2:00PM Water Cooler 7/30/2018

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“Will the U.S. and EU Revive the Damaging Pro-corporate, Anti-people TTIP Agenda?” [Eyes on Trade]. “Trump promised a new approach on trade policy that would fix past damage to working people. But what his administration and European Union officials said this week in their joint statement after European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker’s visit to the White House sure sounds like a revival of the status-quo, pro-corporate agenda that Trump railed against in his campaign…. The statement calls for “zero non-tariff barriers.” “Non-tariff barriers” is trade-speak for any domestic policy or regulation that can affect multinational corporations’ ability to move goods or services across borders. Many consumer, health, or environmental safeguards we rely on to protect people and the environment are considered “non-tariff barriers” by business interests. Given that, does inclusion of this clause mean that the goal of these negotiations will be zero domestic safeguards on either side of the Atlantic – such as European GMO standards or U.S. financial regulations post-crisis – that might inconvenience a multinational corporation? That would be an even more radical pro-corporate plan than what was tried (and failed) in the TTIP negotiations.” • Justifiably paranoid, i.e., with real enemies…

“U.S., MEXICO NEAR AN AUTOS DEAL IN NAFTA: The United States and Mexico are in the final stages of reaching a deal on the automotive rules of origin section of NAFTA, two sources close to the talks told Morning Trade. Agreement on auto rules, a policy area that has been among the most contentious issues being renegotiated under the pact, would move the two countries forward significantly in their quest to wrap up talks by the end of next month so that current Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto would be able to sign the new deal before he leaves office in December” [Politico].



“Eric Holder: ‘Yeah, I’m interested’ in White House bid” [The Hill]. • Maybe readers can help Holder out with some slogans. How about: “Eric Holder: America’s Second Bank President!” Too long for a bumper sticker?

“True Blue” (interview with Eric Holder, Columbia grad) [Columbia College Today]. “[HOLDER:] The thing that worries me most is that a lot of the norms that govern our society are being either challenged or discarded. I think our legal system is holding, and I think people will ultimately be held accountable for any crimes they may have committed.” • BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!!!!! Holder actually says this with a straight face. It’s GENIUS!

2016 Post Mortem

“The Democratic Party in Crisis” [Democratic Autopsy]. “In the wake of the November 2016 election, the Democratic National Committee chose not to do a public “autopsy.” Overall, the party’s national leadership has shown scant interest in addressing many of the key factors that led to electoral disaster. Instead, the main emphasis has been on matters that the Democratic Party and its presidential nominee had little or no control over — an approach that largely obscures the party’s role in its own defeat… The task force of political organizers and research analysts who conducted this Autopsy was coordinated by longtime Democratic activist Karen Bernal, who chairs one of the largest caucuses in the California Democratic Party, the Progressive Caucus, and by RootsAction.org co-founder Norman Solomon, a Democratic National Convention delegate in 2008 and 2016 who was the national coordinator of the independent Bernie Delegates Network.” • Churchill said: “History will be kind to me for I intend to write it.” Apparently, liberal Democrats refuse to learn that lesson, along with so many others. From the executive summary, which has plenty of linky goodness:

First, it’s important to debunk some facile media myths about Donald Trump and “the working class.” The bulk of Trump’s support is still from well-off whites who have always composed the core of the Republican Party funding and much of its voting base, and one should work hard to not feed into the easy media trope that Trump is overwhelmingly popular among “blue collar” or working-class voters. Nor should one fall into the trap (as some pundits have) of using “working class” and “white working class” interchangeably. Aside from erasing working people of color, this trap overlooks the fact that Hillary Clinton in fact won the working class across races, if one uses those making less than $50,000 a year as a proxy for the label.

What did happen — and what ought to deeply worry Democrats moving forward — is the massive swing of white working-class voters from Obama in 2012 to Trump in 2016 and the depressed turnout of black and Latino voters for Clinton relative to 2012 Obama. There was a 16-point swing across all races (though this is overwhelmingly due to whites) for those making less than $30,000 from the D to R column and a six-point swing for those making between $30,000 and $50,000. Turnout among African Americans and Latinos was also far lower than many expected, which represents an ominous trend for the party moving forward. To put it in marketing terms: the Democratic Party is failing, on a systemic level, to inspire, bring out, and get a sufficient majority of the votes of the working class.

The Democratic Party, as pollster Stanley Greenberg emphasizes, doesn’t have a “white working-class problem” — it has a working-class problem. “If there was one area where Democratic turnout was undeniably weaker in 2016 than 2012 it was among African Americans,” Patrick Ruffini wrote in FiveThirtyEight. Black turnout, especially in key swing states, was 14.1 percent less than election models predicted — far more than the 3.2 percent decline among whites. While it’s important to note the damaging effect of Republican Party attempts at minority voter suppression through gerrymandering and voter ID laws, the Democratic Party has failed to give many of those who can vote a reason to do so.

UPDATE At this point, let’s remember that “Failure to Learn” is one of Cohen and Gooch’s categories for “pathways to misfortune” in their book Military Misfortunes. I used their methodology to diagnose Democrat failure in 2016, and it looks like I’ll have to use it again.

The Liberal Democrats Have Lost Their Minds

Parody Is Not Dead (1):

(Keying off this story). Hooks: “If you hate brutalism now you’re a Trump supporter.”

UPDATE Parody Is Not Dead (2):

Historically ignorant and politically ineffective! It’s a dessert topping! It’s a floorwax!

UPDATE Parody Is Not Dead (3):

Worse than Paulson? Worse than Geithner? Heck, worse than Andrew Mellon? Really?

New Cold War

“Manafort trial to focus on lavish lifestyle, not collusion” [Associated Press]. “The trial of President Donald Trump’s onetime campaign chairman will open this week with tales of lavish spending, secret shell companies and millions of dollars of Ukrainian money flowing through offshore bank accounts and into the political consultant’s pocket. What’s likely to be missing: answers about whether the Trump campaign coordinated with the Kremlin during the 2016 presidential election, or really any mention of Russia at all.” • Wait, what?

Realignment and Legitimacy

“In a divided U.S., therapists treating anxiety are hearing the same name over and over: Donald Trump” [CBC]. “[P]olitically induced anxiety [Elizabeth] LaMotte is hearing about from her clients certainly is [in earnest], says the founder of the D.C. Counselling and Psychotherapy Center. She refers to it as a ‘collective anxiety’ among patients who feel on edge about how potentially dire the president’s decisions could be… In a 2017 essay for a book co-edited by psychiatrists from Harvard Medical School and the Yale School of Medicine [Ooooh! Lanyards!], clinical psychologist Jennifer Panning of Evanston, Ill., called the condition ‘Trump Anxiety Disorder,’ distinguishing it from a generalized anxiety disorder because ‘symptoms were specific to the election of Trump and the resultant unpredictable sociopolitical climate.'” • Let’s contextualize this a bit, shall we? Let’s start with the idea that one of the indicators of membership in the 9.9% professional classes is client (as opposed to wage) relations. A quick search of the “D.C. Counselling and Psychotherapy Center” reveals Elizabeth LaMotte’s hourly rate for clients: “Individual Therapy: Fees for 45 minute individual sessions: $185” (there is no mention of a “sliding scale” on the site). So a cynical person might infer from the CBC article that: (1) “Trump Anxiety Disorder” is prevalent in the Beltway, and (2) limited to the 9.9% on up, and that (3) gaslighting in the (9.9%) media creates a virtuous cycle for the (9.9%) therapists. Trump Anxiety Disorder is, then, a self-licking ice cream cone, or, to pick a more childish trope suitable for both LaMotte’s clients and LaMotte as a political analyst, a Woozle (see, e.g., A.A. Milne, Winnie the Pooh, Chapter Three):

Pooh and Piglet are, of course, following their own tracks round the tree in the snow, and becoming more and more anxious about what’s ahead of them. A less childish trope might be that after hubris comes nemesis, with the transition punctuated by anagnorisis, the tragic recognition, in this telling Trump’s election as a consequence of the last forty years of policy (e.g., deindustrialization) supported and implemented by the same 9.9% now prostrate on LaMotte’s couch. Speculating freely, LaMotte’s role as a therapist would then be to prevent anagnorisis, and hence catharis. (“Yes, the causes of your anxiety are all external to you. See, your fellow professionals have even given your disorder a name. Now you have a diagnosis, so there’s really nothing worry about.”) NOTE * The D.C. Counselling and Psychotherapy Center takes insurance, so those of her clients with excellent plans aren’t actually paying much out-of-pocket. That’s nice.

“139 House Democrats Join GOP to Approve $717 Billion in Military Spending” [Common Dreams]. • No anxiety there!

“Charles Koch Says He Could Work With Democrats if Ideals Align” [Slate]. • No anxiety there, either!

“Schumer plays long game, avoids hardball with centrist Democrats over Supreme Court pick” [WaPo]. • Or here!

No anxieties about the “intelligence community”!

Stats Watch

Pending Home Sales Index, June 2018: “After several months of flat to negative results, existing home sales finally look like they may be on the rise” [Econoday]. But: “The rolling averages remain in negative territory. The data is very noisy and must be averaged to make sense of the situation. There is no signs of a surge in home sales despite the headline growth, and the long term trends continue to be generally downward” [Econintersect].

Dallas Fed Manufacturing Survey, July 2018: “Energy prices are strong and the Dallas manufacturing sector shows it” [Econoday]. “Showing outright acceleration is the production index… And despite delivery snags being reported across the manufacturing sector, shipments also accelerated… Other readings include rising strength in employment and rising hours worked. Price and wage pressures remain highly elevated.” And: “This survey remains in positive territory with new orders improving and unfilled orders significantly improving – and both in positive territory. Even though this survey declined, our opinion is that this was a stronger report than last month” [Econintersect].

GDP: “So the savings rate puzzle, where consumption was exceeding income, has now been reconciled with large upward revisions in personal income. And looks like the credit expansion that supplied the income and drove the spending was from non-residents” (via “credit expansion for the rest of world”) [Mosler Economics]. Hmm.

Shipping:”Walmart stumbles with its ‘last mile’ package delivery plan” [Reuters]. “Walmart’s own store employees would bring online orders directly to shoppers’ homes after completing their usual shifts of up to nine hours on the sales floors. Aiming to lower the retailer’s shipping costs by tapping its massive workforce, the program was part of a multi-pronged strategy to boost its $11.5 billion U.S. ecommerce business and tackle one of the biggest challenges in retail: the so-called “last mile” of delivering goods to online customers…. But months later, Walmart quietly retreated from its original vision for the pilot program – launched in New Jersey and Arkansas – and ended it altogether in January, according to company documents obtained by Reuters and interviews with more than two dozen Walmart employees…. Here in New Jersey, Walmart started the program with the idea that store employees could courier all items that would fit in a car. But the initiative failed to gain traction with skeptical employees who had to use their time after work, according to sixteen workers who participated in the trial.” • I can’t imagine why Walmart employees would be skeptical, though perhaps they’ll be less skeptical when the economy collapses again.

Shipping: “Morningstar thinks Uber Freight has huge upside but questions remain” [Freight Waves]. “In sum, while freight brokerage in North America is a large and still quite fragmented business, we think that the weaknesses of Uber Freight’s technology, the significant network effects already exploited by the largest incumbents, and the as-yet extremely limited market penetration of digital apps all place strong barriers to what Uber Freight wants to achieve.”

The Bezzle: “How to Sign Away the Rights to Your DNA” [The Outline]. It wouldn’t be Silicon Valley without a Privacy Statement where you sign away privacy….

The Bezzle: “This co-op lets patients monetize their own health data” [Fast Company]. “Savvy [is] a platform to bridge the gap between patients and practitioners. The platform officially launched in the fall of 2017, and recently became a public benefit corporation…. Savvy also tackles another imbalance in the patient-practitioner relationship. Whenever a patient is seen by a doctor, or enters their information into a medical app or platform, they’re providing the health community an invaluable resource: their data. But they’re not getting compensated for it. To ensure that patients participating in Savvy get something in return, [founders] Horonjeff and Sharpe set their platform up as a cooperative, owned collectively by the patients that contribute to it. Any patient who wants to become a Savvy member pays a buy-in fee of $34, which establishes them as a member of the co-op (the fee is waived for patients who cannot afford it, and some other members give more than the base membership fee to subsidize others). ‘When people become members, they have a voice in what we do, and they also share in our profits,; Horonjeff says.”

The Bezzle: “Big Short’s Eisman Is Shorting Tesla for ‘Execution Problems'” [Bloomberg]. Execution problems, management turnover. (Interestingly, Eisman is also shorting Zillow: “Its decision to start flipping homes means it’s entering a ‘terrible business’ that’s cyclical in nature and generates low margins.” • Maybe I shouldn’t file this under “The Bezzle” if it’s a co-op. Readers?

Tranportation: “Munro & Associates finish Tesla Model 3 teardown, come away impressed” [CNET]. “The big shocker here is that Munro goes on record to say that the Model 3 is a profitable car. He estimates that Tesla has more than a 30 percent profit margin on it, while other EV’s are struggling to see anywhere near the 30 percent mark. Considering the widespread speculation over Tesla’s profitability, perhaps the Model 3, manufactured and sold in significant numbers, is a way out of the red and into profitability for the company.” • Beating down the workers would help with that, of course.

Transportation: “Tesla’s Model 3 Teardown Shows It Is Already Profitable – Really Profitable” [The Street]. “Tesla is achieving those margins through deep levels of systems integration. By relying on in-house technology to do more work, Tesla is able to keep the costs of its third-party components low. For example, Munro estimates the cost of Tesla’s rear-view mirror at $29.48. Meanwhile, his firm estimates that the rearview mirror from the Chevy Bolt costs $164.83. The difference comes from the fact that the Bolt puts electronics and a backup camera display in the mirror, while Tesla uses its custom-designed onboard computer and large central display to perform the same functions. There’s a similar story throughout the car.” • Tossing the automotive supply chain, and its markups, aside is interesting.

Rapture Index: Closes down 1 on earthquakes. “The lack of activity has downgraded this category” [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 180. Will 175 be the new floor?

Our Famously Free Press

“News Counts is a collaborative project to protect the 2020 Census (and help journalists get the best stories out of it)” [Nieman Labs]. “News Counts’ ambitious goal is to build a network of partnerships around the country, bringing together local news outlets, local computational or statistics groups, and social scientists and demographers to tell data-inspired stories around the census.”

“Why your city government should buy your local newspaper” [The Week]. “Journalism is not that expensive. Even small cities could easily muster up enough cash to get a municipal paper started…. Here’s how it could work: A municipality would set up a public journalism corporation operating on an independent, nonprofit basis, and seed it with some public revenue… For obvious reasons of journalistic independence, we wouldn’t want this under the direct management of the city government. Overall control could be in the hands of an independent board, perhaps half appointed by the government and half elected by the paper’s employees; or perhaps elected by the general citizenry, or some other method. The point is that the city would own the paper, but not control it directly, to avoid the appearance (or reality) of political influence. Funding would be locked in over a long period, and the city government would be legally forbidden from pulling funding over unfavorable coverage. Ideally, revenues from subscriptions and advertising would cover ongoing expenses. It might take a couple years of subsidies to reach that point, but it’s not impossible. Many local papers cored out by capitalists were funding themselves easily — the owners just preferred to take a quick one-time payout and destroy the business rather than collect 1 percent profits over time.”


“In Appalachia’s ‘Alcohol Alley,’ booze purveyors say a pipeline is threatening their industry” [Belt Magazine]. “Bold Rock is part of “Alcohol Alley,” a local nickname for the stretch of Route 151 that cuts through the northeastern edge of George Washington & Jefferson National Forest on or near which dozens of breweries, wineries, cideries, and distilleries have sprung up in recent years…. According to Nelson County’s office of economic development & tourism, the alcohol beverage industry employs 425 locals directly, and helped power almost $200 million in tourism expenditures in the county in 2016 (the most recent year for which data is available)…. [Dominion Energy, a Richmond-based power & utility company] is spearheading the Atlantic Coast Pipeline: a 42″-diameter, 600-mile-long, $6-billion natural gas conduit that it claims is needed to serve increasing natural gas demand throughout the region…. In the middle of the ACP’s proposed path from West Virginia shale to North Carolina power plants sits Alcohol Alley.” • Do everything right, and what happens…

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“Black Caucus members eject protesters from fund-raiser, call themselves ‘gangsters'” [Chicago Reader]. “‘They must not know we got gangsters in here,’ 20th Ward alderman Willie Cochran chimed in, egging on the crowd. Last year Cochran—a retired police officer who’s been indicted on fraud, bribery, and extortion charges—announced he wouldn’t be running for reelection. ‘If anybody else wanna protest you better take it outside,’ Austin said, laughing. ‘Cause I guarantee you ain’t seen no gangsters like this city’s aldermen.'” • I bet those protesters aren’t even Democrats.

Health Care

“States sue Trump administration over expansion of skimpy group insurance plans” [The Hill]. “Democrats strongly oppose the rule as allowing for ‘junk’ insurance that will not meet people’s needs and that will cause premiums to rise for those remaining in ObamaCare plans, once some healthier people are siphoned off into the new plans.” • Seven years after the Democrats took single payer off the table…

Guillotine Watch

“‘Lopping,’ ‘Tips’ and the ‘Z-List’: Bias Lawsuit Explores Harvard’s Admissions Secrets” [New York Times]. “Generations of high school students have applied to Harvard thinking that if they checked all the right boxes, they would be admitted.” • I’m sure someone, someday will give an account of how incentivizing generations of vulnerable young people to tick identical boxes engendered the herd-like behavior and hysterical tendencies of today’s 9.9%, but that’s not me, not today. However, Thomas Frank — I’m too lazy to find the link or podcast — has an interesting riff comparing decisionmakers in the Obama and the FDR administrations. Obama’s lanyard-wearing box-tickers were all from the Hahvahd/Yalie monoculture — as was George W. Bush, come to think about it. But FDR’s hires were from all over the place, including obscure state schools (like, say, the University of Missouri at Kansas City, or Fordham). Which system of personnel choices had better outcomes?

Class Warfare

“UPS Teamsters Take On Two-Tier” [Labor Notes]. “There are no flashy special effects in Tyler Binder’s 12-minute video, “Why the UPS 2018 contract sucks!” No stirring soundtrack, no animation, no laugh track. It’s just him and his whiteboard, explaining in plain language how the tentative agreement would affect every group of workers. But the video went viral. Just two weeks after he uploaded it, it had 90,000 views on Facebook and 50,000 on YouTube…. What’s so bad about this pact? For starters, it would undercut the full-time drivers who deliver packages by allowing UPS to create a second tier of drivers at a much lower wage. UPS is forecasting $6 billion in profit this year. Already a vast underclass of low-paid part-timers do much of the inside work—sorting, loading, and unloading parcels. But till now, package delivery jobs have been sacrosanct.” • This is awful; it’s the worse sort of “I’ve got mine, now let’s pull up the ladder” thinking. We should also abolish “two-tier” Social Security; I can’t imagine why this isn’t an issue. Of course, liberal Democrats are brain-dead, but even the left ignore this.

“Why Women Volunteer for Tasks That Don’t Lead to Promotions” [Harvard Business Review]. “Our studies demonstrate that although neither men nor women really want to volunteer for thankless tasks, women volunteer more, are asked to volunteer more, and accept requests to volunteer more than men. These differences do not appear to result from gender differences in preferences, but rather from a shared understanding that women will volunteer more than men.”

“Why Salt Was So Important Throughout History” [Bookworms Club]. “Mild shock: humans don’t like it when their governments try to restrict access to resources that they need to survive. Many famous rebellions and revolts were partly caused by citizens reacting against governments that were too stingy with the salt. Early American settlers had vast amounts of fish that they could potentially export, but not enough salt to preserve them with, because the British imposed salt quotas on them. In the century leading up to the French Revolution, the burden of salt taxes fell disproportionately on Parisians, who would later become the major drivers of the revolution. In 1680 the Paris region was one-third of the total population, used one-quarter of the total salt, yet paid two-thirds of total salt taxes.”

News of The Wired

“Closed Loophole Confirms the Unreality of the Quantum World” [Quanta]. • Unless we accept retro-causality. Which is absurd. Right?

“Veterans Speak Out Against The Militarization Of Sports” [WBUR]. • And high time.

“A HISTORY OF INDIVIDUALLY WRAPPED PROCESS CHEESE SLICES” (PDF) [Marshall Italian and Speciality Cheese Seminars] (from 1979, still germane). “Imagine, if you will, all present packers of individually wrapped slices (IWS) being ordered to cease and desist in the use of mold inhibitors, and then getting the news that K-film*, Mylar*, coated polypropylene, and all co-extruded films would have to undergo safeness tests that would not be completed for periods of 3 to 10 years. Now to really stretch your imagination. Assume no IWS machinery and no housewife who has even seen a slice of process cheese in its own wrapper. As far as process cheese products are concerned, we are now back to the conditions that prevailed in the U.S. and I daresay, the world, 30 years ago.” • So you’re saying The Jackpot has a bright side?

* * *

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

TH writes: “This is our ‘Breath of Heaven’ accessorized by a skipper butterfly. I read somewhere that back when ladies wore long flowing dresses, this plant was often placed near the entrance of the home so that the sweeping skirts brought in the scent, which, at least to my senses, is a cross between wild mustard and juniper.” • I recall one reader who was looking for lawn substitutes. Some say breath of heaven would work for that. Sadly, it seems not to be invasive…

* * *

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Massinissa

    Man, it was almost like Holder was throwing shade *at himself*. I didn’t know that was a thing!

    1. dcblogger

      I hope that Holder runs. I hope that Biden runs. I hope all these horrible people run. They will find a very cold January in Iowa.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          ” Place Holder in the White House” is short enough to fit on a bumper sticker and fun to read.

          Maybe something else too, like . . . ” If you loved Obama, you’ll like Holder”.
          or. . . ” Holder: Obama’s Third Term”

          something that says what a President Holder would mean.

      1. JohnnyGL

        Agreed. Let the donors shower them with cash and let the consultants vacuum it all up and blow it on useless media ad buys.

        I want to see Bernie 2020 run through them all like a buzz saw.

        I want to watch Sanders demolish the field while party hacks try to figure out what to do just like they did with Trump in 2016 on the Repub side. I want to watch Repubs and Fox News triumphantly declare that SOCIALISM CANNOT WIN in America.

        I want to watch MSNBC anchors cry in agony….but they won’t. They’ll just pivot and act like they supported Sanders the whole time.

    2. Balakirev

      I don’t think Holder’s running for president; he’s not stupid enough to think he could carry that off. But he could be letting people know he’s available as a VP choice. What’s not to like? The overlord class will love him. The liberals will swoon at yet another black edging towards the White House. Imagine a teaming of St. Hills and Holder: identity politics at its finest. Sheer genius!

      1. tegnost

        I think they’re throwing out some completely ridiculous names so that when they say biden harris everyone {who is a brain dead neoliberal democrat) will be relieved

      2. Odysseus

        The liberals will swoon at yet another black edging towards the White House.

        Dude was AG for how long and marijuana is still illegal?

        Not just no but hell no.

  2. flora

    Thank you for the Woozle reference.

    Pooh and Piglet are, of course, following their own tracks round the tree in the snow, and becoming more and more anxious about what’s ahead of them.

    Nicely sums up the state of MSM and the beltway.

    1. ChiGal in Carolina

      Any day I am treated to an Ernest Shepard drawing is a good one. So much wisdom contained in Milne’s stories and especially the poems! Some of them express an outlook, rather like Calvin & Hobbes, of respect for and meaning found in the natural world. And there’s a streak of oppositional defiance (as the DSM would have it) that I find quite congenial.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        I’m not sure if its nostalgia for both and I’m simply reacting, but the characters are simply different but I love this comparison.

        1. ChiGal in Carolina

          If I Were King
          By A. A. Milne

          I often wish I were a King,
          And then I could do anything.

          If only I were King of Spain,
          I’d take my hat off in the rain.

          If only I were King of France,
          I wouldn’t brush my hair for aunts.

          I think, if I were King of Greece,
          I’d push things off the mantelpiece.

          If I were King of Norroway,
          I’d ask an elephant to stay.

          If I were King of Babylon,
          I’d leave my button gloves undone.

          If I were King of Timbuctoo,
          I’d think of lovely things to do.

          If I were King of anything,
          I’d tell the soldiers, “I’m the King!”

          Spring Morning
          By A. A. Milne

          Where am I going? I don’t quite know. 
          Down to the stream where the king-cups grow- 
          Up on the hill where the pine-trees blow- 
          Anywhere, anywhere. I don’t know. 

          Where am I going? The clouds sail by, 
          Little ones, baby ones, over the sky. 
          Where am I going? The shadows pass, 
          Little ones, baby ones, over the grass. 

          If you were a cloud, and sailed up there, 
          You’d sail on water as blue as air, 
          And you’d see me here in the fields and say: 
          ‘Doesn’t the sky look green today?’ 

          Where am I going? The high rooks call: 
          ‘It’s awful fun to be born at all.’ 
          Where am I going? The ring-doves coo: 
          ‘We do have beautiful things to do.’ 

          If you were a bird, and lived on high, 
          You’d lean on the wind when the wind came by, 
          You’d say to the wind when it took you away: 
          ‘That’s where I wanted to go today!’

          Where am I going? I don’t quite know.
          What does it matter where people go?
          Down to the wood where the blue-bells grow-
          Anywhere, anywhere. I don’t know.

          there’s treasure everywhere ;-)

    2. Espresso Joe

      According to Wikipedia, Milne served in both world wars. During the first, “he was recruited into Military Intelligence to write propaganda articles for MI7 (b) between 1916 and 1918”. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to find that woozle was a term describing a techique.

    3. ObjectiveFunction

      Please oh please oh please! carve our the TAD item and your suitable-for-framing Woozle commentary into a separate post I can link to, to the ephemeral confoundment of my many soapboxing Trump-deranged FBFs. Salamatpo!

  3. Massinissa

    Also, who is Chris Hooks, and is he being serious about the Brutalism thing?

    Someone remind me of when it became necessary to like Brutalist architecture to be a Democrat. If this is the case, I’m going to blame the Clintons.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      “Parody is not dead.”

      I thought the funeral was over a decade ago, but Hooks delivered.

      1. JBird

        As an aside, might I say that Brutalism is about the rancid architectural cowflop that the world has ever seen?

  4. dcblogger

    Why do you imagine that Trump anxiety is limited to people who can afford treatment? Do you suppose that back pain is limited to those who can afford treatment?

    And why the need to put down people (mostly women) who feel anxious because their president is an unpredictable rage machine?

    This is a man who bragged about assaulting women, and 63 million of our fellow Americans could think no better than to vote for him. Do you not see how that is upsetting from a female point of view?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      I wrote:

      So a cynical person might infer from the CBC article that: (1) “Trump Anxiety Disorder” is prevalent in the Beltway, and (2) limited to the 9.9% on up, and that (3) gaslighting in the (9.9%) media creates a virtuous cycle for the (9.9%) therapists.

      You take issue with point #2. I’d need to see evidence that the symptoms of the “Disorder” are being diagnosed in any other population than the population that can afford $185 to get the diagnosis. I’d also want to be sure that the same self-licking ice cream cone isn’t working its way through the broader population, who have more important things to worry about (although I’d bet it only works in a bubble). That’s distinct from generalized feelings of angst, for which the sociopathic tendencies of our elites generally provide a sufficient account. Please don’t conflate the two.

      You also write:

      This is a man who bragged about assaulting women, and 63 million of our fellow Americans could think no better than to vote for him. Do you not see how that is upsetting from a female point of view?

      Not when a workplace abuser and rapist is to this day an honored baron of the Democrat party, and his enabling wife ran for President, no. There must be some other factor involved, surely? The trope that liberal Democrats speak for women as a whole is getting quite tiresome, frankly. Neither party establishment does.

      1. ChiGal in Carolina

        As far as that goes, the difference would be Trump’s crassness, his utter lack of charisma, which Clinton has in spades.

        Not in re his interactions with the ladies but rather his pathetic interest in being President, I foresee this will be a problem for Eric Holder as well: he has absolutely no charisma to offset his horrible track record.

        1. foghorn longhorn

          Just 6 and a half more years of TAD
          If the dems think just carping about trump is going to usher in a blue wave they are going to be disappointed
          M4A would be a good start tho

          1. ambrit

            You wouldn’t be thinking of the M4A1 would you?
            That would change the dynamics of partisan politics quite a bit.

        2. Oregoncharles

          I think Trump’s crassness is precisely the source of his charisma; remember, he was a TV star and is presently President. “Charisma” is the ability to rivet attention; it is not the same as, say, pleasantness. Trump has it in spades. His opponents can’t take their eyes away, either.

          That said, he’s a terrible president, not because he’s crass and offensive but because he’s destructive and cruel. Unfortunately, that seems ot be part of his appeal.

          1. ChiGal in Carolina

            Charisma – Wikipedia
            The term charisma (/ k ə ˈ r ɪ z m ə /; pl. charismata, adj. charismatic) has two senses: compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others; a divinely conferred power or talent.

            DT is about as charming as a car accident that you can’t look away from.

            I despise BC and the way he exploited Monica Lewinsky as well as the damage he did with his New Dem bs. Yet if I think of DT, it’s like there is a negative force field around him, he is repellent; and if I think of BC, he still retains a magnetic appeal that is entirely irrational.

            Go figure.

          2. dcblogger

            That said, he’s a terrible president, not because he’s crass and offensive but because he’s destructive and cruel. Unfortunately, that seems ot be part of his appeal.

            I fear you have it exactly.

            1. JTMcPhee

              And his opponent was such a model of charity and decency and probity and honesty. Which characteristics, it appears, along with X chromosomes, constituted her appeal…

            2. Mike Mc

              ^ This x1000. Liberals (I’m a Berniecrat and a lefty thankyouverymuch) seem unable to grasp this. My wife, a pastor who’s intimately familiar with the glass ceiling having smacked into it repeatedly, was like most of her professional women friends and colleagues absolutely gobsmacked by Trump’s victory. However, they are all beginning to understand the depth and intensity of The He-Man Woman’s Haters Club (and their female auxilaries) active at all levels of American society, including the church – any church. Hoping Bernie does indeed cut through the posers and place Holders in campaign 2020 – the Democratic field seems only slightly more competent than the GOP clown car of 2016.

          3. Odysseus

            His opponents can’t take their eyes away, either.

            I’d love to hear actual news about good things being done in the world. Precisely nobody is willing to sell that product to me.

            My life would be better if I never agin heard the word “Trump”. I don’t need my face shoved in bad ideas to know they are bad ideas.

      2. Amfortas the Hippie

        I like the Hubris/Nemesis exegesis better.
        and thanks for including “anagnorisis”!
        In certain circles(or bubbles, perhaps) that revelatory experience is to be avoided at all costs, and seems to be near to the root of a great many of our dysfunctions.
        To mangle Scrooge, “Have they no Mirrors?”

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          There is also Freud:

      3. dcblogger

        Many people, myself included, do not believe the rape allegations. Certainly Clinton exploited his fame, but that is different from rape.

        Trump is on tape bragging about assault, so yeah, that is upsetting. I can’t show you statistical evidence, but I know plenty of women who cried themselves to sleep election night. Then they got up and started to fight back, which powered the blue wave of 2017 and will power an even bigger one this year. No amount of stupidity by the DNC/DSCC/DCCC axis of cluelessness will be able to stop it.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          As long as they aren’t Daughters of the Confederacy or war criminals, I’m fine with that.* (For information on what liberal Democrats are desperately trying to prevent with this Blue Wave formulation, see under “2016 Post Mortem,” today, especially the quote.)

          I guess my priorities and sympathies are with women who have already cried themselves to sleep because they can’t get health care, or lost their homes to foreclosure, or who have shitty jobs at Walmart with abusive supervisors, or who lost family members or friends to deaths of despair, or who see the lives they had envisaged for themselves and their children vanishing.

          Your mileage may vary, and apparently does.

          NOTE Although, with some other liberals, I believe Juanita Broaddrick. Since we’ve conceded that Clinton is a workplace abuser, perhaps we can go forward on that basis, and agree that it’s past time Democrats tossed the Big Dog into the Harvey Weinstein/Al Franken bucket? No crying to sleep there, I note. Selective?

        2. cm

          Many people, myself included, do not believe the rape allegations.

          Wow. How about Weinstein? Polanski?

          Remember Hillary’s Pretty in Pink presser?

          I’m surprised anyone would admit on this blog that they believe Clinton!

          1. dcblogger

            I can’t remember now, but I did look into it at the time and concluded that she was lying. There was enormous pressure to get Clinton on something, anything.

            Weinstein is different, clearly repeated cases of assualt, not exploiting his fame but assault. As for Polanski, he confessed in exchange for what he thought was a plea. In a just world Polanski would have gone to jail. I know I am in a minority on this blog, but I see the cases as different.

            1. Richard

              Well, I’ll refresh you on some of the pertainent details:
              1) She told several friends of the assault, the same story she is telling now, right after the incident. All the details check out, down to the nursing home across the street from the hotel where the assault occured, and the prison (IIRC?) BC said he was planning to build on the site later.
              2) She had bite marks on her lip where she said Clinton bit her. Everyone saw them.
              3) She did not try to profit in any way by her disclosure (something that had been known for years among her friends, BTW) and has done her best to maintain anonymity, speaking to her credibility. I say this for those who see motives behind her speech, beyond personal catharsis and public service, not because I believe such probity is or should be required of sex assault victims.
              If we take just the first 2 points, an unshakeable story and physical evidence, it’s hard for me to believe that wouldn’t convict almost anyone except Bill Clinton.

            2. JTMcPhee

              Maybe a look at even the Wiki entry on Broderick would be worth your time. Of course there’s a flood of FUD that has been generated to cloud any possible honest accounting.

              And maybe it is a tell of a sort, that sentence about “getting Clinton on something, anything,” when at least in retrospect there was PLENTY to “get on him,” although the efforts to lay out the facts both thoroughly obfuscated by Team C, and were self-impeached by the over-the-top-ists in the Red Party. But that is how hardball politics is played in the Big Time, no? And why it is so easy to divide and conquer, and pull the wool over, and why we mopes will not only never have nice things, but be denied even a genteel sufficiency…

        3. Carey

          The DNC/DSCC/DCCC are not clueless; they know *very well* what they’re doing. Keeping their donor class happy, and preventing policy that benefits
          the many is their Job 1. Jane and Joe Sixpack are onto them now, though.

        4. Yves Smith

          So then you don’t believe in the testimony of rape victims. Juanita Brodderick had contemporaneous witnesses. Short of a rape kit producing a DNA match, that’s about as good as it gets in terms of evidence, and way better than what many of Harvey Weinstein’s individual accusers had.

      4. KB

        Thank you Lambert!….I am a woman BTW, and I heard no help for me when Obama was in office and we were almost foreclosed on for missing half a property tax while waiting for our W/C settlement for my husband…State shut down that half a year and they wouldn’t wait for 6 months till trial even though judges said we had 5 years to pay,and never ever missed a mortgage payment…Nada, from anyone in this so called Blue State helped. Ultimately, we won and now own our house scott-free…However, we will never forget who didn’t care while Obama was in office and my state was run by Democrats.
        I voted for Trump….am a woman, and still feel good about it.

      5. J Bookly

        “The trope that liberal Democrats speak for women as a whole is getting quite tiresome, frankly.”

        Yes! I am sooooo tired of being told by “liberals” and “feminists” that I am supposed to look at everything through the lens of gender. I got freed from that 40 years ago and I’m not going back. I’m also tired of being told my vote for a third party candidate was wasted, when both major candidates stank.

        Years ago I saw “Mr Smith Goes to Washington,” and for a long time afterward I thought there were people in D.C. who had my back on important public issues. In 2008 I thought one of them looked like Barack Obama instead of Jimmy Stewart. But when Mr. Obama saved the bad guys from the pitchforks instead of fixing the systemic messes they caused, I lost hope. Is there a shrink specializing in treating lost hope??

        Thanks, Lambert. Please continue speaking truth to power.

    2. ambrit

      Not to quibble but, being Devil’s Advocate, you are assuming “woke” women predominate. That might well not be the case. Patriarchialism is widespread, and has a large female component.
      Plus, to vote for the Dem candidate would require that one hold one’s nose and look past the woman’s abysmal track record. In this case, the equally abysmal Republican candidate talked a better game, and ran a better ground game. As Ronald Reagan used to quip: “You got to dance with the one that brung ya.”

    3. Shane Mage

      and all the “deplorable” ladies who voted against the Clinton? Their points of view aren’t female?

      1. ambrit

        I get the feeling that there are “females” and there are “Credentialed Females!”

          1. JTMcPhee

            White females come in many political colors, now don’t they? Whatever their “credentialed” status. Betsy DeVos and AOC and HRC and FeinsteinPelosi and so forth. As is the case with all the other skin tones.

            By the way, I’m qualified as “white,” but when I look, the skin is yellowish-tannish with hints of peach and cream. Outside the age spots, that is. And “blacks” are all kinds of shades, just ask any cosmetician — not too many of them are uniformly dark enough to be called “black.”

            So what’s in a name?

            Not that such liberality of thought will in any way keep us from being manipulated, or killing one another…

            1. Richard

              I think that’s exactly the sort of liberalism that will help keep us from being manipulated and killing each other, and the only kind worth endorsing. The kind that encourages us to consider that our labels may be arbitrary bs.
              Don’t sell it short IMHO.

              1. JTMcPhee

                My points exactly. Overlaid with the problems that all us romantics have, getting embittered and hopeless with repeated disappointments…

                “A cynic is a disappointed romantic.”

      2. dcblogger

        of course the women who voted for Trump are female and have a female point of view. I just don’t understand lambert’s delight on pouring scorn on people who are in pain.

        somehow it is dreadful that HRC called Trump supporters deplorable, but it OK for this community to heap scorn on Hillary supporters, who, I might add, are the majority of the voters in 2016. I say this as someone who campaigned for Bernie and wound up voting for Stein. But I guess since my family and friends are Hillary supporters I see this differently.

        Yeah, there is a difference between a presidential candidate calling people deplorable and an obscure blogger heaping scorn on people who are in serious pain, but still, I do not understand it.

        The Hillary supporters were pushed off this blog back in 2016, and even people who are neutral about her have left. But that does not alter there is a very large group of people who admire her, and many of them are ready to fight for single payer (Briann Wu for example). I just don’t understand all the hostility. The 2016 election is over.

        1. JTMcPhee

          Not over according to many, dare I say most, Hillary supporters. And I doubt “many” of them are “ready to fight for” (that trademarked liberal phrase) single payer…

          Good thing there are other blogs and web spaces for people feeling the pain of being “pushed off this blog.” Good that the world as it is allows people who “support Hillary” and hope to persuade others to join in can drop in and post here.

          And is there a category of “relative serious pain,” balancing the angst of people who lined up with Her against the people who suffered (“we came, we saw…” and stuff like that) actual significant physical pain and loss due to the policies and behaviors of their totem?

        2. Lambert Strether Post author

          > The 2016 election is over.

          Really? See under “2016 Post Mortem” today. I mean, I can understand why not learning the lessons of 2016 would be important to some, but I don’t especially feel like enabling it.

          As for pain, I’m playing the world’s smallest violin for anybody who can fork over $185 to a therapist to have their “Trump Anxiety Syndrome” diagnosed. I’m playing a somewhat larger violin for tens of thousands of deaths of despair in deindustrialized America. We all have our different talents and priorities, I suppose.

          1. dcblogger

            What, you think Walmart workers did not vote for Hillary? Homeless people? Dishwashers? Janitors? because yes, at least here in DC they did. All sorts of people voted for Hillary, not just the Ozyfest crowd.

            1. Isotope_C14

              Homeless people don’t vote, they require an address.

              Interstate cross-check? How come the Dollar Dems don’t oppose this and get it ruled unconstitutional? Oh, they need it to purge “Bernie” voters.

              The whole “good cop/bad cop” routine only works if the good cop is a talented enough actor who can pull it off.

              Hillary was not that, she was calling universal health care pie-in-the-sky ponies. That was some mis-triangulation.

              Lets keep moving right Dems, so we can have honest fascists:


        3. ChiGal in Carolina

          Have to agree we lost some people whose comments I particularly appreciated, Anne was one I believe.

        4. Richard

          By “over”, I’m supposing you to mean that the events of the 2016 election should no longer loom so large in our discussions. All with you there. I’d love to move on to what’s literally burning up our planet, as we speak. Here’s what would need to happen first:
          1) Hillary supporters that are pushing russiarussiarussia 24/7 need to stop. Because 2016 is over, right?
          2) Hillary and dem leadership need to take their own responsibility for electing Donald Trump. They created something less democratically attractive than Donald Trump. Take a minute and let that sentence sink in. They did it purposefully too. Every effort was made to position the party as far to the right as possible while still bringing in enough of the base to win. Well, being as charitable as I can, they misjudged and they f%$#ing lost. Until the party mandarins take responsibilty for trashing the party, and stop blaming voters, then I for one won’t stop pushing back on 2016.
          I wonder what you mean about HRC supporters being “pushed off the blog” in 2016? This is hardly Twitter, or a You Tube comments section, no discussions filled with ad hominem and other personal abuse. People here tend to exclusively focus on ideas, and any pushback or static one gets is based purely on the quality of those ideas. Could give a &^%$ which team you’re on, that sort of thing. This is my experience anyway.

        5. Elizabeth Burton

          Comparing the “pain” of women who are so far gone from reality as most people live it that they are incapacitated over the loss of an election to the very palpable pain of women who live on the streets with their children despite having a job, or those who lost their homes and/or retirement funds because of the inaction of someone whose policies Hillary Clinton clearly said she would continue is a lot more offensive than what Lambert and others have said.

          As for “driving off” Hillary supporters, people so mind-controlled they can’t cope with differences of opinion, especially those based on verifiable facts, wouldn’t be happy here in any case no matter who they voted for. Or didn’t vote for, for that matter. And yes, I do mean “mind-controlled,” because every individual I’ve encountered who complains about being mistreated for supporting and/or defending HRC has exhibited all the characteristics of a cult member.

          Remember “lead, follow, or get out of the way”? I think of that every time someone takes umbrage because the peasants rejected their effort to correct our stupid lack of understanding about something. Which is exactly what every Clinton supporter still screaming with “pain” over the election tries to do. With them, it’s not about discussion. It’s about stating the canon and demanding everyone else accept baptism or be condemned for blasphemy.

          1. Chris


            Well said.

            It’s hard for people to hear, or even think, that after so many cycles of voting for the lesser evil, we were left with only evil. Hillary had no redeeming qualities. None. There was no reason to vote for Hillary if you cared about any other than the status quo. Which is why the Clinton archipelago was such a stiltified electoral wasteland. Trump had no redeeming qualities. He’s vicious and cruel and myopically parochial. But…At least with Trump, you got to tell the high and mighty to piss off. I can understand why people looked at the choice between “America is already great!(TM)” and MAGA and chose MAGA.

            I couldn’t vote for either one. And my reward for trying to explain how the situation was awful and I would not support it was to be excoriated in public forums for “wasting my vote” and “supporting Russia.”

            All that being said, one good thing to come out of the whole mess was a lot of women from all walks of life decided to run for office. I’m working to support several in their campaigns where I live. I really don’t care about a blue wave. But I want these women to replace the establishment automatons because these women have seen more of life and are espousing policies I support.

            1. tegnost

              when I was roundly abusing Clinton get in liners my most horrid repartee was “why should a working class person vote for Hillary, without mentioning donald trump?”, and I never got an answer…question.still open for those who wish to try…

        6. drumlin woodchuckles

          The Clinton supporters were not pushed off. They were merely not humored and catered to. That is quite different.

          Their lies were not believed and their prejudices were not flattered. So they left for safer spaces without triggers.

        7. Skip Intro

          The hysteria was cynically fabricated and weaponized as a campaign tactic, and later as a tactic to delegitimize Trump. Those suffering are victims of a desperate campaign consultant class who has gaslighted them into a state of near panic. That they are eager participants in their own mass hysteria does not mean that they are not human beings who are suffering, even if it does help in placement on the hierarchy.

    4. nippersdad

      While Trump anxiety may not be limited to people who can afford treatment, our recent parades of me-too/pussy hat wearing congeries out protesting against the exact same things that Obama and Bill Clinton did renders their judgment (at best) suspect. Who ever had the brilliant idea that Trump invented the immigration/human trafficking debacle we have been witnessing for years now, for example, did not do so to protest Trump’s policies. Anyone can be subject to back pain, but it takes a special kind of chutzpah to delay talking about it for decades, and then only when it serves the interests of the self interested.

      Do you not find that those who would have had us support the wife of a notorious sexual predator, one who consistently supported him over the years by denigrating his victims, resemble fairly closely the rage machine they are claiming Trump to be? Projection is never attractive, and it is even less so when engaged in by those who have always had the wherewithal to avoid the worst aspects of that which they are protesting.

      Were this story coming from a woman who couldn’t afford insurance to treat her back pain, who was preyed upon on the shop floor, lost her house to foam someone else’s runway or then lost her job to Mexico to increase the profit margin of such elite organisms as we are now seeing protesting injurious political polices, I would feel a lot more compassion for them. I doubt that any of this counselor’s beltway clientele would ever have found themselves in such situations, though.

      What goes around comes around; if they want our respect they should have supported Paula Jones and Monica Lewinski when it counted. They should have piped up when Obama was creating for profit gulags to hold those people herded over the border by his (and others) drug wars, destabilizing trade deals and overthrow of popularly elected governments. I find convenience induced anxiety to be strangely uncompelling.

      Just my $.02.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > “While Trump anxiety may not be limited to people who can afford treatment”

        The diagnosis of the putative syndrome is made for people who can afford $185 an hour to have it done.

        That’s not the same as generalized angst over a political figure in the broader population. Somehow, these two distinct phenomenon have become conflated on this thread (with the effect of erasing class analysis and replacing it with vaguely feminist handwaving and shaming). ‘Tis a pity, though not unexpected.

        1. flora

          with the effect of erasing class analysis and replacing it with…

          That’s the beauty of identity politics for politicians; it keeps voters from getting to the class analysis they might all have in common.

          Anything that keeps us voters from viewing politics through the lens of economics is a win for the politicians who are unwilling to challenge corporate money and monopolies.

        2. nippersdad

          Exactly. That those so diagnosed were not discovered by “dragging a dollar bill through a trailer park” but are, instead, going to these sessions in their down time between law classes at Georgetown/brunch and dinners out makes the argument less than compelling. Much like the wearing of Manolo Blahniks, fashionable outrage is, I suspect, not actually a dignosable condition.

          That they are only having this problem now is my biggest problem with their argument.

    5. Fiery Hunt

      46% of WOMEN voted for Trump!

      Since they’re still big fans of the Big Dog (Billy Boy Clinton and he’s been accused of RAPE)…maybe those having the vapors aren’t really concerned with Trump’s behavior but their own loss of status.

    6. David May

      In 2002, as a senator for New York, Clinton voted for the authorization for the use of military force in Iraq. Do you know what would make me anxious if I was woman? That I might live in a country that Hillary Clinton decided needed to be “liberated”, that I and my family would be turned into pink mist. And she would do it in a heartbeat. She would not give a fiddler’s flying f*ck; if it would advance her in anyway at all, she would kill me, my family and every person in my country, and then she would cackle, “We came, we saw, they died!” But a crude man made a vulgar chauvinistic remark and we’re all supposed to stick vagina hats on our heads and lose our minds? Get a f*cking grip.

      1. foghorn longhorn

        Here is a challenge for the blogosphere
        Name one thing positive either clinton has accomplished in their 40+ years of ‘public service’
        No snark involved, serious question

          1. Big River Bandido

            CHIP is a gatekeeper’s wet dream. In the presence of a real universal healthcare system, CHIP would be like the proverbial tits on a bull. Meanwhile, the damage she did to the long-term prospects for healthcare reform have been a 25-year gift to the insurance industry.

            1. foghorn longhorn

              The health care debacle also resulted in losing a democratic house that had ruled from the 83rd to the 103rd.
              40 fricking years
              Tip O’neill mentioned above, survived 12 years of raygun-bush the elder groper, only to be vanquished by the clintons.
              Which ushered in Newt’s contract on america and now here we are.
              The clintons and obama are the best thing that ever happened to the repubs.

              1. tegnost

                The clintons and obama are the best thing that ever happened to the repubs.
                can I say that the clintons and obama were republicans, please?

                1. Oregoncharles

                  I’ve been saying that for a long time; the Clintons are the reason I’m a Green.

                  That said, i think the duopoly parties remain very real rivals for the bribe money.

        1. PlutoniumKun

          I have to say – and I’ve heard this from all sides of the political spectrum – Bill Clintons work during the peace agreement in Northern Ireland was exemplary. He did a lot of work behind the scenes – including personally phoning minor politicians to persuade them to get on board (I mean really minor politicians, just local officials and councillors, he literally called them individually and spoke for many hours to some). Of course, this is exactly the sort of thing he was good at and thrived doing, but it can’t be taken away from him that he was prepared to do the work on it and put his reputation on the line.

          Having said that, HRC rode that goodwill with Irish American communities during her Senate and Presidential runs, but even then, her lack of sincerity was glaring.

    7. clarky90

      Re, Trump Anxiety Disorder

      New research (from trusted sources) implies that T.A.D. is a resurfacing of “The Disease Of Astonishment”. (D.O.A). “The Disease Of Astonishment” was a cruel affliction of Medieval times, long thought to have been eradicated by modern technology. Many innocent lives, were lost. It’s reappearance now, is utterly terrifying.

      Has D.O.A, been released by the melting of the Russian Siberian permafrost?

      “It was a hot summer in 1688. An argument broke out in the Goodwin home where Goody and her daughter Mary were house keepers. Martha, the oldest child in the Goodwin family accused Goody’s daughter, Mary, of stealing linen. Goody argued in defense of her daughter.

      Martha claimed that Mary, the washerwoman’s daughter, had stolen linen from the house. As Goody Glover cursed the girl for accusing Goody’s daughter of stealing, she began having strange fits. Termed “the disease of astonishment”, these symptoms included neck and back pain, loud outbursts, flapping of the arms and losing bodily control.

      After three more of the Goodwin’s children began having the same fits, a prominent local doctor diagnosed the affliction as being caused by the witchcraft practiced on them by Goody Glover. Goody was arrested and accused by Reverend Cotton Mather of casting a spell on 4 of the 6 Goodwin children who were having the fits.

      After her arrest, prosecutor’s claimed a search of Goody’s house turned up “poppets,” small dolls made of cloth, herbs and goat hair in the likeness of the targets being cursed….”


    8. SpringTexan

      Great point, dcblogger! Most everyone I know is anxious, and few of them see therapists.

      The official endorsement of racism and the incidents that has propelled are also cause for anxiety. (L

  5. Brindle

    Is “two-tier” social security kinda like two years of free college ? Dems feel fine expanding the underclass as they make muffin words to show they are “fighters”.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      No. Exactly as younger union members get a worse contract than older ones, younger people get a worse deal from Social Security, because they’re younger. Started with the Grand Bargain between Tip O’Neill and Reagan, which was marketed, IIRC, as a “Save Social Security” thing.

      1. JTMcPhee

        And to belabor the point, there’s enough wealth/money to fund a decent old age for all of us. With enough left over, depending on how it’s allocated, to make a pretty good start at mitigating some of the trends in destruction of the biosphere we live in, it’s own kind of “bubble.”

        That Grand Bargain (who gains?) was just f-u-mopes politics. All that is absent now is the political incentive to prefer people and their aging pain and current disability and medical needs over effing Bankster Bonuses and F-35s, and the endless pursuit of that One Weapon To Kill Them All that will nail down hegemony, for people who will do nothing with it but further titillate their already overloaded limbic systems.

        1. Heraclitus

          ‘And to belabor the point, there’s enough wealth/money to fund a decent old age for all of us.’

          What makes you think that? Michael Kinsley wrote a piece in ‘Vanity Fair’ a couple of years ago that indicates that we’d have to tax the middle class pretty harshly, the way they do in Europe, to significantly improve the condition of the poor. I don’t see why that shouldn’t be true for retirement as well.


          1. pretzelattack

            the money spent on wars, money we don’t even account for. that makes me think that.

          2. ambrit

            And why not return to Eisenhower Era tax rates? Make the likes of Zuckerberg and Gates, the Waltons and Buffet pay out 90% of all their annual income per year. That’s the real reason for tax rates; to balance the economic playing field somewhat.
            That’s not even taking MMT into account. Such as, If I read correctly, a hundred billion dollars spread around the general population will eventually be spent into the working economy. A hundred billion handed to a few elite players will soon be parked in banks and stocks doing little or nothing of a socially constructive nature. The base line here is who does the government really work for?

            1. Heraclitus

              The problem is that the top 10% of income earners account for 30% to 40% of GDP. The top 1% accounts for 20%. Tax’em at 90% rates and they’ll stop working.

              You could confiscate the assets of the Forbes 400 and it would keep the government running for less than a year.

              1. Big River Bandido

                Tax’em at 90% rates and they’ll stop working.

                Just like they did in the 1950s?

                1. witters

                  J.K. Galbraith if I recall (oh he would be good to have around now!) summed up neoliberal ethics this way: The rich work because they are too poor, and the poor don’t work because they are too rich.

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        I wonder if I have mis-understood this Two Tier Employee system all this time. I had always thought that the lower-wage tier was an introductory probationary pay-scale. If the Tier Two hire passed his/her probation, then he/she got boosted into Tier One at the pay that Tier One Union people always got.

        Have I been wrong about that the whole time? Have the Tier Two wage-scale hires been hired on the understanding that they would be Tier Two their entire working life at the company?

        1. Chris

          That’s always been my understanding. The agreements for things such as decreasing benefits to keep some of the benefits around for the younger generation as always agreed to by the elders with the promise that it won’t effect their retirement. Once a “tier two” always a tier two. And the people who voted for that are grandfathered into tier one. Which is why they were convinced o vote for such a deal in the first place. Why would you have thought otherwise?

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            Because permanent tier-two-ing seems like a way to destroy the union by eroding it from within by its own leadership’s choice. People coming in as permanent tier-two would feel a lot less loyalty to a union ( or a political movement) which was willing to consign them to a worklife of tier-two status in order to preserve their own legacy tier-one status.

            Was tier-two sold by claiming that company extinction was the other alternative? Was that a credible claim at the time?

            1. Chris

              Yep. You got it!

              It’s “I got mine” for those in power and “here’s some scraps” for everyone else. I’m sure it’s a pure coincidence that union membership everywhere in the US is so low. And that we have workers who are choosing to forgo forming unions even when the union is supported by the company.

              There are too many cases I’m aware of to say that the description of something like a two tier system being the only option is an accurate statement. What I can say for the few cases I know about in detail is that it’s typically about a company that has seriously underfunded its pension obligations.

            2. Left in Wisconsin

              Union contracts are for a set period of time. Then they expire and have to be renegotiated. The vast majority of two-tier contracts do not bring the lower tier up to the top tier in the life of the contract. In many cases, the lower tier is so much below the higher tier that it makes sense to presume that the two tiers will never be synchronized. But they don’t last forever because ultimately everyone in the top tier is gone and then there is only one, lower tier!

              Two-tier contracts completely suck. However, and with the caveat that I don’t know the details of the UPS negotiations and the overall state of labor reporting in this country is atrocious, I would disagree with Lambert’s trope of the top tier workers “pulling the ladder up behind them.” In my experience, it is never the union and always management that proposes the lower tier, and it is the decision of the union (and it’s members) how hard to fight it. Generally, two-tiers are proposed in regards to new hires – the company offers to hire if they can pay the new workers a lower rate. I come from manufacturing and in most of the two-tier contracts I saw, management basically said they would hire if they could pay a lower rate and wouldn’t hire if they had to pay the existing rate. (That was the case with GM and Ford, one of the few cases where a two-tier was ultimately done away with.) In a few, there was a choice: a lower tier for new hires while keeping the existing rate for new hires, or a smaller concessionary rate for everyone.

              It is completely fair to criticize unions for not fighting harder against two-tier contracts. But the “pulling up the ladder” metaphor suggests it is the union doing the pulling. Which in my experience at least was not the case.

              UPS is a hugely profitable company and has no need for a lower tier. I could argue the union should never agree to a two-tier and strike if need be. It seems like the drivers would have good leverage if they struck. But it’s a big decision and not my call.

    2. LifelongLib

      Two years of free college would at least improve access to community colleges, many of which have skilled trade programs as well as academics. Not ideal but better than what we have now…

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        “improve access”

        Whats child hood hunger in this country? 1 in 5 in 2016, the pre- Trump era. Explain to me how “improved access” is going to help that.

        Improving access isn’t the issue. Go to a Starbucks, there are college graduates right there. I

  6. JohnnyGL


    Watching Fox News segments so you don’t have to….

    Because it is worth keeping an eye at what these guys are up to, check out this segment with Tucker Carlson. He’s at it again, shredding Neo-cons. Luckily, he’s jumping all over the idea of war with Iran being horrible. No one else in the media wants to bother, thankfully, Tucker is doing this work.

    1. Amfortas the Hippie

      I find that I really don’t know how to feel about agreeing with Tucker.
      Twice in as many months, in fact(regarding “Russiarussiarussia!!”)
      The various interlocking binaries we’re supposed to confine our thinking into just don’t do it for me any more.
      I note that TS Eliot is rambling on on track 3 of my mind a lot here lately.

      1. Oregoncharles

        For variety, try W.B. Yeats, “The Second Coming:”

        …”And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
        slouches toward Bethlehem to be born?”

      2. David Carl Grimes

        I have to wonder if less than 1% of Americans are worried about Russia, why is Rachel Maddow’s show the number one show on MSNBC when all she talks about is Russia? Who watches her? The one percent?

        1. Darthbobber

          I think it was that fewer than 1% see relations with Russia as the biggest problem facing the country. That’s not the same as that few caring about it at all.

          1. johnnygl

            I think it’s probable that most of her watchers aren’t foaming at the mouth, but can’t stand trump and would like to see him felled by a scandal. Plus they figure that there’s gotta be SOMETHING going on between trump and putin, since there’s been so much attention paid to the story.

            They might even find maddow and her guests to be more than a bit hyperbolic.

            Top issue facing the country is a really high bar to meet, though.

            1. tegnost

              first you have to have the money to buy the cable feed, then you have to have time to watch it…

        2. Richard

          Does anyone watch her “ironically”
          I mean like someone might watch Alex Jones, just for the performance?
          My generation (X) used to be big on doing thing ironically.
          Whatever happened to that? :^

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            I don’t. ( Well. . . actually I don’t watch anyone because my TV isn’t hooked up to anything).

            But I did see a couple of Maddow episodes on you tube. I found her unbearably boring.
            She talked on and on, using a paragraph to say a sentence, using a page to say a paragraph. And not a very intelligent or coherent paragraph either.

            1. Richard

              My TV neither. And I agree, the segments I’ve watched don’t seem interesting enough to watch for anything but confirmation of prejudices. But you never know. Some people are kinky!

  7. patD

    Malcolm Harris’s Kids these days – Human capital and the making of millennials does a pretty good job describing the results of “… incentivizing generations of vulnerable young people to tick identical boxes ..” Sample:
    The grand irony is that this system wouldn’t be possible without a generation of young Americans who are willing to take the costs of training upon themselves. If young people refused to pay in time, effort, and debt for our own job preparation, employers would be forced to shell out a portion of their profits to train workers in the particular skills the companies require. Instead, a competitive childhood environment that encourages each kid to “be all they can be” and “reach their potential” undermines the possibility of solidarity. As long as there’s an advantage to be had, millennials have been taught to reach for it, because if they don’t, someone else out there will. This kind of thinking produces some real high achievers, but it also puts a generation of workers in a very bad bargaining position.

  8. John k

    I religiously read the second-best part of rage LA times, the comics (best is, of course, their excellent Bridge column.)
    The strip, Prickly city, thinks she, denoted there as hunny bunny, is running in 2020. Me, too. I suspect many dem elites and supers would be satisfied.
    Actually, if she woulda been elected in 2016 except for Russia Russia, why not run such an eminently qualified person again? In the past people have had three shots, why shouldn’t she get a third one? Course, they were white men…

    1. ambrit

      True. Then we could run her exoskeleton for Veep. It’s a twofer!
      “Prepare to be Demimilated! #Resistanceisfutile!”

    2. shinola

      Another try by HRC?

      That would really drive home the “Richard-Nixon-in-a-pantsuit” analogy.

    1. edmondo

      Holder 2020!
      We’re tired of winning the popular vote.

      Holder 2020 –
      See, Hillary wasn’t the worst candidate we could find.

      Holder 2020!
      We are determined to get Jill Stein in the White House

      1. ChrisAtRU


        See? Hillary wasn’t the worst candidate we could find!

        So help me ${DEITY}, if he runs, I am going to print this on a crap-load of t-shirts, many of which I will freely give to anyone from the NC Commentariat who asks!

        Thank you! This made my day! LOL


  9. XXYY

    Eric Holder: ‘Yeah, I’m interested’ in White House bid” [The Hill]. • Maybe readers can help Holder out with some slogans.

    “Someone to Hate Besides Trump!”

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Holder needs to turn a negative into positive. So my reasoning is he needs to address the criminals he let free.

      “If it wasn’t for Holder, you wouldn’t hate the banks!”

      Ideally, the trained seals would start barking and clapping in unison before anyone thought about it. Of course, it still needs a catchy version, not my garbage.

      1. Ultrapope

        “Holder needs to turn a negative into positive.”

        then how about:

        “Justice Inaction”

        Sounds great when you say it out loud!

      2. foghorn longhorn

        Re Holder
        Looking at his bio he was actually nominated to the Superior Court of DC in 1988 by, drumroll please, St. Ronny Raygun.
        It’s a bipartisan world after all

        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          I can’t wait until Biden and Holder have to hold joint campaign appearances like Biden held with Dodd and Richardson in 2007.

        2. Big River Bandido

          Could have simply been the biproduct of a deal between Reagan and Ted Kennedy. Reagan gets Kennedy’s vote (or lack of opposition) for a nominee in MA, while Kennedy gets his nomination through. Happens all the time.

      3. perpetualWAR

        Here’s a couple Holder2020 slogans:

        —Holder2020, he made guillotines fashionable again!

        —Holder2020, the bankers love him and you will too!

        —Holder2020, because we love failing people upwards, look at Barry!

        1. Eureka Springs

          I’m running a special for 179.99. And you can blame your father, ex, mean brother, or butch girlfriend for everything else.

          “The only thing to fear is fear itself.”

  10. pretzelattack

    i’m just torn between holder and biden and clinton. this could be a sinister putin plot to divide us, giving us so many fine choices. best not to support any of them.

    1. RUKidding

      It’s so d*mn depressing. No snark.

      And those next in line aren’t any better. To whit: Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Duvall Patrick.


    2. JohnnyGL

      If my 2020 Dem Primary ballot has those three as my only options….

      Maybe I’ll just rip the ballot up and jam it into the scan-tron reader?!!!?!?!?

    3. Chris

      Perhaps this is one of those things that needs to happen?

      The people supporting this awful lock on acceptable thought need to be roundly defeated before they’ll accept that they can’t win with these ideas and tactics? Of course, that’s being optimistic on my part. I have to imagine the real lesson the DNC learned from 2016 is that they needed to lock in the votes and their advantages earlier. And harder. I doubt they’ll let another upset like Trump or even Bernie happen again.

      The only question in my opinion is whether they still have the power to stop it.

      1. Big River Bandido

        The only question in my opinion is whether they still have the power to stop it.

        On a practical level, I think you mean “Sanders” — do they have the power to stop him? Sure they do, just like they did in 2016. But they will need a candidate to rally behind. That’s why plutocrats and Democrat whores have been called to the DNC casting couch all these last 15 months. If the Democrats have any political skills left, they are likely to conclude pretty quickly (if they haven’t already) that they just don’t have a candidate who’s a sure-fire bet to stop Sanders. In fact, all they have now are a Gish Gallop of milquetoast candidates. If they all run, Sanders will make mincemeat of them — if the playing field is level.

        So, one level of power working in favor, another working against. You can see why establishment Democrats are sweating, waiting to see which way the die will fall, and planning to right the primary — again. Like 2016, as long as they get their candidate (which means anybody but Sanders), they will be content to put up the appearance of a general election fight in 2020 and lose. In fact, that’s what they’re hoping for. If Sanders wins the nomination, the old guard is likely to shun him and hope he loses the general election.

        All this explains why their jitters are starting to show in public, and why they’ve had the same old mouthpieces issuing ever-more-defensive screeds and press communiques* about how Sanders and Ocasio-Cortez will lead the Democrats to their worst defeat since…2016.

        (*I was tempted to link to Brietbart, because their fulsomeness toward the Democrat hack in question tells you something about both sides.)

        1. HotFlash

          In fact, all they have now are a Gish Gallop of milquetoast candidates. If they all run, Sanders will make mincemeat of them — if the playing field is level.

          Yup, similar to what happened to the Republicans in 2016.

  11. fresno dan

    HICAP anecdote

    So I had my first unabashed Pro-Trump client today. Despite that, I liked him. But not his strong views that everything wrong was caused by immigrants (except the things gone wrong due to his union). And of course his view that there is too much welfare….except of course when his son got laid off and the unemployment ran out (Unemployment Wasn’t extended because the economy was doing so good! ) and his son’s family couldn’t get any assistance – which I guess is a good case of there not being enough welfare ….

    So the man was a union member and pretty annoyed about what his union sponsored insurance was costing him and wanted to know if “just getting medicare” would be cheaper (he has original medicare Part A and Part B now and is carrying his union insurance as essentially a medigap plan. I could never get a word in edgewise to determine if the union insurance covered prescription drugs) This is not a man who handles nuance well, and there is a LOT of NUANCE in medicare, what with Part A, B, C, D and medicare supplement (AKA Medi-Gap). And deductibles….and the deductibles for prescription drugs do not apply for other medical deductibles. Or co-pays….and so on.

    But I can understand his point of view. He pays in so much, and when there is some problem it turns out he pays some exorbitant deductible or fee, or so many government programs, but somehow none apply to his son, and so on. Its a remarkably complicated system (health and welfare) – and he can feel in his bones that it isn’t complicated to help him…..so he loses ever more faith in the “system.”
    But he is sure Trump sees the problem and is on his side.

    1. Rhondda

      Thank you, fresno dan. I always appreciate your Medicare anecdotes. They are revealing.

  12. Synoia


    I object to the use of the word “cheese.” I don’t know what that yellow stuff is, but it’s not cheese.

    1. Amfortas the Hippie

      yup. “food like substance”.
      back in the Bush Darkness, I ran a little gourmet cafe in this far place, bringing Real Food to the mundanes.
      Real Cheese was essential…weird artisan French and Italian things that nobody could pronounce and great wheels of Stilton that you could smell at the door,lol.(this was the “Blue cheese” they got when they ordered such)
      Then the Freedom Fries, Freedom Toast, and suddenly I couldn;t get European Cheese any more…for about 2 months.
      supplier guy said it was political, but I never found out for sure what had happened.
      and another germane anecdote regarding cheese: my first cooking job out here, the owner had pretensions of sophistication(which is why I was hired). a grilled chicken breast on black beans with a slice of (processed) Jack cheese. like intro to gourmet for dummies.
      Little old lady comes steaming into my kitchen with her plate in hand. Lifts the Jack, sez “what’s this white stuff?”. Cheese is supposed to be yellow, donchaknow.
      The folks out here have come a long way in the 25 years I’ve been here,lol. They miss the Stilton, too.

      1. laughingsong

        Ah, yes . . . the stuff they feed TO cheeses . . . to make them grow big and strong.

        1. Duck1

          Ircs individually wrapped cheese (some may quibble) slices are the red pill of modern dairy wrapped modernity

    2. HotFlash

      The Velveeta package says “processed cheese food”. So there you go, it’s what processed cheese eats.

  13. Scott

    Much has been written here about the failings of private equity, the focus on the large deals and their impacts, but smaller deals are just as bad for its employees. NECCO, the 150-year old candy company, was acquired by a PE firm about ten years ago. It has since had financial difficulties and was bought by another investment firm. Well, last week it was flipped and immediately shut down the manufacturing facility, laying off its employees. The company might have violated the WARN Act in the process.


    1. RUKidding

      Thanks for the update. NECCO produces its “wafers” for however many years until PE steps in, takes the money and runs. That’s all PE is: let me STEAL your money (and your jobs) from you. KTXBYE.

  14. Synoia


    Why vote them out? The missing piece is WIIFM – What’s in it for ME?

  15. Carolinian

    Water Cooler firing on all cylinders today.

    And re Walmart–the busiest of our local Walmarts has replaced half the checkout area with self checkout and added a large online order pickup area with orange lockers. Employee delivery may be a flop but they are really pushing Digital Walmart with store pickup as their solution to delivery costs–leveraging those hundreds of stores.

    While a store makeover may seem overreaction to Amazon I suspect retailers do worry about holding a new generation of millenials as the boomers fade. Or maybe this is just a management boondoggle. Even McDonald’s now has smartphone order and curbside pickup.

    1. Kurtismayfield

      All the retail locations are using them
      When the stores aren’t busy no one is queuing behind them.. I always choose a person ringing me up. I refuse to subsidize them by bagging and being their cashier.

  16. Kurtismayfield

    RE: “‘Lopping,’ ‘Tips’ and the ‘Z-List’: Bias Lawsuit Explores Harvard’s Admissions Secrets”

    Harvard is reticent about the Z-list, and much of the information pertaining to it in court papers has been redacted. The list consists of applicants who are borderline academically, the plaintiffs say, but whom Harvard wants to admit. They often have connections. They may be “Z-ed” (yes, a verb) off the wait-list, and are guaranteed admission on the condition that they defer for a year.

    So, we basically have confirmation that Obama’s daughter was Z-listed:

    Malia Obama to attend Harvard in 2017

    “The President and Mrs. Obama announced today that their daughter Malia will attend Harvard University in the fall of 2017 as a member of the Class of 2021. Malia will take a gap year before beginning school,” the White House said in a statement.

    The meritocracy sure is rewarding. I hope she enjoys her 3.67 median GPA.

    Harvard Crimson article on median GPA

    Now, the distribution of grades at Harvard is not as uniform as in the above example, so we turn to the median to try to make sense of Harvard’s grade distribution. It’s important to stress that saying the median grade at Harvard is an A- (or 3.67 on the GPA scale) is completely different from saying the average grade, and therefore average GPA, is a 3.67.

    I did appreciate that the Harvard Crimson had to explain what a median was to its readers!

    1. Darthbobber

      Except that there are many other reasons for the ubiquitous gap year other than being z listed. So in and of itself it means little.

    2. JTMcPhee

      Harvard, where all the women are strong, the men are good looking, and the children are above average…

  17. roxy

    OMG. I received in the mail today the “Official 2018 Democratic Party Survey” along with a two page letter from Tom Perez. I would compare the excessive verbiage to a giant word salad being sprayed across the Cross Bronx Expressway at rush hour. And of course they want money. heh, yeah right.

    The kicker is that I changed my registration to Registered Unaffiliated at least four years ago. They got my name and address correct, but not that. Anybody else find this thing in their mailbox?

    1. Carey

      Yes, I got those too, several times. The good thing is, they’re all postpaid envelopes (for a while they wanted not just money, but postage as well.) Along with a few choice words,
      I’ll be sending donations in coin; the better to drive up their postage cost, at least.

    2. Oregoncharles

      Why would they ever take a name off their list?

      I used to get mailers from the DCCC, despite being registered Green and a party officer, to boot. I should have just let them waste their money, I guess, but I was offended, so I called up and made (political) threats.

      One thing you can do, assuming there’s a postage paid envelope: take the entire mailer, including the envelope, and maybe a sheet of lead, and stuff it into the envelope. The cost of that might get their attention.

    3. Arizona Slim

      Earlier this year, I got an email from the Arizona Democratic Party. This came to someone who changed back to indie status after our 2016 presidential primary. Y’know, the one that featured massive voter suppression.

    4. Elizabeth Burton

      If the one you got is anything like the one I got early this year, just scrawl “none of the above” at the top and send it back.

    5. JTMcPhee

      Those verbiage-stuffed letters are so reminiscent of what you get when you click on the banners that offer absolute cures for baldness, diabetes, toenail fungus and the other plagues on humanity. Pages and pages of careful buildup to the “ask,” “Just click below and we will send you the full details of this guaranteed cure, for just three easy payments of $19.99, we accept Paypal and all major credit cards…” I wonder if the use an algo to compose, or whether there are stocks of English majors with poly sci minors queued up to do piecework composing for peanuts…

    6. Mo's Bike Shop

      Me as well, I was looking forward to a little fun but my eyes glazed over at the first hideously long checklist of important issues. Made the “Trump, Trump, did we mention Trump” survey of ’16 seem engaging. Odd content to send to someone who hasn’t contributed to politicians in over a decade.

      I’ve seen discount bulk meat fliers with better graphic values. No wonder they fear 4th-rate Russian direct marketers.

  18. Jean

    “‘Lopping,’ ‘Tips’ and the ‘Z-List’…maybe the students will discover as they fill out their application that they have black or Native American blood?

    Remember the One Drop Rule? Plus there’s that “Self Identification With” thang.

  19. Plenue

    From Greenwald:

    “There are a huge number of people paying attention to politics for the first time because of Trump, and these are the political values, institutions and people they’re being taught to venerate.”

    He’s not wrong. Trump does seem to have jarred a lot of people who ‘didn’t care about politics’ to start paying attention. People who never paid attention to cabinet appointments before can name every member of Trump’s cabinet (and describe why they’re all uniquely terrible).

    But these neophytes are being bombarded 24/7 by absolutely insipid, John Birch Society level ‘discourse’. Though going by the polls, the Russia fear-mongering isn’t exactly going over well. Maybe many of the newcomers can recognize how asinine most of the discussion is?

    1. RUKidding

      I agree. Some of my acquaintances and friends are finally starting to pay attention.

      Sadly too many of them are caught up in the Russia!Russia!Russia! nonsense, and another segment is Just. So. Angry that all they want to do is Impeach Trump.

      I can’t stand Trump. Think he’s horrid. But I’m STILL not seeing where he’s in some sort of Impeachment “zone.” Some more evidence may emerge that could change my mind, but so far, I’m not seeing it.

      I do have compassion for my Jewish friends. Trump’s Nazi-encouragement is scary for them. Some of them lost relatives in the camps in Germany. That’s probably the worst thing about Trump, but there’s more to dislike, for sure.

      But Impeachment? Still not really seeing it. And I think it’s a VERY dangerous precedent to set unless there’s Iron-Clad absolute certain PROOF of something that merits impeachment.

      Just my non-humble 2 cents worth.

      I do think people waking up and starting to pay attention to politics is a very good thing. I wish our “media” was much better at “reporting” what’s really going on.

      1. Elizabeth Burton

        Calling for Trump’s impeachment during slow news cycles when there’s nothing else the media can use to keep the outrage machine running is a useful tool. Most of those on the receiving end don’t have a clue what qualifies a president for impeachment, and frankly, I doubt most of the talking heads are any better informed because they don’t need to be.

        There are a percentage of those suffering Trump Derangement Syndrome who are firmly convinced his impeachment will be based on unshakeable evidence of Russian interference, which will invalidate the entire election and declare HRC the winner by default. And no, I am not making that up.

        1. Plenue

          What will they think when Pence becomes President instead? Probably not a lot, since it seems Trump’s great crime is one of clumsiness, not of evil. If Pence came along and started much more effectively doing evil things, I doubt there would be 1/10th the feigned outrage over it.

        1. Skip Intro

          That must be the inoculation for the Dems’ support of living, breathing, putsching OG nazis in Ukraine.

    2. SimonGirty

      They’re flip sides of the same two headed coin. If FOX terrified piss-poor ‘baggers by using a nerdy Black professor, with a Muslim name, who spoke complete sentences, IMAGINE how much one can milk from, ah, er… affluent liberals stumbling into each other, iPhone blocking out all the horror Facebook SEOs their way. Shit, I’m white trash and I’m looking for the exit my own damn self.

      Of course, the marks are making out like bandits. They’re not the intended victims, any way. They’re necessary adjuncts of our tag-team, kleptocratic Idiocracy, so far? It’s us po’ folk going to suffer.


      1. SimonGirty

        PS: Ever wonder why 19 new Marcellus pipelines are to carry fracked methane south, where it’s worth more; to generate electricity & enable our deplorable’s 24/7 air conditioner addiction (God, smiting them for gay marriage, no doubt?) while carrying ethane east? North?






  20. Lee

    What are the fair use rules here? Specifically, how much of NC material can I cut, paste, and plunk down at Daily Kos or some similarly vile Dollar Dem site? I’ve been doing that with the odd bits and pieces now and then and there are still some people over there, who actually approve. As we approach the next election, their numbers appear to be growing a bit. But mainly, I just love going over there and ladling a bit of punch in their turd bowl and pissing on their heads but only because their hair is on fire and I care. Or maybe I’m just a bad person. ; )

    For example, the whole 2016 Post Mortem section might make a few heads explode over at DK.

  21. Angie Neer

    What is a “lanyard” of the type that Lambert is using, I guess, as a class marker? I’m not getting the reference.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      The cords round the neck (with ID and credentials attached) are called lanyards; they give access to the White House or the Center for American Progress, so they’re an excellent class marker. (I think the trope comes from Chapo.) A fine example of synecdoche.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Here in Big Midwest Academic Hospital, all kinds of regular bi-weekly wage-paid people wear our electric-strip-charged door-opening Hospital IDs on lanyards. Its the easiest way to be able to pick them up quickly for getting through door after door after door.

        Here its just a class marker of having-a-job.

      1. Lee

        Forgot to mention, and pertinent to the poem, the one I made for my mom as a cub scout project back when dinosaurs roamed the earth was for a key ring.

      2. Angie Neer

        Thanks for reminding me of that poem. I prefer not to click on the youtube link on my work computer, but I have heard him read it before and remember the spirit of it well. I didn’t think that was the kind of lanyard in question ;-)

      3. JTMcPhee

        In a lot of movies, the victim gets strangled by his necktie, and more recently in particularly the Brit and Aussie police procedural, by those scarves that are looped in a “cow hitch,” https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cow_hitch, (appropriate?) around the necks of stylish women.

        I wonder if the “lanyardistas” have bethought themselves to demand, or at least partially cut for themselves, a couple of breakaway weak spots in their lanyards, to give themselves a bit of a better chance when those coming up behind them seek to remove career obstacles, or their rulers tire of them… I recall a lot of past potentates would have underlings garroted for amusement or to remove annoyances… As the Empire and its processes, all repetitions of those which have gone before, age into the end-game disruption, partition and squabbling, one might do well, if one were wandering the halls of power in search of some, not to make it too easy to be ‘removed from the game board…’ As rule of law and norms of decency (though arguably never really present) have been…

  22. Robert Kavanagh

    Fordham in the 1930s was a well known school due to its nationally ranked football teams.

  23. knowbuddhau

    “Closed Loophole Confirms the Unreality of the Quantum World” [Quanta]

    The Two Slit, one of my favs. Thanks much for this. Clear and concise enough even for me to get it. And a nice illustration that’s likewise clear. I find the implication absolutely liberating.

    Where does reality come from? It’s not Out There, oppressing us! It comes into being by our participation in it. As I’ve been saying for some time now, our intentions materialize our realities. We really are responsible for our realities, in a most inescapable way.

    There’s a way to embody this dual-nature (Sanskrit, advaita) stuff.

    We have two basic modes of vision and thus awareness, you know: spotlight and floodlight. We’ve identified wholly with the spotlight. Making our selves ever more tightly focused pinheads.

    Reversing the mistake gets us nowhere. The answer is not to “Zen out,” whatever that means, or zone out or drug out etc. The stereotypical floating meditator in the lotus posture is one of my pet peeves.

    It’s spotlight-in-floodlight, floodlight-in-spotlight, seamlessly and effortlessly, a self-propagating wave, or a certain kranke German’s wheel rolling out of its own center.

    I think this also relates to the intimate relationship between Being/Becoming.

    Was this linked here lately? Didn’t find it in a search. Another fascinating line of recent QM research.

    Challenging local realism with human choices

    1. Jake Mudrosti

      There’s a trick in the language used in the field. A terrible trick.

      In non-relativistic quantum mechanics, one must use the word “observation” to remain strictly honest. As Bohr aptly wrote in his time, the non-relativistic formalism of Schrodinger and Heisenberg demands inserting the details of the human’s “preparation” of the system wherein the measurement happens, and selecting the measurables.

      In modern QFT, the objective word “interaction” is used instead, while the word “observation” is not used. No observations! That’d be lethal to any theory of matter if human observation somehow were a key part of the whole scheme. It’s the opposite of course — modern QFT allows the most precise descriptions of nature, ever, including audacious predictions that pan out after decades of waiting for the experiment.

      The trick of language.

      With the non-relativistic formalism, it’s somewhat analogous to setting up photographic film, and taking a look at the developed film after its exposure. It’s not dynamic, it’s analogous to a still photo which we regard after we close the shutter and develop the image. It’s the inescapable fact of the human role in the preparation. It only seems to hinge on our “observation” because the formalism sets it up that way from the start.

      Modern QFT sheds light on all this: it wasn’t the observation per se that mattered — it was never that — it was the fact that the observation necessitated a particle interaction.

      And it is in QFT that interactions themselves can be elevated to the ontic status that we had previously hoped to associate with the particles. The interactions of the photon at its creation and absorption are the tail and mouth of the dragon. Only the pressure of our human psychology squeezes us until we claim to see the rest of the dragon in the space between the two. We only ever know ontic reality as the sum total of all interactions. Nothing is lost in erasing the mirage of the dragon’s body.

      In past NC comments, I mentioned some of my past lectures: We can agree that the term “bank account” does not represent an ontically real object zipping around between ATMs, while assigning an ontic status to the measurable bank account transactions. They can be located in time and space, in a way that is ontically meaningful.

  24. Eureka Springs

    Well if ‘we’ are going to give MIC another 717 billion at least there is the following – per common dreams linked in today’s cooler.

    The House’s passage of the 2019 NDAA comes just days after Trump fired off a hysterical Twitter rant against Iran, warning the nation’s leaders in all capital letters to “NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN.”

    What Trump didn’t mention is that Iran’s so-called “threat” against the United States came after a Reuters report revealed that the White House—led by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton—has launched a secret effort to “foment unrest” inside Iran, which critics described as an obvious push for regime change.

    Amid escalating tensions between the two nations sparked by Trump’s ultra-hawkish administration, one of the few tiny bright spots in the NDAA is language that says “nothing in this act may be construed to authorize the use of force against Iran.”

    This “explanatory statement” was included thanks to amendments pushed by Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) and passed unanimously by the House.

    Hopefully it survives the Senate.

  25. Heraclitus

    Sidney Greenberg’s comments about the lack of minority turnout in 2016 made me think. You may remember that when Obama came out in favor of gay marriage (pre-Obergefell), a group of black pastors came out against him. I’m thinking there has been a press blackout on the fallout from Obergefell in large Christian denominations like the Methodists, Presbyterians, Catholics, and Baptists, and that there has been even more significant fallout in black churches, which account for a larger constituency than some of the large white Protestant sects. All that would be necessary to reduce voter turnout would be for black ministers to be a little less zealous in getting out the vote. The problem with counting on identity politics to carry you to victory is that some of the identities don’t get along.

  26. Luke

    Holder thinks that not supporting the same positions as he does is a criminal offense– and doing so largely is a get-out-of-jail-free card. His statements make much more sense once you understand that.

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