was worth almost–dun, dun, duuun–one hundred thousand dollars!

      To be fair, the one mailer I got from the DNC was only about Trump as well. It did mention HC once by name, down in the “Paid for by the Campaign to Elect Hillary Clinton” thing. Not a policy to be found.

  19. Elizabeth Burton

    Remember that “Berniecrat” Hernandez got 24% against establishment darling Beto O’Rourke with almost no funding.

    I can’t say I’m gung-ho about Beto, but this is Texas. Sending an unknown, however progressive, against Ted Cruz and the Great Koch Machine would be a waste of time, effort, and money; the Democrats learned that the hard way when they ran Wendy Davis against Greg Abbott. If Ms. Hernandez chooses to run for office again, and I hope that she will, I will certainly support her.

    The fact is any candidate who wants to have a shot in Texas has to be able to flash at least some public-office credentials. At least, that was my take on the results of the primaries. The belief, deeply embedded in the US voters’ minds, that one needs to have some legislative experience and “know how things work” in DC to be even slightly effective is a big hurdle to overcome. They’re already using it against Ocasio-Cortez, as you’ve noted.

    And, bottom line, if a candidate runs as a progressive, it’s our job to make sure they make good on that. After all, we have Obama as an example of what happens if we just embrace the rhetoric then go back to business as usual. It’s that last part that’s going to be the hardest, because I see a whole lot of undereducated people—like the ones who think getting rid of Trump will make everything fine—who think the same will apply to Congress.

    1. foghorn longhorn

      As a long time resident of Texas, one thing people seem to forget is that Texas was governed by a democratic WOMAN way back in the late 80s.
      The clintoons got elected and within two years turned over a 40 year democratic run of congress and turned the south blood red.
      This in turn led to George, he was born with a silver boot in his mouth, Bush and here we are.

  20. Chris

    The comments in the American Conservative article on conservatives pushing for universal/single-payer health care are frightening. There’s an amazing amount of disinformation people take for gospel truths. I also think the author has the catalyst for the push on the conservative side incorrect.

    If I had to bet, it will be because of two things that conservatives/Republicans arguably pay more lip service to than the liberals/Democrats – jobs and nationalism. Nationalizing healthcare would help those long suffering job creators, pity the poor billionaires!, offer more jobs to the citizens.

    And with drug companies and medical manufacturers outsourcing so much of their production over seas, it will take just one big scandal like the vaccine issue China is having to make their voters clamor for single payer. Say, contaminated Tylenol that kills a bunch of people in the Midwest because the precursor to its production had incorrect ingredients in it when made in India. Then we’re off to the races with executives being asked to give congressional testimony and Republicans promising to do something.

    I think given those two events, donor pressure and a legitimate crisis with a nativist bent, we could see the Republicans come around quickly. Especially if it means that the Democrats would wither and die.

    1. JBird

      The Cult members posts (I’m not really be tongue and cheek here, sorry.) about the “Stalinist/Communist” and “jackbooted government” is enlightening. I can understand about disagreeing with the solutions to the crisis but to compare any form of universal healthcare to Stalinism and I guess the Gulag Archipelago is somewhat… hyperbolical.

      1. Chris

        It was the comments about socialized medicine not being biblical that really got me. Jesus is literally shown in the New Testament healing people for free, training others to do the same, and telling them to go through out the world and do likewise.

        I’m waiting to read Professor Hudson’s new book on ancient Middle Eastern economics and the roots of Christianity. I can’t wait to hear what new arguments people are going to have rebut when what historical evidence we do have fully discredits Republican Jesus.

        1. JBird

          This is the country that already has the Prosperity Gospel as a thing, which is not
          something I ever read in the New Testament. Did they forget to put that part in all the Bibles? Maybe I got one of the defective ones.


    2. Mo's Bike Shop

      What’s frightening? Republicans implementing Single Payer? Nixon went to China. I don’t care who reduces 200k surplus deaths. I could be a statistic one day.

      Frightening to me is listening to a big-L Liberal salivate over the behaviors they can legislate if we go to single payer.

      Why won’t the Bipartisan Sensible People notice that the health of our citizens is a national security issue?

      And that article was a whole new notch for me on “I don’t usually read the American Conservative”. I’ve bookmarked the author’s page. Seems as funny as PJ, I’ll see if he’s less of a prat.

      1. Chris

        Re: frightening… The comments below the article. Read them at your own risk. So many cliches and falsehoods. Scary responses.

  21. JBird

    The belief, deeply embedded in the US voters’ minds, that one needs to have some legislative experience and “know how things work” in DC to be even slightly effective is a big hurdle to overcome. They’re already using it against Ocasio-Cortez, as you’ve noted.

    I think one should have some experience in government before being sent to the big leagues, but if the alternative is more of the same, I would vote for the inexperienced one; look at who is the President right now as the voters did have a choice between Obama II or the Jester.

    1. Elizabeth Burton

      Oh, I agree. But the topic was, technically, Beto O’Rourke and who has even half a chance of beating Ted Cruz in Texas. The “Berniecrat”, despite her excellent showing in the primary, doesn’t have the chops to do that, IMO. Not here, not now. So, just as I will likely, with deep reservations, vote for Joseph Kopser for TX-21 because we have got to get rid of Lamar Smith, I’ll fill in the box next to Beto. And keep a very sharp eye on both of them.

  22. The Rev Kev

    Re Lambert’s comment that “It’s time…” is so weak…

    The last time I saw this being effective was back in 1972 when the Labour party, the Democrat’s counterparts in Australia, used this to sweep into power-


    But 1972 was a very long time ago.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Ha! A classic! Hey, when you think about how that party turned out, it would have been the same for a lot of our American cousins back in 2016. A bunch of professional friend’s gather for a party to celebrate a political party’s victory but as the evening wears on and it is obvious that it is going to end in a disaster in the election, so does the party and the lives of the people there.
        Movie at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bCkc-nKqUQw

  23. Jessica

    “The same issue I raised yesterday re: robot car “Black Box” data; standardization is at once necessary and resisted by all manufacturers.”
    This is another example of why the rules and power structure for an industrial economy can never build a real knowledge-driven economy.

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      Knowledge-driven economies have been working fine since some woman noticed that the seeds of the plant produce new plants.

      Stable economies without compound interest and other magical thinking have been a little more rare.

      I feel like I should just tag-line every post I make with “Thirty to one energy returns forever is not part of a valid plan.”

  24. Grant

    “In a speech Monday at a WeWork co-working facility, Mr. Hoyer said he sees education and skills training, entrepreneurship and infrastructure on the Democrats’ policy list if they retake control in the 2018 midterms. The speech followed a tour of nine states, where the Maryland Democrat hosted events with business owners, city officials and students.”

    Pathetic. Decades of stagnating wages for most going back decades, the costs of things from healthcare to housing and education far outpacing wage growth for decades, exploding private debt, massive inequality, crumbling infrastructure, an environmental crisis, and THIS is the “centrist” economic program? These people are completely worthless unless circumstances and social movements force them to put in place structural changes. Luckily for people like Hoyer, they exist in a system dominated by money and corruption. Horrible policies can stay afloat for so long with money behind a person in this system. Remember too Hoyer being taped tipping the scales in favor of another soulless and corrupt blank slate?

    1. Mo's Bike Shop


      Ugh. My Dad was an entrepreneur (b 1912), and blew off at least two businesses because he wasn’t happy with managing the successful enterprise. I have several relatives who were a little more hard-nosed.

      Entrepreneur today means securing the IP rights and keeping costs low until you can be bought out by something Big. Not even close.

  25. Summer

    “The liberal Democrats have the power to blame, but the left has the power to determine who wins and loses…”

    Refers in its on way back to the article on the study about “contrarians.”

    It is also worthy of a discussion about consensus (99% meme) vs power.

  26. Carla

    “UPDATE Who knew, Medicare for All polls well in the battleground states:”

    The tweet was about a survey of North East Ohioans — the bluest of blue voters surrounded by the sea of red that is the rest of Ohio and the “rust belt.”

  27. AbateMagicThinking - but Not Money


    Just peachy! I goint to send a link to mopes with relatives etc in Trumpington.


  28. So

    Re AOC fundraising in SF. The only event I found for SF is for Tues. sponsored by the SF Progressive Alliance. The tickets are $10, $27, and $50. Core members of the Progressive Alliance are San Francisco Berniecrats, Democratic Socialists of America SF – Electoral Committee, the Latino Democratic Club, and the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club.

  29. FreeMarketApologist

    Re the FB discriminatory ads: I notice that they say they’re claming to fix it nationwide, and not worldwide.

  30. Phillip Allen

    Regarding the NakedCap Mania-Panic Index. When most recently in the past would be an example of mania? I’m not savvy enough in the history of the components of the index to feel I can reliably guess.

Comments are closed.