Links 7/25/18

MIchael Gove releases beavers into the wild to hep stop flooding (David L). If Gove also had beavers that would stop Brexit, I’m sure he’d have turned them into hats for the Ultras long ago.

Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2018 shortlist – in pictures Guardian (EM)

Laos dam collapse: Race to rescue flooded villagers BBC

Humans have used a year’s worth of Earth’s resources in just seven months Independent (Dr. Kevin)

Chinese Researchers Achieve Stunning Quantum-Entanglement Record Scientific American. EM: “Key finding appears to be ability to encode multiple qubits per particle – in this case, per photon.”


China’s debt threat: time to rein in the spending boom Martin Wolf, Financial Times. Important (and Google the headline…). Does not distinguish “currency issuer” debts from other indebtedness, but otherwise informative.

Putting this under “China” because implications extend beyond US real estate: Chinese Reversing Big U.S. Real Estate Buying Spree That Had Helped Boost Prices Wall Street Journal

Ebola Outbreak in Congo Has Ended, W.H.O. Says New York Times (furzy)

EU finds evidence carmakers are manipulating results Financial Times

Illegal refrigerant costs Greece €20m Cooling Post (Clive)

Swedish student’s dramatic plane protest stops man’s deportation ‘to hell’ Guardian (furzy, UserFriendly)


Pakistanis vote in extremely divisive election DW

Syria – For The Third Time Israel Falsely Claims Iran Pull-Back Deal With Russia Moon of Alabama

‘Tweet of Mass Destruction’ ratchets up tension on Iran Asia Times

Imperial Collapse Watch

Democracies More Prone to Start Wars – Except When They’re Not Caltech (Dr Kevin). So much for the myth of pacific democracies…

Oligarchy and the Death of Worlds Ian Welsh (furzy)

Renew treason laws to jail enemies of the state for life, says thinktank Guardian (JTM)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

Facebook signs agreement saying it won’t let housing advertisers exclude users by race The Verge (Kevin W)

No Matter What You Think Of Julian Assange, It Would Be Harmful For Press Freedoms For The US To Prosecute For Publishing Leaks TechDirt

Kids vs. ‘dumbphones’ from the 2000s CNN

Tariff Tantrum

Like a Soviet-type economy’: GOP free traders unload on Trump Politico

Trump Transition

Trump-backed candidate wins Georgia governor nomination The Hill

Transcript of Cohen tape suggests Trump knew about model’s deal to sell story of alleged affair Washington Post (furzy)

Montana governor sues Trump administration to block IRS policy ending some donor disclosures The Hill (furzy)

Estimated Increases in 2019 Premiums by Congressional District Due to ACA Sabotage Center for American Progress (furzy)

The Left Should Commandeer Red State Democratic Parties Benjamin Studebaker (UserFriendly)

A Tale of Two Very Different Meetings Bernie Sanders

A lawyer sued Miami over the Beckham stadium deal. A full hearing could be next. Miami Herald (Douglas M). Sports stadiums are bad deals for cities to begin with. They are a gimmie to the local construction industry.

Kill Me Now

GM’s new car-sharing program allows owners to rent their vehicles Engadget (David L). More proof of the pauperization of Americans.

Graphic Novel in Running for Man Booker Prize for First Time New York Times (UserFriendly)

Fake News

Maybe in keeping, this was the first item tin Politico’s European newsletter….with no accompanying Politico story:

EUROPE GETS MOVING TO HELP GREECE: Cyprus, Italy and Romania are sending aircraft, ground forces and vehicles to help Greece fight wildfires that have killed dozens. Cyprus, Spain and Bulgaria had already offered assistance. Commissioner for Humanitarian Aide Christos Stylianides arrived in Athens late Tuesday, his team said, to coordinate with Greek authorities. Sweden and Latvia, which also requested support to fight their own fires, are getting help too.

Fake Interview With Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Was Satire, Not Hoax, Conservative Pundit Says Intercept. John C: “1 Million Views? I thought FB censored fake news?”

Where Guns Go to Be Reincarnated New York Times (furzy). Since when do guns have souls?

Former Equifax employee pleads guilty to insider trading Reuters. EM:

Note the real mega-insider-trading opportunity unstated by the article here, namely on the part of the breachers. Steal their data, go short, leak to the media about the breach you committed. I defer to the expertise of traders in such venues, but it seems to me that anyone sophisticated enough to do this kind of hack would presumably also be capable of doing the requisite options trades using suitably anonymized accounts. Come to think of it, one might not even need to hack the company to pull this sort of scam – just a credible-enough allegation of non-existent hacking which triggers a short-term drop in the stock.

Tesla Calls Lawsuit’s Claims ‘a Complete Lie’ Barrons (EM)

“Desperate” Tesla Asks Suppliers for Cash Back Retroactively to 2016 Wolf Street (EM)

Uber self-driving cars back on public roads, but in manual mode TechCrunch. So why are they being called self driving cars in the headline if they are not allowed to do that? They are at best “former self driving cars”.

This Is What’s Actually Happening When The Government Auctions Bonds Bloomberg. UserFriendly: “Endorsing MMT without realising it.​”

The state of ‘New Keynesian’ economics Lars P. Syll (UserFriendly)

Wells Fargo Hit By Another Transparency Scandal SafeHaven

Class Warfare

The View’s Meghan McCain Throws Epic Fit Over Democratic Socialism As Joy Behar Calmly Shuts Her Down: ‘This Makes My Head Explode!’ Alternet (furzy)

Near unanimous vote to strike by Fiat Chrysler workers in Kokomo, Indiana WSWS

Lucy Marcil: Why doctors are offering free tax prep in their waiting rooms TED. UserFriendly: “​Jesus no wonder neoliberals love EITC, 1 in 5 eligible don’t claim it.​”

Antidote du jour (guurst). By amateur photographer Christina Sautter. From Audobon’s Photography Awards:

Story Behind the Shot: It was Sautter’s longtime dream to photograph Dalmatian Pelicans on Lake Kerkini, in northern Greece. When she at last made her way to the spot, she was determined to convey both the birds’ delicate beauty and their impressive power. On her final morning there, with just minutes before mauve sunrise transformed into harsh daylight, Sautter noticed this bird flying near her boat and knew it was the moment she’d been waiting for. She took this image just as the softly lit pelican landed with a pose Sautter compares to a confident gymnast sticking a dismount.

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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  1. flora

    Another link.
    Charles Pierce takes down the “moderate” Dems.

    These Aren’t ‘Moderate’ Democrats. They’re Conservative Democrats.

    If we’re going to do this, it’s incumbent upon us to get our terms right. These are not moderate Democrats. These are conservative Democrats. You know who’s a moderate Democrat these days? It’s a Democrat who wants to get to universal healthcare by degrees, and someone who wants to get to free college a couple of years at a time.

    It’s certainly not a person who thinks it impolite to point out that the creeping oligarchy in this country is a threat to its most basic values.

    I realize that as long as there are wealthy people who are not the Koch Brothers, and as long as there are television green rooms and newspaper editorial boards, this kind of don’t-disturb-the-horses politics always will have a constituency. But, while it may have had a place 20 years ago, it is utterly inadequate to the political circumstances of the day. There are no small-scale solutions to the gigantic structural problems that have grown in our economics and in our politics.

    1. Watt4Bob

      There are no small-scale solutions to the gigantic structural problems that have grown in our economics and in our politics.

      Oh, that’s a keeper!

      Trump, like Obama, is betraying those of his base who thirst for change.

      Puttering around the margins will not deliver the tangible material benefits necessary to stop the bleeding, and sooth the misery.

      We on the left side of the spectrum have had our eyes opened to some degree by the stark reality of Obama’s and the DNC’s perfidy, and now Trump will show the folks leaning right just how much he really cares about their pain and suffering, which aint much.

      Once everybody, left and right, has been disabused of the notion that either of the two Pro-Rich- People parties will ever care, or at least take pity on us, the left behind, then we can start to understand how big the big fix must be.

      The problems are BIG, the fix must be BIG.

      1. Scott

        I mostly agree with this, but there is a big difference between Trump’s and Obama’s betrayals. Although both had majorities in congress, Trump won the primary vote in large part because he went against the party’s orthodoxy on issues like trade, immigration (remember all the pro-business, pro-immigration Republicans), Iraq and even infrastructure. When he was elected, there was little, if any support for these issues, leaving his biggest achievements as the tax cut and repealing certain regulations, goals that he shared with the GOP insiders.

        By contrast, Obama betrayed his base on unionization (no card check), healthcare (no public option), finance (no bankers were locked up), environment (no cap and trade) and stimulus (far too small). Many of these passed the house, but were DOA in the Senate or severely watered down to get passed the filibuster. That is just the way the neolib Obama wanted it.

        1. Summer

          They prepared it all to be watered down before they got started. That’s the Democrats calling card “fighting for” rhetoric..wink, wink…not quite “winning for…” The other is resting on half-winning achivements of Democrats from over 50 years ago, while negotiating away those half-wins bit by bit with their buddies from across the aisle.
          The filibuster rules Harry Reid and the Democratic Party majority Senate agreed to during the first term was the duopoly in action.

        1. jrs

          well works in some respects on the ground and in some ways that matter, not in others, the right wing is in charge there for sure and many things are getting worse as a result of that (as anyone could have predicted of course).

          1. kgw

            All part of the U.S., and some other, elites plan now for decades.

            Europe has long been considered as bad for U.S. policy as Cuba: at least it was further away ;~}

        2. Jeff W

          There’s also this example from the country that the Heritage Foundation calls “the world’s second-most ‘economically free’ country,” Singapore:

          The Singaporean state owns 90 percent of the country’s land. Remarkably, this level of ownership was not present from the beginning. In 1949, the state owned just 31 percent of the country’s land. It got up to 90 percent land ownership through decades of forced sales, or what people in the US call eminent domain.

          The Singaporean state does not merely own the land. They directly develop it, especially for residential purposes. Over 80 percent of Singapore’s population lives in housing constructed by the country’s public housing agency HDB [Housing and Development Board]. The Singaporean government claims that around 90 percent of people living in HDB units “own” their home. But the way it really works is that, when a new HDB unit is built, the government sells a transferable 99-year lease for it.

          [links in original article]

          It’s not a perfect system—the older units seem a bit drab (while the latest-generation project has been compared to a luxury hotel) and people are now wondering what happens when their 99-year lease expires, for example—but this scheme whereby the country housed four-fifths of its population in clean, affordable housing developed by the government hardly seems like a free market success story.

        3. JBird

          It’s almost like people don’t want to look at “currently” successful socialist countries, or countries using elements, but rather at authoritarian Hellstates like Stalin’s Soviet Union, Mao’s China, or North Korea.

          I wonder why?

    2. KLG

      Pierce is generally good on politics, and is one of our best sportswriters. I read him every day, but he (1) believes “Russia, Russia, RUSSIA!” and (2) perpetuates the trope that people who voted for Trump are just plain stupid. This is disconcerting, especially from a sportswriter. The Sports Section, where it is still staffed, is the last bastion of non-stenographic journalism in most of our media.

      1. Swamp Yankee

        Pierce I’ve given up on. This may be because we are from the same (actual) tribe, Anglo-Celtic New Englanders, and I know him. Honestly, I think there are a few things going on with him.

        1) Pierce is above all a creature, ironically enough, of the old school Machine. It’s in his blood. He has referenced the various trickeries his grandfather would engage in against the GOP as part of the Worcester (MA) Democratic organization. I don’t begrudge him this, per se, since I also have relatives affiliated with the Machine — Boston, in my case. But it makes his jesuitical casuistry in terms of hair-splitting distinctions between what dear ol’ Granpa did and the GOP dirty tricks, which he uniformly denounces, despite being categorically similar to his family and community’s stock in trade.

        2) Pierce’s instincts are notably democratic and Novanglo-proletarian; I admire this about him. Add in the frisson of New Left/counterculture, and the years at the late lamented Boston Phoenix (our late great alt paper), and he has some genuinely admirable instincts.

        3) His class. Pierce is far gone from the days of cold-water flats in Worcester. His father was a public school administrator, not in Worcester, the second-largest and definitely among the toughest, in all New England (bigger than Providence & Hartford! 500,000 or so people!), but in neighboring major suburb Shrewsbury. Pierce himself lives in a gentrified Watertown, and made reference to being reigned in by Esquire editors. Moreover, after years of mocking “obvious merit hire” Luke Russert, he employed his own son (and perhaps daugher in law, if memory serves) to cover the 2016 GOP Convention in Cleveland. Said son is a playwright and fencing enthusiast, which, while entirely unobjectionable or even admirable, is not exactly the profile of either a budding political journalist deserving a break at a major US political blog — nor that of a Worcester boyo named Sully or Cullen or Byrnsie pounding back the sorrow longing after the Old Sod.

        4) His conformism. I am a mixture of Pierce’s Irish, and Old Yankee and Scots Highlanders. I don’t care what my Irish kin think of me, but there culture is indeed, in New England, imbued with a tendency towards a gross conformism. They don’t like dissenters, who become either radical republicans, communists, or Protestants. Pierce is there. He liked Bernie, voted for him, then turned against him as Dem opinion shifted.

        5) Finally, I don’t mean this as an ad hominem, but I do think Pierce puts in less and less effort and drinks more and more, and I think this has affected his political judgement. I don’t say this from a Victorian point of view; my family tree on both sides weighs heavy with alcoholics, of varying degrees of functionality. But I think that’s the elephant in the living room here, as it was with Hitchens, as it is with many fine writers, especially from places like New England or Northwest Europe or Russia or the Upper Great Lakes. Again, I don’t say this out of judgment, I don’t deal well with alcohol and prefer another, recently legal alternative, for any number of reasons.

        All together, these are my assessment of Pierce, and why, in his intimate if not personal familiarity, I can no longer read him.


        1. pretzelattack

          iirc he was highly critical of both assange and snowden, and a reflexive obama defender
          almost no matter what he did or didn’t do. if he has learned, well and good; but falling for russiagate is not a promising sign that he has.

    3. JCC

      I thought this was a decent article but I had a problem with Pierce’s opening paragraph:

      I have admitted that I have problems with Bernie Sanders wandering into Democratic primaries generally, since he’s not a Democrat

      He has always caucused with the Dems and primarily voted with the Dems and was completely accepted by the Dems and put on Dem seats in House and Senate Committees since the day he was elected to the House Of Representatives.

      This attitude never existed among core Dems until he started getting popular and beating the hell out of Clinton in many of the primaries. It turned out many Dem voters prefer him over mainstream “moderate” Dem offerings.

      1. JTMcPhee

        The “traitor” meme is rising up again, like it did in the previous two Red Scares, . The condition of “being an American” is a fragile thing. I think most folks sense, or know, that it is a manufactured identity, cultivated by people with “interests,” fostered by basic texts like the McGuffey Readers and the Beards’ histories and the long drumbeats of faux and sincere, if badly misguided, “patriotism”. Hence the fear of “pod people” carrying the virus of Commyanism, bringing contagion and an “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” onto the sacred native soil.

        So it’s pretty easy, in the well-prepared dirt of the political farmer’s field of the political economy here, to revert to the mean(ness) and apotheosize grifters and flag-wavers, while conducting an auto-da-fe to burn with fire any person denominated as a carrier of the pathogen of socialist decency.

        Even decent people who read here, seemingly fearful of the Red Menace Virus, will go along with the memetrope. It’s seductive as protective of our fragile identity, an identity whose essentially fraudulent constituents (as received from the “common knowledge and lore) are so very clearly false.

        Query whether this is an interregnum, where something good and new is struggling to be born (“tangible concrete material benefits,” growing out of an organizing principle that seeks the General Welfare), or just a deluge of anomie culminating in that Ragnarok thing,ök Or maybe just the endpoint of oligarchic feudalism.

        Given the factors and vectors and energies in play, only one outcome seems likely to me.

        1. JCC

          Given the factors and vectors and energies in play, only one outcome seems likely to me.

          I’m more of a Lord Of The Rings person (after reading it as a kid, watching the movies, re-reading it while sitting in the middle of Balad Air Base with daily rocket barrages and then recently listening to the 13 part BBC audio version). We seem to entering a new age of epic battles, but hopefully the outcome will be a little better than Ragnarok and more in line with this trilogy.

          It never ceases to amaze me how strong myths and stories can affect the human psyche.

          1. knowbuddhau

            Nor me! One might even think there might be something downright functional about them.

            Naah, that’s crazy talk. Myths are bad and wrong and we bust them cuz we Science! Once upon a time people believed stupid things (and wrong-thinkers still plague us today, you’ll always find Them Over There, oh and ain’t those Indigenous quaint?) but now we know best. If It Ain’t Sciencey, It’s Crap. /sarc

            Myths are easy to spot: they’re always other people’s. /s

        2. Swamp Yankee

          Perhaps you mean Bancroft or someone like that more than Charles and Mary Beard. _An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States_ is more or less the first application of European-style materialist history to the US, and is a classic on the Left. The Beards were suspect in the first Red Scare to a huge degree, and the entire 1950s Consensus school of history was devoted to reversing their essential reformation of US historical writing and methods.

          1. JTMcPhee

            Thanks for that, my memory is not what it was. Yes, Bancroft and others than the Beards.

          2. AbateMagicThinking but Not Money

            Swamp Yankee – the Red Scare:

            I recently listened to a BBC Reith lecture held in Norther Ireland about war and it mentioned the union movement and their anti-war stance. What struck me about is that perhaps the main thing about the Red scare was not property rights but a threat to the adventurist elements of the war-machine. I write that because I believe that the main driver of legitimacy is military daring-do*. Take away opportunities for A-class legitimacy and you severely limit the possibilities for those who will never join the technocracy**, but who might get a shot at the Presidency in the way that Eisenhower did and MacArthur threatened to do.


            * The U.S. is not alone in this if you conclude that Stalin’s legitimacy was threatened in the 1930’s by old Bolshevik revolutionaries in the Soviet government (whom he liquidated). In the present Trump seems to think that having generals around him will help bolster his fragile legitimacy.

            **Despite the fact that military ventures are ever more technocratic.

      2. Arizona Slim

        He didn’t wander into the primaries. He was registered as a Democrat and ran as one.

        1. JTMcPhee

          But millions are convinced he is at best a crank and at worst a traitor, to something or other, for Gods sake…

    4. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      You know who’s a moderate Democrat these days? It’s a Democrat who wants to get to universal healthcare by degrees, and someone who wants to get to free college a couple of years at a time.

      It’s certainly not a person who thinks it impolite to point out that the creeping oligarchy in this country is a threat to its most basic values.

      There are 2 related issues here:

      1. Basic income or free services the little people can use – like free universal health care, and free pension, etc.

      2. Creeping oligarchy

      For the latter, more people should talk more often about breaking up big corporations

  2. michael

    Charles Pierce is one of the best political writers, in both form and content, active today. Thomas Frank is another. Charles Pierce occasionally turns up on MSNBC, not so Frank.

    Thomas Frank has a new book out, so does Sean Spicer. Guess who’s book was mentioned on Chris Hayes’ show last night? As long as people like Frank are excluded from the debate on where the democratic party needs to go things will not get better.

    A democratic house may be elected later this year, and a democratic president in two, but if they continue the policies that lost them the election in ’16 we will get another republican president soon after.
    And, if you look at the deterioration in quality and character of the last few republican presidents, the next one could be far, far, worse than what the US is suffering under now.

    1. perpetualWAR

      Many of us suffered far more under Obama than the current administration. Trump has yet to allow the theft of 18 million American homes.

      1. Wyoming

        While Obama may have overseen the meltdown and the failed clean up it is wildly inaccurate to imply that he was responsible for the foreclosure crisis. And saying it is wildly inaccurate is being very kind.

        Conservative neoliberal policies – implemented in a fully bipartisan way by our Republican Republicans and our Republican Democrats are what caused the suffering.

        Stockholm syndrome?

        1. Big River Bandido

          Horsefeathers. Obama took office during one of the worst economic crises in American history, a crisis spurred on by the very economic policies he and his party supported for a generation. On every critical front (stimulus, protecting homeowners, punishing financial crimes), his response to the financial crisis was absolutely underwhelming. Predictably, it failed to rectify the damage. That’s what his donors wanted.

          As President with a historic opportunity to deliver reform — reform which he specifically promised in his campaign, and deliberately failed to deliver — Obama most certainly *is* responsible for the foreclosure crisis. Every bit as much as Bush, and Clinton.

          1. Wyoming

            The op was implying responsibility to Obama. Not so. Even your description does not show he was responsible for the situation. He just followed through on the bailout his handlers in the oligopoly expected. The same thing would have happened if we had had a Republican president.

            The Republicans were equally complicit with the Democrats in creating the situation which caused the problem. To deny this is crazy.

            That Obama was a huge disappointment is not the issue. Every president over the last 40 years has been a huge disappointment – including the present one.

            1. pretzelattack

              he let the banks continue to cheat, which they did. of course he bore responsibility. and a republican president who did likewise would likewise have borne responsibility, just as obama bore responsibility for continuing and expanding the wars.

            2. ewmayer

              Wyoming: “The same thing would have happened if we had had a Republican president.”

              You sure about that? After all, despite his massive and manifold douchebaggeries, W. Bush was the president when Enron collapsed and his justice department actually went after the perps, hard.

              1. Wyoming

                Yup I am sure. Enron and the entire banking/financial system are not even close to being equivalents. So such a comparison does not even make the apples and oranges category.

                To have had a president decide to let the bankrupt banks and financial companies actually die as they naturally would have due to their mistakes – and as our ‘theoretical’ capitalist free market system would dictate – would have resulted in a complete collapse of the world economy. As they say around here: Na Ga Happen. Great depression #2 and maybe much worse was avoided.

                So they fix it anyway they can. And damn the consequences of how many little people they hurt. Punishment? Those people OWN them and their retirement payouts when they leave office would also have been lost.

                Do I think that every senior executive of all of those entities should have spent the rest of his/her life in prison, had all their possessions taken away, put their wifes and children out on the street…damn straight. I would have done such in a heart beat. But would I even dream that any senior politician would even contemplate such things? Not a snowballs chance in hell.

        2. JerryDenim

          You might want to search the Naked Capitalism archives. Try searching MERS, title fraud, allonges, HAMP, runway foam, and 50 State Attorney General settlement.

          He was at the helm for the entirety of the foreclosure crisis, so if even if you believe he did nothing to aide and abet foreclosure fraud, he certainly did nothing to stop it.

        3. Plenue

          The bailout started under Bush. But the decision to not bailout Main Street, to not break up the banks, and to not prosecute a single executive, those are all on Obama. In fact going by Matt Taibbi’s reporting, Obama’s ‘Justice’ Department actively colluded with banksters to lessen potential jail terms into fines.

        4. Lambert Strether

          > he was responsible for the foreclosure crisis

          He didn’t cause it but he sure as heck didn’t fix it, and that was his job/opportunity to do. Remember the HAMP “foam the runway” debacle?

          Or remember how the Justice Department tacked “robosigning” and jailed all those executieves for fraud? No, me neither.

        5. perpetualWAR

          Perhaps you fail to forget Obama said “The bankers did nothing illegal only immoral.” I did not forget, nor will I forgive.

          1. Procopius

            Funny, his words, as I remember them, were, “A lot of what they did was not illegal,” which sounded to me like admitting that some of what they did was illegal, but he decided sound policy required him to ignore it. Well, more important to me is what I’m going to have for supper this evening. There’s nothing I can do about those injustices except to watch for opportunities to help their enemies.

      2. TimmyB

        Moreover, when Trump imposes tariffs on foreign goods, he is seen to be helping US manufacturing. On the other hand, Obama signed job exporting trade agreements with a number of countries, including Columbia, where union organizers are regularly murdered.

        The point is Trump doesn’t have to do much to show he’s a better friend of the working class than Obama or many other Democrats. Calling people stupid for seeing through the Democrats, as Pierce does, isn’t going to elect more Democrats

        1. barefoot charley

          Agreed, TimmyB. Pierce is too partisan in his screaming points for the good ones to rise above his PUTIN!!!ing.

          Wyoming, it’s true Obama didn’t cause the foreclosure crisis. He vastly expanded it by permitting banksters to seize the homes of more than 10 million people with legal impunity, using transparently fraudulent contracts (eg “liar loans” and racist recruitment of subprime debtors) and obliterating chains of custody through their slicing and dicing of deeds into financial instruments. Obama could have protected homeowners, just as he could had punished bankster criminality. He didn’t.

        2. jrs

          so getting rid of laws that would have expanded overtime (a very direct, very concrete material benefit to the working class – as concrete and direct as it comes) doesn’t matter. But bizarre Trump trade policy that might somehow benefit them or might not does.

          1. Big River Bandido

            Timmy B. said: The point is Trump doesn’t have to do much to show he’s a better friend of the working class than Obama or many other Democrats

            Obama made fervent, specific campaign promises to support unions. Card check. “Soft shoes” to walk a picket line. And so on and so forth. Obama never once donned those soft shoes, never once intervened on the side of labor in a dispute, and cooly dropped card check before even bringing it up. It’s quite clear that like his “party”, he never cared a whit about working people — except on Election Day.

            Again, you can’t blame union members for not trusting Democrats. We have decades of experience with those clowns.

            1. Whoa Molly!


              Again, you can’t blame union members for not trusting Democrats. We have decades of experience with those clowns.

              A better word than clowns might be traitors. Or liars.

        3. kgw

          A better friend of the working class? Please tell me your definition of the working class…

      3. Arizona Slim

        Under Obama, I went from having a successful business to living in poverty.

        So, why was I supposed to vote for more of the same, aka Hillary Clinton? I voted for Bernie Sanders in the primary and Jill Stein in the general election.

        As for Trump, I’m no fan of the man or his policies. But I am noticing that my personal economy is doing a lot better.

        1. Wukchumni

          I would say that my life hasn’t changed 1 iota in regards to anything the reign of error has done, from a personal economy standpoint…

          …it’s merely everything else that changed greatly

        2. Wyoming

          It is the norm for voters to vote their pocketbook. Understandable.

          But what one’s individual pocketbook is doing seldom has much to do with what is best for the country as a whole. Trump sees risk to reelection by losing farm votes due to his tariffs so he buys votes with more ag policy welfare. Time honored tactic. Might help him but it will screw the rest of us.

          That the working class has been totally stiffed in my life time by all and everyone who has been in power regardless of party or ideology tells the story to me. That is why I don’t support any mainstream Democrat (they are just moderate Republicans) and no Republicans at all. Trump, to me at least, does not fall into either of those categories above in any case. Just what he is we will probably never know. But anyone who thinks he cares a whit about any working class person is pretty lost in my opinion. He will do anything to get a vote (which is pretty normal for politicians – but is he a politician?). He will tell lies well beyond what any elected official who has existed in my lifetime would do. And will resort to triggering hatred with the best haters ever seen in this country. The risk of unintended consequences related to Trump I would think would scare anyone who thought about it to death. But ymmv.

          1. Lambert Strether

            > risk of unintended consequences related to Trump

            No TPP. No war with Russia.

            I’m not sure 2018 is a “change vs more of the same” election at all, because liberal Democrats have so little to offer. If it’s an “Are things as bad as they told me they would be?” election, supposing the personal economy aspect to be dominant, the Republicans may do better than we think.

    2. Mark Gisleson

      I have trouble with Pierce’s Russia coverage but to his credit, he is very funny.

      Water problems this morning. New to town I’m living in and am having trouble finding a local plumber. More as a joke than anything I posted to Twitter:


      A minute later Pierce posted a video clip of Richard Nixon with a note: “This guy has a few to spare.”

    3. Plenue

      “As long as people like Frank are excluded from the debate on where the democratic party needs to go things will not get better.”

      People who say these things are excluded *because* they dare to say them. There’s nothing Thomas Frank says that hasn’t been being said for decades out on the left. But he’s right out of the liberal, technocratic heart of the ‘respectable’ university establishment. His daring to make these critiques is why no one in the US, with the occasional exception of Harper’s, will publish him anymore.

      1. JTMcPhee

        Because he clearly is a Comsymp traitor… what other kind of person would say the stuff he does?

  3. PlutoniumKun

    Democracies More Prone to Start Wars – Except When They’re Not Caltech (Dr Kevin). So much for the myth of pacific democracies…

    Without wishing to shoehorn issues, I think this research gives one indication of why the British government has mishandled Brexit so badly.

    “If an elected leader makes a threat during a conflict with another country and the threat isn’t followed through, they may face a decrease in approval ratings, or they may lose an election,” says Gibilisco, assistant professor of political science. In democracies, he notes, voters can punish their leaders for appearing weak—these punishments or consequences are known as “audience costs” in political science parlance. To avoid those costs, leaders in representative governments become more aggressive during disputes.

    A government entirely obsessed with public opinion is rarely in a position to make good strategic decisions.

    If I was to shoehorn more, its why I think Trump is much more likely to start a stupid war than Xi or Putin…

    1. Scott

      I wonder where the assumption that democracies are peaceful began. The whole idea seems to be ahistoric to me. The Italian Maritime republics were constantly warring with each other and pushing for crusades in the Holy Land. The Ancient Greek polis did not seem much better, and the best way to the top of the political structure in Rome was to be a victorious general. Although these examples, even Athens, are not viewed as especially democratic by modern standards, the city states were all more or less led by politicians who were more responsive the people than dictators or kings.

      1. pretzelattack

        seems like i started reading that trope in the early 90’s. maybe it went along with “the end of history”, popular at the time. oddly, though, history didn’t end.

      2. AbateMagicThinking but Not Money

        Scott & the democratic peace myth:

        It is all part of the exceptionalist myth. Look at us; we are not savages as we give the appearance of bowing to public opinion no matter how enginineered or wrong it may be.


      3. Procopius

        It’s a good question. I remember in Science Fiction, back in the ’50s, there was a school of thought that because entities evolve to higher levels of spirituality any advanced races we encounter as we move out into the Universe will surely be pacifistic and benign. I always thought the other side had the better argument. Since intelligence is most likely to arise among predator species, and since predators are territorial and aggressive, if we meet advanced races among the stars they are more likely to treat us the way we treated the peoples we found in the Americas.

    1. Wyoming

      There is something to this way of speaking about weapons.

      I know that I have different ‘feelings’ about the weapons I have carried which had been ‘used’ for their intended purpose as opposed to ones which had never seen purposeful use.

      It is sort of like you can trust them – like you have more trust in someone you have fought alongside. You feel comfortable when they are in your hands as there is a certain surety to them which ones you are not intimately familiar with don’t have. They have fulfilled their promise in a way I guess. I have some antique weapons handed down in the family and one revolver from the 1800’s has three notches carved in its handle – in western mythology that is supposed to mean that it was used to kill 3 people. I always feel different when I pick it up.

      1. JTMcPhee

        I loved my M-16, serial number 148786. Knowing that it was not as lovingly reliable a friend as the AK-47s carried by the other guys…

        And I do like my Ruger Mini-14, fires the same cartridge with a more reliable action.

        “If the Army had wanted you to have an AK-47, you would have been issued an AK-47.” The same was said, by sergeants, of “a conscience,” “morals,” and other things…

        Interestingly, the serial number of the engine of the MGB I bought with my GI pay for delivery when I got back to the states was GHN4U 148788. It was a great-running well-made “Wednesday car,” built by MG workers who had sobered up from the previous weekend and not started drinking for the next one yet. Though one of them left a “message in a bottle” in the form of an empty Guinness Stout bottle and a Daily Mail section that had been used to wrap fish and chips…The clunk in the driver door panel drove me nuts until I opened it up to find those bits…

        1. Procopius

          I have read that the reason for the burdensome need to clean the M-16 so meticulously (which they ended up improving by chrome plating the chamber) was that a DoD civilian in the procurement division rejected the manufacturer’s recommended propellant and insisted on using one that caused the fouling. I have not succeeded in finding this person’s identity, if the story is true, but would like to. I believe it is true.

  4. PlutoniumKun

    Oligarchy and the Death of Worlds Ian Welsh (furzy)

    Iam Welsh is always worth a read, but I would take slight issue with this division of the Oligarchs:

    There are, at a global level, two “mainstream” forms of hegemonic politics, each with their own oligarchical backing. One of these is the Clintonian-Merkelist-Obamist-Sorosian politics that is a confluence of at least overt social-liberalism and a variety of economic neoliberalism. The other one is a Trumpian-Putinian-Bannonite-Orbánist instrumentalization of parochial nationalism. The former represents an oligarchic politics, democratically unrestrained trans-national capitalism, that has the potential to do great harm to the world if left unchecked. The latter represents a con game that starts out with cotton candy for the True People and eventually ends up with states under the control of local and not-so-local looters who instrumentalize nationalist conflict for crony enrichment — this too, is oligarchy.

    His second form of oligarchy is also transnational – just in a different way from the neoliberals. We can see this in the Ultra Brexiters who are English nationalists with a hatred of transnational institutions (except the entirely undemocratic ones, such as the TPP), but they are also in favour of freewheeling capital. I think its more precise to say that the first type of Oligarch appreciates the benefit of international rules and regulations, even if in the short term they are constraining, while the second rejects any sort of constraint, apart from the ‘might is right’ constraint.

    But this, I think, is right on the button:

    What seems to be the case, however, is that some people on the left of the spectrum, who nevertheless have understandable reasons to object to the neoliberal hegemony, have a tendency to lean, in a functional sense, to the side of revanchist nationalism. And this form of nationalism gains increasing power (due to the known failures of the major alternative), it seems tempting to make it out to be the real alternative, or at least the only one that will break the grey monotony of neoliberal choicelessness.

    I see a few ways to understand this in terms of desired outcomes. One is that only when the Clinton-Merkel-Soros-Whatever worldview is defeated, will space be returned once again to better, hegemonic left-wing progressive politics. Precisely how this is to proceed when the entire world is under the control of nationalist autocracies, I am not entirely sure. Another is that only the revanchist nationalists have the means to save the world already, because only revanchist nationalists can make peace with other revanchist nationalists, due to ideological affinity. The problem is that is that everyone now has to live under nationalist autocracies.

    I think a big hole in the lefts ideological analysis of how the world works is in reconciling nationalism with international co-operation between like minded people. ‘Internationalist’ socialists have left us with progressives saddled with open borders policies which undermine working people. But purely nationalist progressivism ignores the essential need for working people, the oppressed, etc., to work together in a coherent way to make everyones lives better. We need international structures that improve peoples lives, not ones based on corporate or military needs.

    1. DanB

      A clarification: The post is not by Ian, but by “Mandos”, an occasional contributor to Ian’s site.

    2. Olga

      I do read Welsh at times, but agree that his division of oligarchs is just too simplistic (kinda tendentious, actually). Lumping DT, VVP, and Orban into one link makes no sense, as it does not account for the vast differences between their countries.
      The rest of the article is not much better. Take this: “What seems to be the case, however, is that some people on the left of the spectrum, who nevertheless have understandable reasons to object to the neoliberal hegemony, have a tendency to lean, in a functional sense, to the side of revanchist nationalism.” How, prey tell, did we get from nationalism to “revanchist” nationalism? Those are two very different concepts. Not all nationalism is revanchist (as that term is better suited to Nazis (maybe to some in Hungary, too, to the extent they want to reverse the Trianon treaty – but it is a small minority)), but certainly not Russia. And how did we got to the whole world under a revanchist nationalism? The author does not say…
      Building up an imaginary boogie-man does not make for an incisive analysis.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        I agree that its wrong to essentially mix ‘nationalism’ and ‘revanchist nationalism’, whatever that means. I think there is a strong tendency on parts of the traditional left to associate nationalism with all things negative. But there are certainly left wing movements in Europe, such as Sinn Fein in Ireland and Podemos in Spain who try to promote a more positive progressive nationalism (which is my own personal stance), although their ideology isn’t always coherent I think.

      2. Swamp Yankee

        This is Mandos, though! Not Welsh himself. Welsh I like much better. Mandos makes me somewhat cross.

    3. Wyoming

      I have big problems with both the Mandos post and yours and have started and deleted 3 responses so far. So here goes I guess.

      First it seems pretty clear that all of the existing categories of oligopolistic ruling groups are wholly neoliberal at the foundational level.

      Second there are a lot more than two forms of hegemonic politics. There are many forms or a range of forms. If we are to categorize them into two main forms as Mandos tries to do then he has missed the boat. A more reasonable two mainstream forms (if we have to do that) are the conservative Democrats in the form of Clinton/Obama/etc (or moderate Republicans to be accurate) and the Bush/Reagan/Ryan/McConnell group (or the conservative Republicans). The group consisting of Trump/Orban/Bannon is much smaller and less influential – though their power and influence is certainly growing. I do not think it reasonable to try and put Putin (or Xi) in this group as that seems to be buying into what appears to be mostly propaganda about what those two are up to, when a look at their actual policies and practices would put them in some other category of their own perhaps. The oligopolistic tendencies of the ultra wealthy and powerful are pretty much universal but there are a range of approaches and reasoning behind all of this which is heavily based upon where the individual wealth concentration is based. Different wealth generating mechanisms are often in conflict with each other and this will generate somewhat different governing positions by their advocates who are trying to maximise their pot of gold over yours.

      I find the use of the term progressive by many to have wildly different meanings. Since it was used so heavily in the late 1800’s by such as Teddy Roosevelt it can mean something very different to a student of political history than to someone who today considers themselves a Progressive on the far left of the political spectrum. They are birds of a different feather.

      I also find the idea of creating international structures designed to improve the lives of the mass of the population sort of a utopian idea. We live in a world which is in the process of winding down from a civilizational peak. In such a world we will not be adding such complexities to the system as that kind of action normally can only be accomplished when civilization is in a growing phase when there are spare resources. We are in decline so that is very unlikely to be in the cards. The rise of nationalism and populism is a symptom of our decline which is, of course, being heavily manipulated by the likes of Trump/Orban to achieve their oligopolistic interests – never waste the opportunities generated by a crisis.

      1. kgw

        A common mistake ;-] In the midst of death, there is life. A notion of a defined self is a serious cangue…

        I also find the idea of creating international structures designed to improve the lives of the mass of the population sort of a utopian idea. We live in a world which is in the process of winding down from a civilizational peak. In such a world we will not be adding such complexities to the system as that kind of action normally can only be accomplished when civilization is in a growing phase when there are spare resources

        1. Jeremy Grimm

          The word “cangue” — THANKS! I added that to the collection I keep of new — new to me — interesting, and useful words . [Also reminds me of scenes in some Saturday movies from when I was kid.]

    4. Lambert Strether

      > ‘Internationalist’ socialists have left us with progressives saddled with open borders policies which undermine working people. But purely nationalist progressivism ignores the essential need for working people, the oppressed, etc., to work together in a coherent way to make everyones lives better. We need international structures that improve peoples lives, not ones based on corporate or military needs.

      Well stated.

      1. polecat

        Who’s ‘international structures’ ?? .. Brussels ? Paris ? Berlin ? London (Gods forbid !)
        China ? Moscow ? (shush) .. Jerusalem ?

        There will never be ‘standards’ on such a planetary scale .. humans are too tribal, and the distances (both in the mind, and geographically) are too vast ..
        And lets not forget …. people always cheat !
        So I would posit that, in the years ahead, the World will become large again, and standards will be relegated to regional localities. Resource and energy constraints will see to that !

        1. Lambert Strether

          If it is true that the nation state system leads inevitably to labor arbitrage, than an international working class — supposing there to one day be one — will obviously need “international structures” as a countervailing force, to defend its interests. I don’t think this is hard, as a concept. Nobody knows what such entities would look like, although they probably wouldn’t look like ISDS.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            The nation state system did not lead inevitably to labor arbitrage. Free Traderites worked their way into authority and then deliberately engineered the Free Trade Labor Arbitrage system in order to get the permission for Labor Arbitrage which the nation state system was not going to inevitably give them

            If I am wrong about that, then why did Clinton ( for example) have to work so hard and so deceitfully with his Free Traderite Democrats and the Republicans in order to get NAFTA passed? For example?

        2. ChrisPacific

          Standards on a planetary scale already exist. Examples include the Geneva conventions and the slavery convention. Things like assessment and enforcement can be a challenge, and they aren’t uniformly followed by all, but there is sufficient consensus on them that there are typically significant diplomatic and political costs associated with not doing so.

    5. JerryDenim

      Commendable analysis. I regularly find myself wrestling with these same dilemmas lately and questioning my gut reactions every time I see a well-respected supposedly liberal someone from the ‘Clintonian-Merkelist-Obamist-Sorosian’ axis heaping scorn upon Trump for adopting some semi-sensible populist policy that would have been perfectly at home inside the administration of an old-school FDR Democrat. The deeply-seated, anti-establishment and contrarian lefty in me wants to root for Trump in these instances, but is that wrong? Trump’s more awful ideas are the ones his Clintonian-Merkelist-Obamist-Sorosian detractors embrace with the most glee. I also find it hard to feel much solidarity with the new progressive left and it’s legions of overly educated, knowledge-economy millennials who cheer for anti-worker open borders policies while sneering at out of work “rednecks” and “racists” in the heartland.

      Strange times. Strange idealogical bedfellows these days. The old labels don’t make much sense any more.

  5. PlutoniumKun

    China’s debt threat: time to rein in the spending boom Martin Wolf, Financial Times. Important (and Google the headline…). Does not distinguish “currency issuer” debts from other indebtedness, but otherwise informative.

    There was the start of a discussion on this yesterday in Water Cooler. It is indeed very important. A financial crisis in China could dwarf all other issues in the world. While its probably true to say that China’s financial system is not tied in closely enough to the worlds system to make a crash there systemic, there are all sorts of potential indirect impacts. Not least, a crashing China may well have powerful deflationary impacts in many sectors. The other ‘unsaid’ is that a China in trouble will always turn in on itself, and fall back on nationalism, which is bad news for Taiwan, among other neighbours.

    Having said that, China bears have been consistently wrong for 2 decades or more. The Chinese economy has consistently defied economic gravity for a long time. This may be because the CCP has gotten everything right. Or it might just be that they’ve been using cheap credit to put off the day of dread, and the crash will get worse the longer it is postponed. Certainly Michael Pettis, one of the best commentators on Chinas economy, believes (and he is by no means a bear).

    1. Summer

      “The other ‘unsaid’ is that a China in trouble will always turn in on itself, and fall back on nationalism, which is bad news for Taiwan, among other neighbours.”

      If China (Chinese one party govt) is in trouble, turning their attention to over 1 billion people at their doorstep probably is more “we gotta do what we gotta do to survive” than nationalism.

      1. PlutoniumKun

        Thats not what I mean. There is a very strongly aggressive nationalist/militarist strain in Chinese thinking which is reflected often in open contempt for its weaker immediate neighbours. Most close Chinese observers that I know of who follow these things closely think that a CCP in trouble will tap into this by provoking a war if needed on its borders. Taiwan is the most obvious target, but the Vietnamese are pretty nervous about this too (not least because China has done it before, in 1979).

        1. Summer

          How is that new or news?
          They have over 1 billion people to satiate now and huge populations in comparison to the rest of the world in the past. They maintained power over that many people by being agressive.
          Like any country with populations in the hundreds of millions.

          Think of it as over 1 billion family members to feed. Americans should be able to relate to doing whatever to others to feed your family.

        2. ObjectiveFunction

          I would respectfully challenge the premise of an “aggressive nationalist/militarist strain in Chinese thinking”. Chinese are generally wired for commerce, not conquest, except when the barbarians are invading the homeland (or MacArthur is on the Yalu).

          Taiwan is long understood by all parties to be an internal matter, among Chinese. They will resolve it in their own way once it becomes advantageous, and almost certainly not via invasion. Killing fellow Han scores the regime no brownie points at home, even in hard economic times, unless foreign devils are dumb enough to base troops there.

          For their colonies, Tibet, Xinjiang and where they can, Central Asia: China’s interest is in securing a dominant economic interest, and excluding competitors where it can. There is no lebensraum, no drang nach Osten, and no more teeming hordes of land hungry peasants to colonize the harsh (though mineral rich) steppes and roof of the world

          Even their South China sea outposting is a low tech opportunistic bullying of far weaker neighbors. The eventual exploitation of these zones is fully expected be negotiated as needed, and not wrested from the blue-eyed devils by the Sons of Heaven in some Tsushima grand fleet action.

          Chinese interests seem entirely rational and calculating, if just as callous, greedy and unsustainable as Western expansion in the 19th century. As good Marxists, it seems they have taken Dependensia theory on board as a playbook.

          Orange Julius seems to be taking the last powder keg, Korea, off the table. (Which if it succeeds will mean the short fingered vulgarian has done more for world peace than the Boomer globalist patron saint, JFK).

          In sum, I could certainly be wrong but I am just not seeing the seeds of World War 3 here, not the cultural or material inclination, nor the gut level hunger or hatreds needed to spark it. (Unless China makes a grab for Siberia but the Russians seem content to sell them what they need, so what’s the point?)

          One gwailo’s view fwiw, from the fringes of the Middle Kingdom….

        3. Massinissa

          If China is ‘wired for conflict’, why did they have so many tributaries that they largely left completely alone for centuries at a time?

    2. John k

      Yuan must be higher, maybe much higher, for trade to balance. Trump knows this.
      Yuan falling now is not a good sign if trade war is to be avoided.
      Or, Import duty must be higher the lower the yuan goes. Duty shifts profit from exporter to us gov… profit turns to loss, market knows this, echina quities already moving to more appropriate level. Market moves can be rapid…Equities already too high, so fall harder.
      China gov already printing to mitigate, how far will they have to go to avoid big recession? MMT says no limit except resources, and reduced exports means surplus labor…
      In US labor surplus can decline, but some high flying tech depends on long supply chains. Apple comes to mind. Dunno about Tesla…

  6. Summer

    Re: Where Guns Go to Be Reincarnated New York Times (furzy). Since when do guns have souls?

    Is near where AI goes to be reincarnated?

    Re: Facebook and housing

    First paragraph…and agreement with Washington State. 49 more to go?
    Housing discrimination is a state’s rights issue for Facebook.
    I guess job discrimination would be okay to be left as a a state’s rights issue for internet sites as well.

  7. Summer

    Re: GM ride sharing

    Hey, maybe those aren’t homeless people on the streets. They just have their residences on AirBnB and their cars out for ride sharing.
    They’ll soon have enough money for two cars and two homes.

      1. pretzelattack

        luxuriously appointed 2 bed suite with a/c and radio when the motor is running.

    1. Arizona Slim

      Ever watch pelicans come in for a landing? It’s hilarious. They’re very graceful fliers, but when they hit the water, well, crash landing is putting it politely.

  8. FreeMarketApologist

    Re: Former Equifax employee pleads guilty to insider trading

    “…anyone sophisticated enough to do this kind of hack would presumably also be capable of doing the requisite options trades using suitably anonymized accounts….”

    Given the anti-money laundering and know-your-customer (KYC) rules that brokerages are subject to, there’s really no such thing as an anonymized account. The SEC has been quite aggressive on insider trading, and their surveillance systems to detect options and securities trades that are in suspicious proximity to market moving events is quite sophisticated. I read lots of the SEC charges against individuals in these cases, and I’m struck by a few things:
    a) The SEC’s ability to root out suspicious activity is impressive,
    b) For the risk, the amount people are making off these trades isn’t very impressive,
    c) The accounts that contain the insider trades are usually only 1 degree of separation away from the insider or person creating the market moving event. When the SEC comes calling, the account holders typically readily admit to being a participant (or claim complete ignorance if it’s an account that was jointly held).

    1. ewmayer

      Thanks, FMA – when I made my surmise in fwding the link to Yves, in the back of my mind was the question, “it’s such an obvious scam opportunity, why hasn’t it been tried at scale?” Your reply may well contain the answer to the question.

  9. bwilli123

    That sinking feeling (On Brexit)

    …”On a macro scale: Airports and the main container freight ports for goods entering the UK will shut down on day 1. There will be panic buying. I expect widespread rioting throughout the UK and sectarian violence in Northern Ireland (contra public received wisdom, NI is never quiet and this summer has been bad.)
    A currency crisis means that goods (notably food) entering the UK will spike in price, even without punitive trade tariffs.
    There will be mass lay-offs at manufacturing plants that have cross border supply chains, which means most of them. “…

    1. oh

      Thanks you for the link. This is a comprehensive article showing the corruption of most entities by the DOD. It is a sick situation.

  10. Livius Drusus

    Re: The Left Should Commandeer Red State Democratic Parties,

    This is a tough one. For all of the talk about Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, she won in a low-turnout primary in a district that went through demographic change (going from white ethnic to minority-majority and heavily Hispanic) against a complacent incumbent who was also an old white guy. A lot of people on the Left don’t want to acknowledge the identity aspect of Ocasio-Cortez’s win. I honestly think a regular “Clintonite” Latina with a similarly strong campaign could have also beaten Crowley.

    From what I understand Ocasio-Cortez won younger, well-educated whites and minorities, your basic urban liberal “hourglass” coalition that seems to be the only way the Left can win nowadays. Jeremy Corbyn’s coalition was similar. This is a good recipe for winning in urban areas but probably not in suburban and rural areas.

    Still, even if you think Ocasio-Cortez won entirely due to her platform it is still a win in a deep blue district. Moderate and conservative Democrats are still winning in Trump country. For example, Joe Manchin beat Paula Jean Swearengin. I think the Left has to be careful when trying to win in red states.

    The Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez formula probably won’t work unless you confine yourself to college towns and minority-majority districts. That doesn’t mean it is a bad formula, it is just not one that will work everywhere. For example, I doubt open borders ideology and “abolish ICE” will go over well in red states.

    Immigration is an issue that is going to seriously fracture the Left and may even prevent Sanders from winning the primary in 2020 if he chooses to run. I can see his comments about open borders being a Koch brothers idea hurting him now that both establishment Democrats and many on the Left seem to be embracing open borders and mass immigration. You can extend this to other issues like tariffs and globalization that have become dominated by a race narrative as opposed to a class narrative.

    1. John k

      Opioid epidemic in purple rural flyover. If it were me I’d want m4a.
      Universal appeal wherever most don’t have employer provided quality healthcare, and Corp neolib policies have been eliminating that benefit because profits. Same with 15/hr.
      Farm states have very few on the farms.

    2. tommy strange

      I thought it was already fact, that actually she got a big majority of young white people.

    3. Todde

      On the one hand they keep saying that the ‘flyover’ states are full of angry white racist.

      On the other hand they say that socialist policies like keeping grandma alive and not ot being economically forced to eat dog food isnt the strategy that wins elections, its open borders and gay wedding cakes that are winning issues.

      The memes seem to contradict each other

    4. Arizona Slim

      Bernie has a point about open borders being a Koch Brothers idea.

      ISTR reading that, during the Bush years, there were all sorts of immigration raids on American companies. Well, one day the authorities rolled up on a Koch factory which, I think, was in Ohio.


      After that, the American company raids came to a screeching halt.

      Correct me if I’m wrong. My memory isn’t perfect on this particular issue.

        1. HotFlash

          From the linked story:

          Koch Foods is not affiliated with Wichita, Kansas,-based Koch Industries, the largest private company in the United States, a Koch Industries spokeswoman said.

          Sorry to hear that.

    5. Big River Bandido

      This reads like standard DLC/Third Way concern trolling.

      I grew up in one of the regions you write off as “Trump country”, and I’ve lived in NY-14 for 11 years. Neither place place fits the political assumptions you ascribe to them. (As two small examples, the district hasn’t been “white” for 40 years and Democrat politics here aren’t anything remotely like your characterization.)

      It sounds to me like you have no experience in either place.

      1. Lambert Strether

        Read the article. He’s saying that the left can take over the Party in rural areas exactly because the liberal Democrats have left party organizations in those areas to wither. That’s not Third Way thinking in the slightest degree.

        1. Big River Bandido

          I wasn’t responding to the article itself, but to Livius Drusus’ comment on it (8:55 AM). I ran into some ghosts on the site today which were making keyboard input really slow and delayed, and making my comment postings vanish or show up 90 minutes later… So I may have posted this reply to an incorrect thread.

          I agree with Studebaker’s point about party and electoral mechanics. There are lots of successful historical precedents for the “empty shell” strategy — salvaging what’s left of a junked machine is good, common, political sense. Even if it only gives you a general election ballot line and a few voter contacts, that’s still a huge advantage compared to insurgents who are trying to push aside established, corrupt, urban political machines. Putting authentic values out in the open gives a candidate a fair chance to build a constituency and state a clear case.

    6. HotFlash

      Richard Ojeda seems to be cutting quite a swathe running for Congress in West Virginia. He does not look even *remotely* like AOC, but he’s making connections with his home people. Dusted off the primary, now working on winning the general. The AOC ‘formula’ may not work everywhere, but local issues, the “Progressive Platform”, eg, Medicare for all, free college, $15 per hour, money out of politics, together with, as Richard says, ‘boots on the ground’ will do.

      1. Lambert Strether

        > the “Progressive Platform”, eg, Medicare for all, free college, $15 per hour, money out of politics, together with, as Richard says, ‘boots on the ground’ will do.*


        Though I hate the term “progressive,” because liberals decided to adopt it after conservatives managed to turn “liberal” into something next door to a cuss word. “Left” has the right semantics, but the cultural baggage is bad (“sinister” and so on). But I don’t know what the right — that is, the correct — term should be, and I’ve thought about it a lot.

        NOTE * Sounds like the makings of a pretty good international platform, though some countries already have the “Medicare for All” (or equivalent) box checked off

    7. Richard

      I love the idea of focusing on “red state”, unrepresented, rotten borough citizens. Having just returned from a visit to the homewaters of Idaho, I can say a couple things with more certainty than a few weeks ago:
      1) A lot of people are suffering. Right to Work all power to the boss workplaces, ridiculous health care premiums, overbearing moral policing. And they almost have no words for it, it’s so damn sad to see, because there is no one representing their situation and it is worse than invisible. It is all their fault. Any problems come from some personal moral failing. They are told that and breath it in from day 1. No one has ever represented them. Well, in my lifetime, anyway.
      2) Suspicion and distrust are among the first things left organizers will encounter. Duh, I guess. But this is just to say, folks are pretty well “Stockholmed” in Idaho, just as they are everywhere, but even more so due to patterns of isolation. They will not be ready to believe that government can help them, because it has “proven” over the last 40 years that it effing won’t ever, and because their Repub leadership class won’t ever shut up about how it can’t ever.
      I want to take this instance to plug Walter Karp again, one of the great US political writers, especially acute on the collusive nature of the 2 party system, which produces rotten boroughs like all of Idaho politics.

  11. Olga

    No Matter What You Think Of Julian Assange, It Would Be Harmful For Press Freedoms For The US To Prosecute For Publishing Leaks TechDirt
    There is an ominous hint on this front: a recent story about UK suddenly not objecting to the extradition of a couple of ISIS guys on the basis that US has the death penalty. Normally, UK would take that into account and if there were a possibility of a death penalty, it’d would not extradite. The policy seems to have been changed now, without much explanation. My first thought was whether this was in preparation for JA’s extradition proceeding. Or, I may be just paranoid … (but of course, just because you’re paranoid ….).

  12. The Rev Kev

    “The View’s Meghan McCain Throws Epic Fit Over Democratic Socialism”

    So to satisfy my curiosity, I looked up who Meghan McCain is after watching her bellicose performance when being called out on her bluster. Wikipedia confirmed who she was and what she is all about. I guess that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Does her whole family hate average Americans?

    1. RUKidding

      Ah lucky you that you didn’t know who Megan McCain was until now. Such bliss!

      Does her whole family hate average Americans?

      Shorter A: Yes.

      1. Arizona Slim

        Slim checking in from Tucson.

        John McCain married into one of the wealthiest families in Arizona, the Hensleys. They’re in the beverage distribution business. Link:

        I’ve never done business with them, but I do know that they have the nicest looking delivery fleet in Tucson. All new vans, very well kept.

    2. nippersdad

      This is a group that has more houses than they can remember owning and wonders who would take a job for fifty thousand dollars. It isn’t that they hate average Americans so much as they have never met any that weren’t driving them around.

    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      It is too bad the other panelists didn’t say to McCain something like . . . ” You poor little conservative snowflake. Were you triggered? Do you need to go to your safe space?”

  13. Louis Fyne

    –Humans have used a year’s worth of Earth’s resources in just seven months—

    A (arguably) very selfish, cynical reason to stop transnational migration: every new migrant to the first world, especially the USA, expands the world’s resources footprint.

    i’m not advancing this argument as obviously it’s a Hobson’s Choice type of situation. at least here this argument can be gingerly mentioned and no one will try to smear me as a bigot.

    1. cnchal

      Any doubt that a jail cell sized room full plutocrats consume more resources than millions of peasants?

      1. Louis Fyne

        youre preaching to the choir, friend.

        very few things nauseate me more than the Gulfstream globe-trotting 1%ers lecturing me about carbon footprints.

        Hey Leo DiCaprio, you’re welcome for coffee any time at my home in January. Bring a sweater, the thermostat’s going to only be at 65.

        Unless you’re in the South of France, then i’ll understand

      2. jrs

        yea, I mean I don’t doubt that they consume more than 3rd world substance farmers or something, poor countries consume less, but I don’t know if they consume more than the average American.

    2. DanB

      Thanks for bringing this up. It adds a much needed limits to growth dimension to the issue.

  14. Wukchumni

    It’s the end of our biannual beach family get together, and we were up on one of the outdoor patios in the nice by the shore hotel ($25 valet parking per day if you drive in), and across the train tracks 100 yards away and under a bridge were 7 guests-all with no reservations, nor expectation of points for their stay, however long it might be.

    I’d never seen the divide between the haves and the haves not, so close as this.

    They say you can never go home again, and seeing as mom sold our childhood home 3 years ago, it’s a definite truism. That said, it was very much like going home again with my 3 siblings, in that it was a ride of passage to go to the beach if you lived in SoCal in the 60’s and 70’s, and we’d go about every other weekend for the day, stopping @ Knott’s Berry Farm on the way for takeout fried chicken, en route to Huntington Beach, where we all learned to body surf. There were no boogie boards in those days and we weren’t that committed as to get surf boards, so body surfing it was.

    Timing is everything, and my young nephews & niece were raised on boogie boards, which gives you a much better chance of catching a wave compared to using your length as an ad hoc board.

    For a glorious time bobbing in the water yesterday, my mind wandered and we were all kids again, as one of my sisters and I caught a beauty of a wave and rode it in together.

  15. Carolinian

    This is interesting

    Democratic explanations for Trump’s resiliency encompass several factors: the strength of the economy; his voters’ tendency to discount negative press coverage as a product of the “fake news media”; and the visceral connection he enjoys with his base, partly because of his willingness to press cultural hot buttons relating to race, immigration and related issues.

    Since Trump’s recent bump in the polls followed his meeting with North Korea’s Kim perhaps there could be another explanation: the voters actually like it when Trump makes peaceful gestures toward so called “adversaries.” Time to dial back on the gaslighting?

        1. Lord Koos

          Me too, but when I tell liberal friends that talking is preferable to a cold war they lose it.

    1. JohnnyGL

      Interesting article….so many pundits…..not a word about policy!!!

      It’s really becoming screamingly obvious how out of touch most of them seem to be.

  16. Summer

    Uber self-driving cars back on public roads, but in manual mode TechCrunch. So why are they being called self driving cars in the headline if they are not allowed to do that? They are at best “former self driving cars”.

    The cars might not be self-driving, but the propaganda surely is.

  17. Wandering Mind

    This Is What’s Actually Happening When The Government Auctions Bonds

    I think this was still a bit confusing about the actual mechanics of bond sales. I think that the way the “expert” presented things creates a chicken and egg problem.

    He first correctly points out that primary dealers are obligated to bid at the treasury auctions, guaranteeing that all bonds will be sold.

    But I think that his explanation for the source of the funds for the purchase is too fuzzy.

    The Treasury is required to offer bonds for sale in exchange for dollars.

    If we were starting from $0 dollars in the economy, then under the current structure the central bank has to first create the dollars which will then be paid for the bonds.

    The central bank is not allowed to purchase bonds directly from the treasury at issue, which is why there is the primary dealer system. So as I understand it, there needs to be a way for the central bank to “lend” the new dollars needed to purchase the bonds to the primary dealers, who then buy the bonds.

    The dollars “lent” to the primary dealers (directly or indirectly) then wind up in the Treasury’s account at the Fed.

    Those dollars are then spent in the way authorized by Congress, which is how they wind up in the hands of private actors.

    Those private actors put those funds into banks. The banks use the funds to buy the treasuries which are now in the hands of the primary dealers.

    I.e. the Treasury can’t add new money to the economy until after the bonds are sold.

    If that is the case, then I have a few questions:

    What type of collateral do the borrowers from the central bank give in exchange for the loans which the central bank gives in connection with bond sales?

    What is the source of that collateral?

    Are the loans which the Fed makes to finance the bonds made directly to the primary dealers or indirectly to member banks who then lend it on to the primary dealers?

    1. DanB

      I thought the obvious questions to ask are, “Why does a government with a sovereign currency need to auction bonds? Cui bono?” This government can simply spend money into the economy, keeping in mind the caveats about where it’s spent, the limitations set by the natural resource base, current industrial capacity, and so forth.

    2. djrichard

      Is the suggestion that the monetary base has to be increased for the new bond issuance? I don’t think of it that way. Rather my fundamental assumption is that deficit spending by the Fed Gov does not increase the monetary base. Instead it’s draining the economy of excess currency already extant. And there’s more than enough excess currency sloshing around, currency that’s been hoovered up by the banks, buffets and bi-lateral trading partners in the world. Am I being too simplistic on this? Because it feeds my simplistic sense for how rates are set in general: it’s the volume of that excess currency that’s in play vs demand for debt at various durations that sets the yield curve.

      That said, do the primary dealers always have excess currency to bridge the time between when they procure a bond and then sell it into secondary markets? Maybe not, but then maybe they just get bridge loans?

      Though this doesn’t speak to “day 0” – isn’t there some origination story on that (like a super hero out of nothing) :-)?

      1. Synoia

        Please read MMT.

        Bonds are just interest bearing accounts at the Fed.
        Money is a non-interest bearing accounts at the Fed.

        1. todde

          there’s nothing that dj said that contradicts your statement.

          Excess ‘non interest bearing instruments’ are exchanged for ‘interest bearing’ instruments.

          The question is ‘does that increase the monetary base’?

          That answer depends on who you talk to.

  18. The Rev Kev

    “‘Like a Soviet-type economy’: GOP free traders unload on Trump”

    Those GOP free traders are aware, aren’t they, that if they throw those farmers to the wolves due to a change in government policy, that those farmers may vote against the GOP in both the midterms and the 2020 election. And this is about only $12 billion in aid? That is only pocket change in Washington. This is like sawing off the limb that they are sitting on.

    1. RUKidding

      Yes and no.

      It’s unlikely that most of those farmers would ever, ever, ever vote Big D, although maybe a small subset would.

      I wager, however, that the bulk of the $12billion in aid will be neatly shifted to BigAg, not Mom & Pop. I have absolutely no proof of this. It’s my speculation. Time will tell.

      1. Carolinian

        Also those farmers–or BigAg–get quite a lot of government subsidy already. Will they bite the Republican hand that feeds them?

        There’s worry in my region since we have BMW’s only North American assembly plant and it is both an exporter of cars and an importer of parts and materials. But people in the recent Republican primary who opposed Trump were defeated. The most recent poll shows Trump with the highest approval among Republicans since Bush after 9/11. So far the “base” seems to be sticking.

      2. Mike Mc

        Wife inherited half of a 400 acre farm in Illinois’ Corn Belt a few years ago. Yup; 100% commodity corn and soybeans.

        Trying to visit them in early August, will report back anything of interest to NC. It represents quite a bit of our ‘estate’ such as it is, and between the farmer’s eventual retirement (anywhere from 10 years on to if he drops dead tomorrow) and our own, we are quite interested in everything ag now.

        Irony is that we are urban Nebraskans where the ag economy – despite Warren Buffett, Mutual of Omaha and Union Pacific – is still king, so EVERYONE is involved whether they know it or not.

    2. nippersdad

      I found that Trump tweet very interesting in conjunction with those GOP “free traders.” They don’t seem to realize on a granular level just how subsidized our agricultural sector really is. If they were to get what they appear to be asking for, it would be the last time they ever won an election in one of our flyover agricultural states. Not really surprising insofar as they have spent the past thirty years threatening their other large demographic, the elderly and their SS and Medicare benefits.

      At some point it would be fun to see what happens were the dog to actually catch its’ car. The inevitable reaction might be more gratifying and timely than the incremental “progress” promised by the Dems.

  19. Summer

    Re: Left / Red States

    As often pointed out, “the left” and the Democratic Party aren’t the same thing.
    But working from the framing of the MSM, I pulled up something interesting about a particular red state: Oklahoma (site of one of the teacher’s strikes). It’s from a news station (On6) site back in 2015.

    “Registered Republicans Outnumber Democrats In Oklahoma
    Posted: Jan 15, 2015 4:15PM CST
    Registered Republicans outnumber Democrats in Oklahoma for the first time in state history according to official annual voter registration statistics released by the Oklahoma State Election Board.

    According to a news release, the board counts the state’s official voter registration statistics every year on January 15. This year’s count showed 2,030,277 registered voters. Republicans accounted for 43.6 percent of them while Democrats made up 43.5 percent. Independents were 12….”

    Talk about missing in action Democrats. They had up until 2015 to correct that…

    1. DorothyT

      From Reuters today:

      It was unclear what caused the fire, which spread rapidly through the community. But some suggested that the sheer force of winds, thick pine, fire and panic was a deadly combination making even the most well-executed evacuation plan futile.

    2. DorothyT

      Climate change and Greece (WWF)

      Greece has yet to plan a national strategy for climate change adaptation, even though it is situated in one of the most susceptible parts of the Mediterranean. For Greece, adaptation is a necessity – not a luxury. Our country’s dependence on the natural environment is too great to be ignored even under the current conditions of economic crisis.

      … Global warming will bring on even greater pressures for our country. A UN study has shown that Greece and the entire Mediterranean basin are among the 18 hot-spots of the planet, which will be facing the gravest problems caused by the intensified climate change.

  20. Alex morfesis

    Verge farcebot article on settling state of Washington investigations on discriminatory housing ads veers into an illusion often repeated of some purported right to discrimination in certain advertising…

    Section 6 of the enforcement act of 1870 is rather straight forward that it is a federal felony to deny any black person any right, opportunity or privilege available to any white person…

    Not that there is any us attorney who will take their time away from their busy schedule using the office to climb into another career and help their school, church and golf buddies avoid any serious time in club fed…

    “What…help the darkeez ?…
    How is that going to sit with the contributors to my exploratory Senate election committee ?”

    1. HotFlash

      “We have already notified Canadian researchers who are conducting a similar study. In any case, they have temporarily stopped their research.”


  21. Mel

    Strange, has sometimes been failing to serve the right-hand sidebar, with the list of recent comments. Not failing consistently.

    1. HotFlash

      Same here (FireFox on Linux Mint 18). I have been finding it under the lowest Comment box sometimes.

      1. Mel

        Ah! FIrefox+Debian Linux here too. I never thought of looking further down, which would suggest a Firefox problem. Thanks.

      1. Mel

        Particular times, not particular posts, as far as I can see. I’d like to pin it on the advertisers, but I have no evidence.

      2. tegnost

        I had it happen once yesterday but everything loaded when I refreshed, browsing on firefox…

      3. integer

        I noticed it, but only on the “Reader Coping Strategies for Engaging With Committed Liberals” post.

    1. The Rev Kev

      Yuk! Started to read more and found that there is an effort to relabel those in Flint as being ‘exposed’ to lead rather than ‘poisoned’. I would guess that the Grey Lady is doing her part in this campaign. Being ‘exposed’ is when you find yourself living in a house that you discover has lead paint. Being ‘poisoned’ is when your city stops using a good water supply and uses one polluted with chemicals and metals bad enough that industries are finding their machinery being damaged while using this water supply. This just to save a buck. Did Hernán Gómez and Kim Dietrich ever have to drink Flint water? Probably they just use bottled water at work but it would be interesting to see if they would be willing to volunteer for a clinical trial use of that water over the course of say a year.

  22. Jason Boxman

    From The Left Should Commandeer Red State Democratic Parties:

    Without the Democratic Party, American politics stopped being an arena for ensuring that our economic needs are met. Instead, the entire political debate became about the culture war, about social conservatism’s battle with social liberalism.

    That succinctly sums it up. The economic welfare of the working class hasn’t been a political question probably in my entire lifetime.

  23. Wukchumni

    NPS has closed Yosemite Valley due to smoke from the encroaching Ferguson wildfire, and as it’s prime time for visitation, more than likely Sequoia-Kings Canyon NP will pick up some of it’s considerable slack. Seeing as Yosemite gets 4 million visitors a year and 2 million here @ SEKI, it could get rather busy around these parts.

  24. John Merryman.

    I am a big fan of nc, but I don’t get this mmt that seems to be the gospel around here. Issuing countries just can’t print up whatever they need. It’s been done before. It’s called hyper inflation, when people start to lose faith in its value. What we need to recognize is that money functions as a voucher system, but we all want to hold onto it, rather than keeping it circulating, so it is easy to just add more, without the actual production to back it up.
    It’s a medium, not a store. Like in your body, blood is the medium and fat is the store. Or for cars, roads are the medium and parking lots are the store. We have to learn to store value in tangible assets, like healthy communities and environments, not just issue a bunch of soon to be worthless promises. Not to mention they usually end up in the hands of those with the most already, since the underlying corruption isn’t going away, just because there is more money.

    1. Todde

      And the problem with raising taxes to combat inflation is that a tax increaae is a hard sell when prices are inflationary

    2. djrichard

      The central bank knows how to solve inflation. Inflation (at least the variety that matters to the working class) shows up when the working class starts feeling its oats and gets not only wage gains, but starts to borrow more money due to having confidence in wages going forward. I would argue that it’s the extra money injected into the economy through private borrowing that’s the primary “fountainhead” for inflation for the working class. If the working class can in turn index their wages to inflation in the cost of their goods, well then they’re got it made – they can create spiraling inflation by new plateaus in wages providing new plateaus in increased borrowing. This is what the Fed Reserve was seeing in the 70s when the US had spiraling inflation. And this is why the Federal Reserve pulled the rug out from underneath the working class. It was particularly targeted at putting an end to the working class’s ability to borrow money, by taking the punch bowl away (i.e. inverting the yield curve). And ever since then, whenever the working class gets comfortable and starts going crazy with borrowing, the Fed Reserve is at the ready to pull the rug out from underneath them: witness the pop of the dot com bubble and the housing bubble in particular. Except in both of those cases it’s not like the working class was participating so much as it was the white collar class.

      I would argue that the hyper-inflation that’s being seen in Venezuela (VZ) is a combination of the above: spiraling wage inflation combined with excessive borrowing by the working class in particular. I’m guessing that that’s why their M3 monetary base has increased so much since 2016: . And in the case of VZ, their federal gov has been a contributor to the spiraling wage inflation, not only be being an employer of last resort but primarily through wage controls. And I’m guessing in the case of VZ that their central bank has been hamstrung by their federal gov in taking the punch bowl away with respect to private borrowing:
      – the central bank of VZ has been nationalized by the federal gov of Venezuela, which makes it easier to control policy over private borrowing.
      – the federal gov of VZ has a vested interest in not seeing debt deflation in the private sector as they had (still have?) policies of enabling cheap private debt as a way for citizens, to get them into homes.

      The above is true regardless of whether a Fed Gov floats a federal deficit or not. The Fed Gov could have no federal deficit, and spiraling inflation could still be an issue. We were almost to that point during the Bill Clinton era: he was running no yearly budget deficit for a good while and that didn’t prevent the party happening to cause the dot com bubble. Though like I said, the working class wasn’t really invited to that party. Probably one could argue that that party in the dot com bubble is what was helping Bill Clinton to avoid running a deficit as the “party” was generating increased taxes to offset the spending.

      Vice versa, the Fed Gov can float a deficit and the economy can have no inflation. Just like what we’re seeing now. Depends on who is doing the partying. And it’s definitely not the working class and to-date the white collar class has been on the sidelines too. That said, the white collar class does seem to be feeling its oats. “Come on into the water”, the Federal Reserve says, “the water is fine”.

      1. Synoia

        Inflation is not driven by discretionary working class spending, because they can stop spending at any time.

        Inflation is drive by fuel and food cost increases, because neither is discretionary. Food inflation is drive by drought and fuel costs.

        That’s what cause the inflation in the .70s. Tripling the cost of crude. That and the end of spending fiat currency on the Vietnam war, with no economic wind down plan. No plan because the concept of a fiat currency was no widespread.

      2. todde

        There is a lot of money overseas that will come home when the Feds increase the interest rates. That is what Volcker discovered when he tamed inflation. It isn’t as easy as it sounds, and I will take longer than you think.

        However, soon after Volcker prescribed the monetary cures for inflation, the Social Security tax was raised on workers. An example of taxes being used to curtail inflation.

        And developing a cheap labor base offshore also helped ‘cure’ inflation

      3. John Merryman.

        Given the higher interest rates slowed the economy and reduced the need for money, how much was inflation really cured by government debt pulling excess money out and spending it in ways that supported the private sector, without competing with it, such as military?
        It seems to me the real function of the debt hasn’t so much been what to spend it on, but the borrowing is storing lots of money.
        Then when they can’t run it up any further, disaster capitalism comes home to roost and we start paying tolls to hedge funds to use the roads.

        1. djrichard

          Let me start from the last statement and go backwards.

          Disaster capitalism coming home to roost. I guess I think of disaster capitalism as rooted in “never let a good crisis go to waste”. See the double whammy on Puerto Rico for instance: they went into bankruptcy around the same time they got hit by the hurricane. You just knew players won’t going to let that slip by. So now they get a double whammy: a crowding out the gov sector by the private sector, and an opportunity to simply inflict austerity on the population there.

          Another good crisis, albeit a fake crisis, is the debt ceiling. It’s used by both sides, the dems and the GOP, to play a game of chicken to see who’ll blink first. Usually for GOTV strategies. But having that lurking in the background, part of the national consciousness, can be used for campaigns for privatization in the mean time. Per your point: toll booths.

          However that said, there won’t be a real crisis related to the deficit, e.g. where the bond buyers revolt in buying more Fed Gov bonds. That’s the point of that podcast with Joe Wiesenthal that was linked in the links above (bloomberg link). If this was more generally understood, then constituencies like Puerto Rico, Detroit, etc, wouldn’t be left out to hang dry when they get hit by a crisis. The Fed Gov would know that it has no excuse, that it’s not hamstrung by the deficit, and therefore should act for the best interests of those constituencies.

          Where you said borrowing is storing lots of money, you’re actually not far off. But reverse it around. It’s a store of wealth for the bond buyers. Instead of hoarding currency, we relieve them of their currency and they hoard treasuries instead. It’s a nice win/win and it’s a virtuous cycle. This virtuous cycle is mentioned in that bloomberg podcast too.

          Regarding military spending, it’s a conduit to stimulate the economy just like all Fed Gov spending. Even more so when it puts money into the hands of the common man (the solider), but there’s a lot of money that skips the common man. In any case, it can be viewed as a make work program (not itself crowding out the private sector to your point, but competing for workers all the same), which would be stimulative of inflation just like a job guarantee would. If I understand Synoia’s point further above, I think he’s arguing that this was unwound after the Vietnam war ended, which would be disinflationary.

          Regarding government debt pulling excess money out, it’s pulling money out of hands that have nothing better to spend that money on. Some on NC call that dead money. Bottom line, it’s not money that’s contributing to inflation. In contrast to when the Fed Gov uses taxes to make up the difference in spending, well then that is almost always pulling it out of hands that would prefer to spend that money on something besides treasuries. See for instance todde’s comment above on soc security doubling, which I wasn’t aware of.

          Lastly, I’m not sure I would say that the higher interest rates reduced the need for money. What they did was reduce the demand for private debt – they created a bout of deflation until the Fed Reserve put the punch bowl back in place which didn’t happen until about a year after Reagan was inaugurated. There was still a need for money (in particular to pay bills and to pay debts) and ideally the Fed Gov should have engaged in increased spending during the downturn to make up the difference. I don’t know if the Fed Gov actually did that in the early 80s. Though Reagan certainly turned on the spigot once he was in power. But by then labor was on its back – globalization and trade deficits started kicking into gear right about the same time. Partying at the Fed Reserve’s punch bowl no longer included labor.

    3. kareninca

      The reason I don’t understand how it it would work is because I keep looking at where I live, Silicon Valley. It is really, truly the case that the more wages go up here, the more housing costs go up. You could give everyone a much higher wage and it would just raise rental/purchase costs that much more, since people are competing for a limited resource. In fact that is what is happening; wages keep going up here and housing costs keep going up here What we need are more houses. And what we need around the country is more medical care, and more drug treatment programs, and more good quality food for people. and so on. I just don’t see how having more money sloshing about does anything but drive up the cost of those things. But if we had more actual houses, costs would go down.

  25. Wukchumni

    An interesting admission from Cohen, perhaps in regards to the reign of error?

    Everybody knows that you really do
    Everybody knows that you’ve been faithful
    Ah, give or take a night or two
    Everybody knows you’ve been discreet
    But there were so many people you just had to meet
    Without your clothes
    And everybody knows

  26. Jim Haygood

    Flake-nomics comes a cropper — General Motors is down 6.5% at midday after it said steel and aluminum tariffs will cost it a billion dollars this year. Weakness in developing country currencies is also darkening GM’s outlook.

    Next time the Orange Flake offers to “help” your business, the best thing you can do is run like hell.

    1. Synoia

      Ah, GM, that so called “domestic” automobile company.

      Is it true that all cars qualify as “imports?” If so was that little snipped of information omitted by accident?

      What does that say about “domestic” manufacturing jobs?

      I have an acquaintance who is building a new piston ring factory. In Mexico, to be a local supplier in Mexico.

  27. Plenue

    >Graphic Novel in Running for Man Booker Prize for First Time New York Times

    ‘“Sabrina” is the story of a murder in Colorado, but focuses on the internet rumors and conspiracy theories that emerge around it and the impact on those left behind. “It’s an unnerving mystery told by a rigorous moralist, a profoundly American nightmare set squarely in the first year of the Trump presidency,” wrote Ed Park in The New York Times Book Review. “It’s a shattering work of art.”’

    Ah, of course. They deign to give the medium attention when it’s something set in the ‘Age of Trump’.

    ‘The Guardian said that reading the novel “is an experience akin to watching a movie. It’s as if the lights have gone down: absorbed and gripped, the skin prickles.”’

    I got that experience from Akira. And that started in 1982.

    1. Massinissa

      At first I was like, “Oh, graphic novels are great, why is this under kill me now?” and then I read that passage that you just reprinted here and was like, “Oh. Kill Me Now.”

  28. Jean

    Montana tax policy, I suspect it’s about the lobbyists more than the non-profits.

    OILPAC hidden donors is good.

    AIPAC hidden donors is good.

    ARPAC, well, that would be treasonous!

  29. Odysseus

    UserFriendly: “​Jesus no wonder neoliberals love EITC, 1 in 5 eligible don’t claim it.​”

    That’s not limited to the EITC.

    Retirement Savings Contributions Credit

    A Compendium of Findings About American Workers – Full Survey Results

    Awareness of Saver’s Credit and Catch-Up Contributions. The Internal Revenue Service offers two meaningful incentives to save for retirement which many workers are unaware of, including: the Saver’s Credit, a tax credit for low- to moderate-income workers who save for retirement in a qualified retirement plan or IRA; and Catch-Up Contributions, which allow workers age 50 and older to contribute to a qualified plan an additional amount over and above the plan- or IRA-contribution limit. Only 30 percent of all workers are aware of the Saver’s Credit. Only 50 percent of workers are aware of Catch-Up Contributions. Raising awareness of these incentives may prompt workers to save more.

  30. susan the other

    Bloomberg on bond issues: It was good MMT until the last few minutes where things usually fall apart. At the “inflation” level of analysis. Paul Craig Roberts has claimed that his supply side enthusiasm was to curb demand inflation and it would have worked if US corporations had not offshored all the jobs, decimating the economy. So it’s not just demand/spending inflation; it is also profit demand inflation. Which comes first? Interest rates go up, costs go up, labor is cut back, and consumption demand is slowed. But profit demand never goes back down. If it did then deductive models of the economy might work. They don’t work because the demand for profits never adjusts. And each time profits take off they do indeed inflate the dollar. Labor pays. Taxpayers pay. Now we are faced with the dire threat of prices crashing. So the Fed is putting the stock market on QE life support. And all because of the irrational fear of demand inflation. If, however, money were spent by the government wisely on the things society needs it would never cause this dreaded scourge and the dollar would not be threatened because the economy could certainly “absorb” a healthier economy, equalizing the benefits of our peculiar “capitalist” system without forcing overproduction, overgrowth, and foolishly encouraged frivolous overspending. That’s where the discussion always falls apart – whenever anything but a simplistic deductive model of the economy is suggested. That’s the big no-no. Sanity is frowned upon.

  31. knowbuddhau

    Ima just leave this here.

    Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers

    The work has some profound implications. “The most exciting thing for us is the possible connection with the arrow of time,” says Thompson, first author on the work. “If causal asymmetry is only found in classical models, it suggests our perception of cause and effect, and thus time, can emerge from enforcing a classical explanation on events in a fundamentally quantum world,” she says.

  32. John Beech

    I vote Republican and thought Behar’s McCain takedown was impressive. I voted for Trump (really more against Hillary), but had Senator Sanders been the nominee, I’d have cast my first vote for a Democrat since 1976. But who knows; maybe Bernie gets a chance in 2020 . . . and if he’s the Dem’s candidate I’ll give him a try. Can’t be any worse. Not that I’m unhappy with what DJT is doing, per se. I think he’s been brilliant with North Korea, and I very much approve of talk-talk with the Russians, and if he gets us a square deal on tariffs, then good on him. Only thing I’m unhappy with is the big ass tax cut for the top earners. And note, I am self-employed (and by the grace of God, luck, and hard work a tax payer, e.g. a wagon puller) so I’m pretty much against my own self-interest in this regard but jeez, surely we can do better than we’re doing.

Comments are closed.