2:00PM Water Cooler 8/13/2018

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“Negotiators from the U.S. and Mexico are entering their fourth week of resumed NAFTA talks as they push to wrap up the remaining bilateral issues – namely the automotive rules of origin, which have been one of the biggest sticking points in the renegotiation. But while Mexican Economy Secretary Ildefonso Guajardo has repeatedly said their teams are ‘making a lot of advancements,’ the talks haven’t progressed far enough along to invite Canada’s team back to the negotiating table” [Politico].



“Seth Moulton Is Building A Political Army. But He’s Not Sure What Comes Next.” [Lissandra Villa, Buzzword]. “The House Democrat, only in his second term, has carved out a unique brand for himself that sets him apart from a lot of his House colleagues. What he’s perhaps best known for is consistently breathing fire on his own Democratic leadership…. Moulton’s Serve America PAC has endorsed dozens of candidates, mostly veterans, in races across the United States, including politically influential states like Iowa and New Hampshire.” • Swell. Just what the Democrat Party needs. More militarization. What a steaming load from Villa. Check this out: “‘I think [Moulton] really represents that new generation of leadership that’s stepping up to approach politics in a different way,’ said Jason Crow, a Colorado Democrat who is running against Republican Rep. Mike Coffman this year. Crow, who campaigned with Moulton throughout the district this week (and also has DCCC backing), argued that Moulton is ‘leading the way’ in changing ‘the entire culture of politics in Washington.'” • A DCCC-backed candidate is running to change the culture in Washington? Really? If you read the whole thing, you’ll note there’s nothing on policy at all. Crow, as we might expect, opposes #MedicareForAll. Whenever you hear a candidate blather on about their working class values, ask what universal concrete material benefits they’re offering the working class, and you’ll have an index for how far they’ve left their roots behind.

“Evan McMullin at Register’s Soapbox: American values under threat” [Des Moines Register]. “American values and institutions are under threat, said Evan McMullin, a former Central Intelligence Agency operations officer who ran as an independent candidate for president during the 2016 election cycle.” • A spy-humper for President. How nice.

“Eric Swalwell has visited Iowa 10 times in last year and a half. Is he running for president?” [Mercury-News]. Politicos in the Hawkeye State, which holds the first presidential nominating caucuses in the nation, say Swalwell has spent more time there over the last year and a half than nearly any other potential Democratic presidential candidate… His frequent trips come as he’s skyrocketed from obscurity to a measure of political fame over the last two years, thanks to his role on the House Intelligence Committee during its investigation into Russian election interference.” • Oh good. Another spy-humper!


“Democratic National Committee Backtracks On Its Ban Of Fossil Fuel Donations” [HuffPo]. “The DNC’s new resolution ‘reaffirms its unwavering and unconditional commitment to the workers, unions and forward-looking employers that power the American economy,’ according to the text. As such, it states that the DNC ‘will continue to welcome the longstanding and generous contributions of workers, including those in energy and related industries, who organize and donate to Democratic candidates individually or through their unions’ or employers’ political action committees.'” • Ka-ching.

“Candidates Tout Careers in Espionage” [Wall Street Journal]. “This year, Ms. Spanberger is one of a crop of House candidates, most of them Democrats, with deep experience in national security who have emerged as a force on the campaign trail, touting backgrounds in espionage, counterterrorism and foreign policy. The national Democratic Party considers Ms. Spanberger, Ms. Ortiz Jones, Ms. Slotkin, Ms. Soderberg and Andy Kim, who is running for a House seat in New Jersey, top-tier candidates in competitive races. All have been included in the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s “Red to Blue” program that lends resources and support to candidates with a serious chance to win.” • One can only wonder why the Democrat Party is so solicitous of the intelligence community, considering their many debacles. Oddly, or not, the WSJ doesn’t credit the WSWS, who broke the story.

More Brock trolls:

DE Senate: “Tom Carper isn’t unbeatable. Ask Joe Biden or Christine O’Donnell about Delaware politics” [Delaware Online (BobWhite)].

MN Governor: “U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison accused of domestic violence; he denies it” [Star Tribune]. “Monahan’s son, Austin Aslim Monahan, posted that he watched a video on his mother’s computer in which Ellison could be seen dragging Monahan off a bed as he screamed profanities at her. ‘This video does not exist because I never behaved in this way, and any characterization otherwise is false,’ Ellison’s statement read.” • Curious timing. Producing the video would solve the evidentiary problems.

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NY-21, NY-22: Alert reader PQ throws the following over the transom on NY-22, along with some linky goodness (below):

Trump is scheduled to visit Upstate New York tomorrow (Mon 8/13) in support of Stefanik in NY-21 and Tenney in NY-22. The event with Tenney is a fundraiser, with a minimum donation of $1,000 to get in the door. For $15,000, you get to sit at a special table and have your picture taken with Trump.

Resistance groups are having a field day with that info, of course. NY-22 is, for all practical purposes, flyover country. There are rumors flying that her campaign is offering discount tickets for $500 to attend her event in Utica, giving rise to speculation that she can’t fill a room at $1,000 a pop. This is coming from protest groups, but to their credit, a few of them did manage to find out where the event was going to be held before it was announced officially, so maybe they’ve got good sources. They’ve been working overtime to organize protests on short notice. FYI, I live in the backwater south in NY-22; NC community members in Utica and Syracuse may have a lot more info. Likewise, I’m not up on activities in NY-21.

Many of the people organizing the protests are actively campaigning for Tenney’s opponent, New York Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi. According to news reports, he’s ahead in fundraising. I’m starting to see signs here and there for him. None yet for Tenney.

NY-22: “OUR VIEW: Trump on the stump a moment in area history” [Observer-Dispatch]. “The president certainly can be considered major firepower for Tenney, R-New Hartford, who is being challenged in the 22nd Congressional District by Democrat Anthony Brindisi, a New York state assemblyman from Utica. The district includes all of Chenango, Cortland, Madison and Oneida counties, as well as parts of Broome, Herkimer, Oswego and Tioga counties. The majority of the district’s voters are from Broome and Oneida counties. Brindisi has scheduled a fundraiser of his own while Trump is in town, but it’s not so secret or expensive. It will be at 6 p.m. at Chesterfield Restaurant on Bleecker Street in East Utica, with tickets priced at $10 for a supporter, $50 for a sponsor and $150 for a co-host.” And: “The last sitting president to visit Utica was President Harry Truman, who stopped at Union Station during a “whistle-stop” train tour in summer 1948 and spoke to a large crowd.” • Big subtext in that last sentence.

NY-22: “Protests planned in Utica during Trump fundraiser with Tenney” [Syracuse.com]. “Indivisible Mohawk Valley is organizing what it calls an “epic protest” from 4 to 7 p.m. at Liberty Bell Park at LaFayette and Genesee streets in Utica, which is near at least two downtown hotels that could host Tenney’s event.” • I wonder what the Twitter will show.

NY-22: “Zogby: President Trump’s Utica visit ‘huge’ for Tenney campaign” [Observer-Dispatch]. “When Bobby Kennedy was in the Senate in the mid-1960s, he endorsed former Utica Mayor Dominick Assaro as well, [Utica pollster John Zogby] said. ‘He came in and endorsed a local reform candidate for mayor and that was really a big deal especially in a peak of the Kennedy days, or the post-assassination of Jack Kennedy,’ he said. ‘(Bobby Kennedy) was building a Democratic party base and a reform base for the statewide party and we had a reform movement here, led by (Assaro). … Those who remember will still say that the bullet that killed Bobby Kennedy killed the Asaro movement, as well. They were battling a political machine.'” • History doesn’t repeat….

* * *

OH-12: “Why the Ohio Special Election Won’t Tell Us Much About November” [Charles Cook, Cook Political Report]. “The fact is, we knew a year ago that the Republican majority in the House was in danger, we knew it a month ago, we know it today, and we will know it tomorrow, next week, and all the way up to Election Day. Special elections in odd years and early in election years can give us an indication of which way the wind is blowing and a rough idea of velocity, but once you get within 100 days or so of the general election, electoral dynamics are pretty much set. In modern history, we’ve never seen a directional change in the last three months of a midterm-election campaign. Waves can stay the same or increase in the closing months, but they don’t reverse direction or dissipate…. What would be the difference between a tight contest for control of the House and a big Democratic year is the makeup of the electorate this fall…. While young people are making a lot of noises about voting in big numbers and Trump’s numbers are worst among young people, historically you could go broke betting on younger voters showing up at the polls, particularly in midterm elections. In Obama’s two presidential elections young turnout was up a bit, but it was dismal in both 2010 and 2014, as well as in previous midterm elections.” • Now he tells us….

New Cold War

“FBI agent Peter Strzok has been fired: Washington Post” [MarketWatch]. “FBI Agent Peter Strzok, who helped lead the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election as well as into Hillary Clinton’s email server until his anti-Trump tweets were discovered, has been fired, The Washington Post reported, citing Strzok’s lawyer. His lawyer told the newspaper that the head of the FBI office that handles employee discipline had recommended a 60-day suspension and demotion but not a firing.” • Sending a message to worker bees everywhere. I don’t know how case assignments are handled at the FBI, but in retrospect, doesn’t putting Strzok on both these cases look a little odd?

The Liberal Democrats Have Lost Their Minds

Holy moly:

Siskind is a former Wall Street executive and head of “The New Agenda.” Maybe she missed the pre-Trump rallies because she was at brunch?

Realignment and Legitimacy

“So, How’s That Major-Party Election Madness Working for Us?” [Paul Street, TruthDig]. “The people’s movements we desperately need to form—perhaps it is my delusion that rank-and-file citizens can and will ever do so—should include in their list of demands the creation of a party and elections system that deserves passionate citizen engagement. The oligarchic system (beyond mere plutocracy) now in place in the U.S. is worthy of no such thing.” • A pitiless dissection. Street makes the often-forgotten point (using my phraseology) that liberal Democrats would have regarded Sanders’ election as just illegitimate as Trump’s — remember what they did to Sanders supporters on the DNC, if you don’t believe me — and would have deployed the exact same RussiaRussiaRussia hysteria against a Sanders administration. (The Democrat establishment also crippled Carter, back at the dawn of the neoliberal era.) The difference is that with Trump, liberals are fighting conservatives (except for the wealthy suburbanites and Bush administration hacks they want to flip). With Sanders, liberals would have joined with conservatives. Again, though, if you think of the Democrats as a crime syndicate that controls the ballot instead of a street-corner, is it really possible to defeat them without going onto their turf? Even if you control another street corner? I’m not so sure.

“Our loneliness epidemic is a political problem, too” [Salon]. “In their bracing and brilliant book, ‘A General Theory of Love,’ psychiatrists Thomas Lewis, Fari Amini, and Richard Lannon put America on the couch, and their diagnosis is rather grim. ‘A good deal of modern American culture,” they write, “is an extended experiment in the effects of depriving people of what they crave most.’ That which people most crave are the elements and effects of love — hospitality, community, solidarity — a general feeling of belonging and appreciation coupled with the exercise of moral agency for the benefit of other people. Thomas Aquinas defined love as ‘actively willing the good of the other.'” • Hard to achieve solidarity under such conditions. Harder left elements scoff at DSA social events, but I think DSA is onto something. More summer reading…

“D.C. officials, union criticize decision to use Metro to transport Jason Kessler and white supremacists to Unite the Right rally” [WaPo]. • Apparently, Kessler et al. didn’t get a private car, a proposal previously mooted by the WMTA. But they did get a police escort. I suppose if Heather Heyer had been given a police escort, she’d be alive today. So there you are.

“Wanting More Power, Public Employees Run for Office” [Governing]. “While state and local government employees have the power to change things, they are limited by the resources and rules set by elected officials. This truism is leading more of them to run for office…. Because 40 states have part-time legislatures, many public employees can keep their jobs if they win…. According to the American Federation of Teachers, about 300 of its members are running for elected office this year or next — almost three times the usual number.”

“New Poll: Majority of Americans Believe Race Relations Have Worsened Under President Trump” [Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball]. “Americans believe by 57% to 15% that race relations have become worse since President Trump’s election. By contrast, respondents were evenly divided about Barack Obama’s time in the White House, with 38% believing race relations improved and 37% saying they worsened.” • Retuers/IPSOS.

Stats Watch

No statistics of note today.

Capital Spending: “Combined U.S. & Canadian Industrial Spending Slides 27 Percent” [Industrial Reports]. “Research by Industrial Reports, Inc. shows combined U.S. and Canadian planned capital spending fell 27 percent in July compared to June with $36.04 billion in spending for the two nations. June’s planned investment showed $49.44 billion. The research organization reported 234 planned U.S. and Canadian projects in July. Planned U.S. project spending slipped 20 percent in July with $32.40 billion in planned investment compared to the June total of $40.54 billion. Canadian planned investment also sank from $8.90 billion in June to $3.64 billion in July. Projects in both nations ranged in value from $500,000 to $8 billion.” • From August 1, sorry I missed it. Bad news for a capitalist economy. Still, this is a very sporty index, with a lot of ups and downs, so I’m not filing it under “Honey for the Bears.” Note that “Texas was the U.S. leader in planned investment for the month,” so its not an oil thing.

Shipping: “Port Tracker points to import volume gains but is wary of tariff impact” [Logistics Management]. “Against the backdrop of increasing retail sales and an ongoing “pull forward” efforts by retailers to import goods in advance of new tariffs levied on products made in China, various import volume records continue to be set in 2018, according to the most recent edition of the Port Tracker report, which was released this week by the National Retail Federation (NRF) and maritime consultancy Hackett Associates…. While 2018 is expected to see import volume gains, Hackett cautioned that may not be the case, as he said there could be a downturn going into 2019, due to the trade war, coupled with an anticipated economic slowdown based on forward-looking indicators.”

Shipping: “The Trouble With Trucking” [Editorial Board, New York Times (DK)]. Here is the lead: “The economy is booming. The stock market is frothy. Corporations are earning record profits. Yet workers are getting minuscule raises that don’t make up for the rising cost of living. What gives?… • Followed by an enormous list of why trucking today is a screw-job except for the top echelon (that is, the drivers the Teamsters are trying to protect at UPS, while throwing everybody else under the bus with a two-tier contract). The closest the Times comes to answering their question — “Why?” — is buried in the middle: “[D]eregulation also took a toll on drivers by giving the industry a bigger financial incentive to lower costs and by weakening unions.” See, deregulation, like globalization, is an invisible magic force that… just happens. The Times poses another question at the end: “Imagine, however, that the government instead decided to use its prodding power to improve the lives and incomes of truck drivers.” • Yeah, imagine that. Why isn’t that happening? “I know! I know! [raises hand] Putin keeps wages low!”

Shipping: The meta (DK)! It b-u-r-r-r-n-s!!!!

Tech: “AP Exclusive: Google tracks your movements, like it or not” [Associated Press]. “An Associated Press investigation found that many Google services on Android devices and iPhones store your location data even if you’ve used a privacy setting that says it will prevent Google from doing so. Computer-science researchers at Princeton confirmed these findings at the AP’s request…. Google offers a more accurate description of how Location History actually works in a place you’d only see if you turn it off — a popup that appears when you ‘pause’ Location History on your Google account webpage . There the company notes that ‘some location data may be saved as part of your activity on other Google services, like Search and Maps.’ • So, Google engineers are getting free lunch and backrubs at their desks to create “dark patterns” that screw their users over. I’ve helpfully underlined the dark pattern in the quote: It’s called “Privacy Zuckering,” where “You are tricked into publicly sharing more information about yourself than you really intended to.” We’ve got the patterns documented, and we understand the engineering. Why not outlaw the practices as consumer fraud? With criminal penalties?

Tech: “25% of Known Computer Security Vulnerabilities Have No Fix” [247 Wall Street]. “In the first half of 2018, analysts at computer security firm Risk Based Security (RBS [and not the Royal Bank of Scotland, fortunately]) published 10,644 flaws in a computer system (known as vulnerabilities) that could be exploited by a hacker to take unauthorized actions within the system. Of the total number of vulnerabilities, there is no known solution for 25.6%…. RBS notes that flaws of this kind demonstrate the difficulties software vendors face in validating untrusted input from users. The moral of the story is that companies can’t be too careful.” • I’d say RBS was talking their book, except a doctor isn’t talking their book when they tell a patient what they have is incurable…

Tech: Business model:

I’m sure Apple doesn’t make its squillions by screwing users who invested in products with ports that were, unbeknownst to them, about to be made obsolete. But there’s something about the process and attitude that really frosts me, especially the 2015 removal of the MagSafe connector, without which my expensive machine is at risk if I trip over the power cord ([guffaw] “like that would ever happen”). Seems like the 2015 PowerBook is the last decent Mac laptop ever, and we should just hoard them. Readers?

The Bezzle: “Elon Musk Says Saudi Interest Sparked Effort to Take Tesla Private” [Industry Week]. “‘I left the July 31st meeting with no question that a deal with the Saudi sovereign fund could be closed, and that it was just a matter of getting the process moving,’ Musk wrote in the post. He said this is why he tweeted on Aug. 7 that he had ‘funding secured’ to take Tesla private at $420 a share.” • Would the SEC think that “funding secured” is something that happens when you leave a meeting saying the funding “could be closed”? Perhaps today’s SEC — where’s the insider trading, after all? And isn’t Saudi money famously dumb? Or are there nuances?

The Fed: “Goldman: “Price pressures seem to be everywhere except the inflation statistics” [Calculated Risk]. From the Goldman note: “Barring a sizeable rebound in capital formation or labor-force participation, capacity constraints are likely to become increasingly binding as the expansion continues. While the Fed may view further declines in the unemployment rate with some ambivalence, the implications of broadening labor shortages and product-market bottlenecks are more clear-cut, representing a textbook form of overheating that the Committee has historically taken great pains to avoid.”

Honey for the Bears: “The U.S. industrial sector is bursting at the seams. Suppliers are scrambling to keep up with demand for everything from engines to electronic components and some manufacturers are even idling production lines… as they cope with late deliveries and rising transportation and other costs. The strains at factories come as orders remain strong and hiring in the sector is on a roll. Yet a survey of U.S. manufacturers shows deliveries from suppliers have slowed for 22 consecutive months through July, with many reporting bottlenecks in their supply chains are crimping earnings and their ability to meet demand. The problems begin upstream in the supply chain, where suppliers to companies shed staff after the financial crisis. Some now are struggling to find workers* and remain hesitant to ramp up production because they worry a machinery-sector recovery is drawing to a close.” • I’ve helpfully underlined the material that pertains to “hysteresis” (see NC here). After hubris, nemesis. NOTE * I think what this means is that a lot of the “shed staff” lost their homes to foreclosure or died deaths of despair. So, yes, it would be hard to attract those workers back into the labor force. And I would bet those of the “shed staff” who survived have, well, trust issues.

Rapture Index: Closes unchanged [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 181.

Health Care

“Trump’s ‘Junk’ Short-Term Health Plans Banned in Connecticut” [Governing]. “The Connecticut Insurance Department has determined state law prohibits the sale of skimpy ‘short term’ plans that are being promoted by President Donald Trump as a cheaper alternative to Affordable Care Act coverage. ‘Connecticut already has the necessary statutory consumer protections in place to prohibit ‘junk plans’ ” Insurance Commissioner Katharine Wade said in a statement released Thursday.”

Class Warfare

“How smart cities will improve trucking and the supply chain” [FreightWaves]. “A smart city is a framework, largely composed of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), to develop, deploy and promote sustainable development practices to address growing urbanization challenges. For as complex as the topic of smart cities can be, a big part of the ICT framework is an intelligent network of connected objects and machines transmitting data using wireless technology and the cloud. Cloud-based IoT applications receive, analyze, and manage data in real time to help cities and the citizens who inhabit them, to make better decisions in the moment with the goal toward improving overall* quality of life.” • tl;dr: A highly insecure digital dystopia. NOTE * “Overall.” Averages conceal.

“Ralph Nader: Give Apple profits to ‘serfs,’ not shareholders” (interview) [247 Wall Street]. “[Apple] just announced earlier this year – a $100 billion stock buyback adding to previous stock buyback without asking the shareholders, institutional and individual, their opinion or even their approval. So the point I was making is it could’ve been used to increase employees. It could’ve been used to shore up the pension fund. It could’ve been used – 2 percent of it, Scott, to double the income of the serf laborers – 1.3 million Chinese laborers in the contractor that builds the iPhones. It could have had 2 percent of 100 billion to improve the recycling of used computers and phones, which are endangering both the environment and the workers. It could’ve been put in productive investment. It could’ve been put in research and development. It could’ve been sent to cash dividends back to the shareholder, but no.” • So the money is buying squillioanaires walled compounds in New Zealand. I don’t see an issue here.

News of The Wired

“Biting the Bucket with Ayahuasca” [Medium]. • Yikes. Not sure I want to be tripping and vomiting at the same time, but de gustibus

A Brief History of Milwaukee Avenue, Part 1: an Indian Trail Becomes Dinner Pail Avenue” [Chicago Patterns]. From 2016, but well worth a read on Chicago’s grid pattern, among other things. Then there’s this: “1890: The End of Tolls: a Mob Destroys Toll House and Gate….” And the toll house was not, in fact, rebuilt. A court ruled against it.

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

TH writes: “This was October in the Wasatch Mountain Range in Utah. I believe the golden leaves belong to Aspens.” A reminder that fall is not that far away.

A reader has asked whether the garden cat returned. I did in fact provide a status update (“just in time for dinner”, but buried in comments. So, not to overplay the cat card, but herewith:

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Big River Bandido

    Somehow the bold and Italics got activated not only for the post, but it’s affecting the comment box, too.

        1. Swamp Yankee

          I worked at a newspaper that covered the New England insurance industry about a dozen years ago. This was when the term “granular” — which I had known from undergraduate geology courses — began to be adopted by business flacks and hacks.

          The Liberty Mutual PR liar telling me about how “granular” (and “agile and muscular”!) their new ‘product’ (read: financial instrument) was a major bulls— tell, since she wasn’t talking about silt deposits or the formation of gravel pans.

          1. Carolinian

            I think Hillary was the one who was always using “muscular” to describe her future programs. She was the Charles Atlas of foreign policy.

  2. flora

    re: Curious timing. Producing the video would solve the evidentiary problems.

    Since when does the Dem estab need evidence? (russia, russia, russia)

  3. Carey

    I thought the Paul Street article at Truthdig was a very good electoral-politics overview.
    Thinking that there’s going to have to be another kind.

    And the photo of the cat is great; love the self-possession!

    1. Elizabeth Burton

      Mr. Street’s diatribe isn’t the only one of it’s kind I’ve read, and it makes the same mistakes all the others did and will likely continue to to. He assumes that just because progressive candidates are running as Democrats, the goal is to recover the party. I’m not saying there aren’t those who think that’s doable, but many if not most of us see them as just a useful tool because the first item on the agenda must be to break the Republican stranglehold on Congress.

      I don’t know what Bernie Sanders’ agenda is, but if he does plan to run in ’20 and wants a snowball’s chance, I still say he can’t afford to go full rebel. As someone pointed out, if the entire body of 40% of the voters who are independents could be depended on to get off their thumbs and vote, that might be feasible. Likewise if even two-thirds of the 60% eligible who also sit on their thumbs every election exercised their right.

      Won’t happen. Not this year. Not next year. Maybe in five years we can have enough fires lit a third party might be possible. Even then, it would have to fight tooth-and-nail to break the chains the two major parties have set up to make its existence all but impossible in many if not most states. I, for one, firmly believe that’s what DSA has in mind, and that fortunately it also has people in charge whose heads are firmly in reality. Hence, its support for candidates running as Democrats, And doing so fully aware there will be rabid pushback from the establishment.

      I have to say, this kind of article strikes me as anti-progressive. Which makes me wonder whose side the authors are really on. I saw the same thing coming from Brooks’s trolls in ’16 in their effort to convince people Bernie wasn’t a viable choice. So, now it’s Ms. Ocasio-Cortez who’s to be dismissed as having only won because the other guy slacked off, not because she worked her tail off.

      The other thing these articles overlook when pointing out how voters shunned progressives is that most of the winners had name recognition the newbies didn’t. Anyone who thinks the majority of voters will spend five minutes checking out the candidates’ policy platforms is delusional. Just like with every other popularity contest ever presented, they’ll vote for the name they recognize. It was precisely why Clinton did so well on Super Tuesday—people in most of those states didn’t have a clue who Bernie Sanders was, much less what he stands for.

      So, while it’s a nice takedown of everybody, Mr. Street’s piece isn’t useful for advancing the revolution. Indeed, it’s more likely to have the opposite effect presented to those who are still clinging to the fairy tales told by the media.

      And, yes, tuxedo cats are notoriously self-possessed. :-)

      1. Oregoncharles

        Bernie is the most popular politician in the country. If he ran as an independent or a Green, he would have an excellent chance because he could get a 3-way split. At that rate, someone can win with 34% of the vote. With the system blown apart, th eLibertarians would get more votes, too; maybe even less than 34%. He has the support to get on every single ballot – the barriers are unreasonable but could be overcome.

        If there’s a way to prevent massive cheating.

        At that rate, he could win or, more likely, it goes into a draw in the Electoral College. That would be, you might say, interesting. As in unprecedented.

      2. DonCoyote


        The facts in the Street piece are good, but the conclusions are questionable. I think people are ignoring what has already been revealed about Bernie Sanders:

        1) Decent, moral person (Or at least was. Is it too much of a stretch to infer that he is not in it “just to become president”, i.e. that he does not lust tremendously after power or lucre? Maybe).
        2) Clever, experienced politician. Remember that NYT times piece that they had to changed the headline, lest it come off as too positive? The original headline was “Bernie Sanders Scored Victories for Years Via Legislative Side Doors.” He knows how to get things done within the system. He knows there is a lot Obama could have done without congress (DOJ/antitrust). And, even if he got very little “done”, other than to fully expose the hypocrisy of most D’s, it might still count as a win.

        So I don’t think Bernie is “blindly” clinging to the Democrats at all. He has his reasons, and he may have reasons for not wanting to make them public.

    2. Jen

      I’m not sure it’s possible to overplay the cat card. Great picture! I do believe the cat knows, as most do, that s/he is all that.

  4. flora

    re: One can only wonder why the Democrat Party is so solicitous of the intelligence community, considering their many debacles.

    Maybe because the Intel Agencies receive over 68% of the US black budget; that is, money that is never formally accounted for. If the best way to rob a bank is to own one, as Bill Black wrote, maybe the best way to loot a govt is by pumping up unaccountable spending billions in the name of nat. sec. And the best way to do that would be electing people from same to approve budgets and things. (Maybe we could rename it the National Security ‘Foundation’. No one knows where the money goes. heh.

    From 2013:
    The CIA, NSA and National Reconnaissance Office (NRO) receive more than 68 percent of the black budget. The National Geospatial-Intelligence Program’s (NGP) budget has grown over 100 percent since 2004.


    1. g

      It’s a tough one for me too, I’ll watch how it evolves over the next few days and read the woman’s statement. It’s definitely important that we hold our favourite people to the same standards as we do for conservative figures.

    2. Mark Gisleson

      Pretty sure this is the woman Ellison left his wife of 25 years for. I read her bio. She works for the Sierra Club, teaches at the UM, does stuff for the Science Center and her previous work was similar. I’m pretty sure hooking up with a Congressman hasn’t hurt her ability to get gigs.

      There are innumerable MN business interests that have to be terrified of Ellison as AG. The timing is purely political, just enough time for everyone to hear, not enough time for any kind of rebuttal.

      Lots of surprises in MN this last week. None of them seem to be harming any Clinton-favored candidates (which would mostly be the same businesses threatened by Ellison). Hard to say who’s doing what to who, but dirty deeds have been done.

    3. Darthbobber

      Could be true, maybe, but where specific incidents are mentioned, the evidence that would presumably exist, since messages and other things which leave records at both ends are also mentioned, nothing is forthcoming. And a lot of the rest is couched in such general terms that it’s hard to make heads or tails of it.

      Anybody remember the jurisdiction shopping Jane doe rape case against Trump that vanished into thin air the day after the election?

      1. Aleric

        Not a big fan, still hold a small grudge for him being rude to our GP candidate in 2006. There were rumors of anger issues at that time, but he was always good in public. And he has mended bridges with GP officeholders since. The timing of this is way too convienient. There is no shortage of dirty trixters in the Mpls DFL. Unless the video shows up, my guess is an empty smear like Melvin Carter’s gun in the St. Paul mayoral race last year, or some unrelated audio of him yelling will turn up to keep the story around for one more news cycle.

    4. anon y'mouse

      my take on this, as a female (woman, cis whateverinheckwearesupposedtocallourselves) is almost entirely opposite all of yours. i am ASSuming you are men.

      i would believe her. because she relays very specific incidents, and patterns over time. her tale sounds like what i have heard and witnessed from an abused person in my life. the fact that she has to preface her statements in terms that make it obvious that she sounds like she will not be believed because she is both A Woman and A Person of Color doesn’t mean it didn’t happen as she claimed. much as the way in which the famous Clinton accuser’s account rings true. people in power are used to getting what they want. whether that power derives from their image as someone saintly, or no this must have a corrupting influence on character.

      yes, dirty deeds have been done and could have been done here. i am not denying that. but i find it very telling that all of you immediately jump on that as the reason this statement is being given (it may be why it is being given NOW), and not that it may have actually happened much like what she claims to have happened. it shows that her instinct to give a preface to her statement about all of the ways women are disbelieved, and especially women of color disbelieved, is sadly still needed and yet also totally unheard and unheeded.

    5. Jen

      If she’s willing to say all this and has a video, she should be willing and able to produce it. And how is it that she is completely stunned by his behavior, and yet, assuming there is a video, is videoing the encounter?

      With apologies to Jane Austen, I hate to be severe upon my sex, but I must speak as I find.

      1. Darthbobber

        On Sunday she couldn’t find it because it was on a misplaced flash drive. Today she will not produce it because it would be retraumatizing, and takes umbrage that anybody would ask her to. She releases various tweets and messages, some obviously truncated, and none of which deal with the heart of the matter.

        She says she has no desire to effect the election, which is tomorrow.

        Her denial of being contacted by interested players is also drawn curiously narrowly. Hasn’t been contacted by “candidates for atttorney general or their campaigns” which leaves a whole lot of room.

        Yes, there should be a serious investigation of such allegations, but number 1 that would require some cooperation from her, which it seems clear won’t be happening, and number 2 it’s preposterous on the face of it to think any investigation could happen in the interval between Saturday afternoon and the polls opening on Tuesday morning.

    6. cnchal

      > Am really curious what readers impression of this are?

      I have read Karen’s statement. She describes living with a narcissist, and knowing what I know, her description is dead nuts on. Consider yourself lucky that you know nothing of and have never heard of narcissistic abuse.

      My view is that the political system self selects for narcissists. Who else wants the jawb of being the fatuous “leader” and constantly the center of attention. That’s just who they are, at heart absolutely horrible people.

      1. Mark Gisleson

        So, based on a professional Identity politics advocate’s description of abuse, you have diagnosed Keith Ellison? Seriously?

        I blogged heavily about narcissistic personality disorder fifteen years ago (a friend was fired by one). I have met Keith Ellison. He does not suffer from narcissistic personality disorder. He is humble and inquisitive in person. Narcissists can’t fake that, not with normal people.

        For Ellison to be a narcissist, you need to develop a new theory of narcissism that allows people to be humble in public and deferential to their inferiors.

  5. Clive

    That cat looks distinctly wise beyond their years. A quality which I try to aspire to, usually failing miserably.

    1. nycTerrierist

      and what a stunning photo it is!

      “If man could be crossed with the cat, it would improve man but deteriorate the cat.”

      Mark Twain

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        In ancient Egypt, men only wished they could cross with Bastet, the cat goddess.

        Probably prohibited.

    2. kgw

      That beautiful pattern, abounds in the catly people…Can’t call it an “Abyssinian,” but definitely needs its own moniker!

  6. Summer

    Re: “In their bracing and brilliant book, ‘A General Theory of Love,’ psychiatrists Thomas Lewis, Fari Amini, and Richard Lannon put America on the couch, and their diagnosis is rather grim. ‘A good deal of modern American culture,” they write, “is an extended experiment in the effects of depriving people of what they crave most.’

    And an experiment in how much they will pay for those cravings.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      To compensate, Americans are then given a lot (or way too much) of what they crave the second or third most.

      That’s how we the number one in consumption (or up there with the most consuming nations).

      It’s as if when we can’t marry the one we love, we compensate by getting a harem, like the sultan.

      1. Summer

        There was an article about online dating. Statiticians are saying people hunt for people approximately 25% more attractive (whether in looks, perceived status or both not sure) than they are.
        Of course, these perceptions are often fed by what is seen in the media and many people deny this to their core. They fully believe they are fulfilling their own desires.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Does it mean ‘go-getters’ go for more than 25%?

          Unless one is a perfect 10 go-getter – in that case, 25% more attractive is not possible, not even 1% more attractive.

          1. Summer

            With that study, I guess they were just trying to quantify a form of social climbing.
            Who knows if it can be without constant revisions due to social trends. Trends appear very important to a type.

    2. clarky90

      ADL H.E.A.T. Map (Hate, Extremism, Anti-Semitism, Terrorism) is the first-of-its-kind interactive and customizable map detailing extremist and anti-Semitic incidents around the nation. ADL experts in its Center on Extremism developed this unique visualization with data points extracted from information sources including news and media reports, government documents (including police reports), victim reports, extremist-related sources, Center on Extremism investigations and more.

      Filter data sets and learn more about hate, extremism, anti-Semitism and terrorism in your area and around the country.”

      an example;

      “White Supremacist Propaganda
      Edison, NJ
      Right Wing (White Supremacist), Identity Evropa, an alt right group, distributed flyers that read: “Our Future Belongs to Us.” They also posted stickers featuring their group logo……”


      1. Philip

        So, no snark tag, I’ll assume you are serious?

        I call bullshit. ADL (and SPLC) are “operators”.

        Please do yourself a favor and watch this documentary, made by a born and raised Israeli, not that that should matter…

        “Defamation” – An Israeli’s examination of the ADL and anti-Semitism


  7. flora

    re: That which people most crave are the elements and effects of love — hospitality, community, solidarity — a general feeling of belonging and appreciation coupled with the exercise of moral agency for the benefit of other people. Thomas Aquinas defined love as ‘actively willing the good of the other.’”

    Hard to achieve internal effort toward community in this The Century of The Self *, where advertising blares that we need only consider our own desires and whatever we desire is good; that happiness lies in purchasing goods. It’s a perfect psychological counterpart to the economic neoliberal, “economic man” theory – a man who seeks to maximize his own personal satisfaction above all else. “Economic man” is a mythological creature, of course. Bernays and advertising have a lot to answer for, imo.

    * https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Century_of_the_Self

    1. Steve H.

      I learned how to build Monolithic Domes. They can withstand fires, tornadoes too.

      But they can’t withstand the real estate market. Can’t compare if it ain’t square.

      And having a lonely home in the middle of devastation is not so good neither. Happened to a friend in Katrina, a five house cluster survived with nothing else nearby. They stayed and crackhouse moved in next door.

      1. Darius

        You don’t need something exotic. A metal roof instead of a wooden one. A rock garden around the house instead of flammable shrubs under the eaves. This all apparently violates US cultural norms. Fire is incompatible with private property apparently.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Rock garden vs. plants that absorb carbon.

          What about underground homes, with trees where the homes would have been?

      2. ambrit

        We had something like that happen before Katrina. A new, and only, crack house in our hood ‘mysteriously’ burned down in the middle of a balmy spring day. The VFD was a quarter mile away and took 45 minutes to respond. No one complained.

        1. Steve H.

          When out-of-state cars began having people make runs to a nearby house while they parked a block away, I tried the right way and the police wouldn’t call me back. A journalist suggested it might be out of their hands, since interstate crime is federal, and I realized our neighborhood was being sold out for someone’s career. While I was researching the issue, the nearest thing I found to something working was a full neighborhood watch with evidence being created, but even that ran into lack of prosecutor resources. And there was more than one house that burned, and one of those was acknowledged as arson’d by a neighbor.

          The drug dealers moved on, now it’s got latino workers, more living there than rooms in the building. But they are very good neighbors.

          1. MaxFinger

            Post Katrina neighborhoods are vastly different. Rents are way out of line because of low wages. People are living together in crammed, scarce rental apartments/houses, because it is the only way to live on low wages.
            Seems to be for the benefits of the out of town AirB&B landlords that only care about extraction.
            Disaster Chaos!

            1. ambrit

              Never let a good crisis go to waste.
              On the Mississippi Gulf Coast, the primary result was the accelerated gentrification of the entire Coast, both ‘Official,’ through zoning mainly, and unofficial, through rent gouging and ‘enhanced’ wage suppression.

  8. anon y'mouse

    the trucking industry is aranged in similar fashion as Uber/lyft. and they did it with lobbying, deregulation, de-unionization….

    and without apps.

    seriously, look into it.

    or i could try to blather on about it.

      1. ambrit

        Something must be very wrong with the trucking industry now. The evidence is all the ‘Truck Drivers Wanted! Sign Up Bonus!’ ads that have been in the local shoppers and State Employment webpages. Jobs going unfilled in a field is a sign.

      2. anon y'mouse

        part II, after late day coffee infusion.

        ok, so previously i spoke about the so-called shortage of drivers, and how you are indentured into working, and the general working conditions. ok, so you are essentially being given 100k pounds of death-dealing machinery, and charged to run it 1700miles across the country (or wherever. interspersed with longer runs are shorter hops) and get it there in time. you are paid by the mile. if you use your fuel wisely, sometimes a few extra cents are tacked on as a kind of bonus. the general equation for saving fuel is running slower (covering fewer miles). your bonus and your pay are somewhat at odds with each other. sometimes your truck is regulated to only go up to a certain speed anyway. nearly every trucker hates those, for obvious reasons.

        what you are not usually paid for (there are some exceptions). time fueling. time loading/unloading trailers onto or off the tractor, or time waiting for delivery products to be loaded or unloaded from trailers while backed into docks. time performing multiple equipment safety checks, and sometimes making necessary (minor) repairs. time waiting for a new tire when one gets blown, or waiting for serviced, or having your truck & trailer cleaned, and your trainer washed out and swept (generally you are supposed to drop them ready to go for the next journey, which in cases of refrigerated trailers means making sure they have their own fuel full up–also unpaid time). time waiting in offices of the places you are picking up from or dropping to to deal with paperwork. time taking calls, messages etc. from dispatch and dealing with paperwork and logs.

        essentially, unless your company is enlightened about some things (like offering you detention pay, where they start giving you money if you wait around to get your shipment loaded over a certain amount of hours, or sometimes i guess if the truck is being serviced?). some companies also offer a “minimum weekly pay” if they just don’t have the business to keep you rolling, which is admittedly better than not paying you at all. if the truck is not moving you are not getting paid. and this only applies to employees. if you are a leased-operator (which i know less about but am doing research on), or an owner operator, you might be moving and still effectively not being paid depending upon how good of a businessperson-entrepreneur you are.

        remember–you have 11hours of driving time you can legally do in any one day (but 14 hours of work time). i still don’t understand all of the intricacies of this, but what i gather is that you spend a LOT of your time that you could be driving doing all of the waiting around i spoke about above, while your available hours run down to nothing which means NO PAY FOR YOU TODAY. because people shipping and receiving items do not pay for this time, and because your company does not pay you for this time, there is essentially little incentive beyond the desires of whoever runs the warehouse/dock to be efficient at this part of the process.

        truckers seem to refuel (and eat, and attend *cough* nature) on their half hour mandated breaks, and then do whatever else when they drink their morning coffee, or as they are changing trailers or whatever. if they need to do something for themselves, they will only be able to do this at the end of the driving day, AND if they are lucky enough to have found somewhere to do it. think about all of the stuff you would do if you went home from work at the end of the day–laundry, showers, meal prep and eating, paying bills and dealing with personal business, etc. i have no idea how any of these people get actual medical and dental issues taken care of, and the majority gain vast amounts of weight doing a stressful job while remaining essentially totally sedentary for 11+hours every day. very few truck stops have any kind of fitness equipment, and many are in very crime-ridden areas and so are unsafe just to go jogging around for exercise. trucking companies will try to tell you that you can be home weekly, or every few weeks so you can get your personal life dealt with. really, you are out there until you beg to go home and then, if business is flowing, that might get pushed back by your dispatcher or you might choose to keep rolling for obvious reasons. you bank one day off for every week out, or something like that with the understanding that they are to be used “whenever” (no matter what they actually say). the person i live with has been home twice and gone 3 months during this time, and his first two weeks were in the company training “school” during which he was getting no pay. when he got onto a truck for the first road training, he started getting some kind of weekly rate. that lasted a few weeks as well. sometimes, they draw even THIS kind of payment (paid during training) against your future earnings, so you can be in the hole even more when you start “actually” working.

        please, anyone with clarifying or correcting knowledge, DO join in.

        1. anon y'mouse

          part I got ettin’ (ate).

          so how is this like Uber, you may ask? because many of these companies try to hook you very early in the game as a lease operator. you may have only being driving for a few months (heck, the pitch can begin as soon as you go to school as a kind of distant carrot). basically, you are induced through the logic of higher potential for earnings.

          what happens many times is that the company you are working for leases you a truck. you pay for the operating expenses, all maintenance, your own insurance and a million other things (in various ways. sometimes they set up various accounts for you and sometimes you are left to the details yourself). you are left to your own devices on taxes, business filings, how you deal with insurance of all kinds, how and how much you pay yourself. much of this is variable depending upon how they work the lease contract. but you are generally not able ot take that truck and work for anyone else. you work for them, and your dispatching to loads is controlled by them.

          what logic tells me is that they must be making money on both ends somehow, or there are many considerations which make supposedly paying drivers “more money” through these leases works out beneficially for them. if a company can make and take nearly all of the money for themselves, why would they not do so? what i am seeing is that the lease operators are used for overflow. these companies have employees and contractors doing the same job and paying them at different rates. essentially the lease ops pay for the truck out of their own income, and reports among truckers indicate that 8-9 out of 10 never walk away with full ownership of the truck. some walk away owing money to the company–so out a job, and out for the truck that they didn’t end up with. one has to be pretty savvy to not get robbed by the lease terms (which seem all different by company), and to keep a business operating when it is all in another company’s control.

          as i say, this seems to me to be similar to Uber: loads/passengers are booked through the company and the driver has very little control (lease ops can turn down jobs, but generally don’t because they need to make their payments on the truck and pay their bills). the company gets paid, and then passes along a cut to the driver. the cut can be a certain rate per mile (so, as opposed to employee drivers making 30-44 cents a mile, they offer the lease operator $1.03 and some kind of fuel refund which varies by agreement), or a certain percentage of the load pay.

          working conditions and lifestyle of lease operators are not all that much different than employees, but their responsibilities are significantly greater. you are essentially operating a business, and have to have your ducks in a row and deal with the legalities and taxes of that. many of these people have never been close to management in their lives, so one can imagine the failure rate. successful drivers are there to brag to you about their $2k+weekly net pay, and yet it is probably impossible to find out how many of them actually manage that rate. what i have determined is that successful lease operators (probably a small group) are making what the industry standard EMPLOYEE should be making in his normal job. this has been described by the more management-minded as getting the employee’s “skin in the game” but it is really a way to make an employee pay for a truck he likely won’t end up owning.

          i hope my initial post on the hiring process gets fished out, or i will try to recreate it. unless you don’t want to be bored with that.

          1. flora

            This is very interesting. I didn’t realized the Uber “gig economy” aspect, or the “company store” aspect exists in the trucking industry. Thanks for posting.

    1. anon y'mouse

      to recreate what i posted in part I, which was about the hiring process.

      unlicensed new truckers are recruited by headhunters who seem to not really know anything about the business beyond what they are going to make out of the deal. i spoke with one myself and they certainly could offer little info beyond the employment offer conditions itself, and a kind of schedule to jump through the hoops. kind of like a slave broker, they deliver a bunch of folks who were working unsteady, ill paid jobs or who are at the end of their rope/ideas to make a more stable income into a trucking company’s hands. some individuals actually pay a private truck driving school to get their license, and then the company headhunters come to the school. at these schools, you are paying thousands to essentially learn to pass the DMV test for the license. your true education begins on the road, as dangerous as that sounds. same/similar process if you are hired directly with no prior schooling by a company–they put you through their internal schooling system. you are effectively charged for whatever training you receive by the company as an indentured servitude contract of about a year. in exchange for them providing you the training (which you can get at a community college for a few grand) they charge twice as much, and you agree to work at the lowest rates for one year. if you exit employment early for whatever reason (health, family, burnout from bad job conditions that approximate a moving jail cell that you drive yourself), they will bill you, put it on your credit, dun you with debt collection agents and supposedly, even blacklist you from trucking at other companies if possible.

      an interesting note about this training: it is discussed among truckers that the trucking schools are being given government money to keep training people for such a vital industry. it is said that trucking companies are sometimes effectively earning more from this situation of gov. grant training than they earn by the business, or are being kept afloat by the school end. some companies have the ability to test you for the license by their own people (perhaps making some more dosh that way? could be, but not sure). my disclaimer is that i have never worked in a trucking company, so do not know but it is also said that if you go to your local unemployment office, often they will pay for the retraining into your commercial driver’s license at the local community college.

      they will sway you with regular time off, high pay, and benefits. but you are theirs to drive OTR (“over the road=long distance trucking) for a year. if you try to get one of the supposedly decent trucker jobs (decent or sometimes even good pay, perhaps closer to home or even home every night)before about a year and a half, most companies will not hire you. it is said that this is due to the insurance rates. so, most people are forced to pay for their own training through this system of indenture, and get their training years out in a large company that can afford to take the hit should you mess up, and has the resources to go after you if you do flake out. so, you start out your trucking life financially in the hole, and with whatever ongoing bills you had from your life to sort out. some companies will pay you some kind of small stipend during the training period (can be up to one month, in the various phases) but this is supposedly also AGAINST FUTURE EARNINGS.

      now, the trucker shortage as i understand it: there isn’t one. there are thousands of people who have been through this system and no longer work in trucking, from what i understand. these people are a reserve labor pool. how do i know this? because supposedly turnover at trucking companies is 100% or higher every year. they basically train en masse for the eventual burnout and replacement of their current workforce, and are training continuously. everyone in trucking discusses this, “churn & burn” seems to be common knowledge. this suggests a large reserve supply of labor if conditions in the industry ever were to change, ready to drive down the rate of truckers driving if necessary. what does this imply? it means keeping your job is not only a matter of being safe, getting there on time but also how much you are willing to put up with.

      working conditions: you live in a truck smaller than a jail cell and have no bathroom. sometimes you have a microfridge and a microwave. you sleep in, eat in, dress & shave in (and some even try to exercise in, or cook in) the truck. you are out for weeks at a time. you should never assume you can get home in time for birthdays, holidays, or emergencies. some single people simply give up their apartments and succumb to the inevitability of living out of their trucks (sometimes hoping to save up for future expenses, like buying their own trucks). relationships with family and friends change and generally take a hit. if you want a divorce from your spouse, go into trucking. you are almost never paid, as a normal contractor in other fields would be, for your time and trouble to be away from your home. all costs to do so are your problem.

      truck stops are necessary, few and supposedly, not totally safe to be in. they are also full of overpriced and unhealthy food. some few have exercise facilities. they have showers and laundry machines (more paying out). essentially, there are very few rest stops left in this country where truckers can safely park. i see all of this diminishment of infrastructure, at a time when this industry is touted as so critical to the economy and in which every single thing we buy nearly has come off a truck, as very weird. especially since the almost-captive audience of truck drivers at truck stops sounds like a big money maker. are they, perhaps, preparing for the end of the truck driver (winding down operations) while they apply the screws to the employees at nearly every turn? i am a total cynic, and find that easy to believe.

      because of logs, the trucking company knows where you are and essentially what you are doing at all times. don’t cry about surveillance to a trucker. he is on a giant electronic leash, and has passed through serious government background checks to get there. this is not without all reason, as he has very expensive equipment and vital merchandise (sometimes outright dangerous merchandise, as in hazardous materials) under his care, so it behooves the company to know where he is. everything about that industry seems to happen under the eyes of government, in cooperation with the industry.

      oh–no one talks about unions at all. Teamsters are some distant exotic bird, and not a part of the discussion at all.

      i had a link in my very initial post, but they never show up somehow. search for Steve Viscelli’s The Big Rig discussion on u-tube. i think my initial comment was tripped by discussing the reported assaults on female drivers during their training phase, in which i used the “r” word. who knows?

      1. Steve H.

        Good work, mouse.

        Clearly, Luber has failed an opportunity to offer discount auto sales to their victims.

        The point on the reserve labor force in trucking is notable, too.

  9. DJG

    A Brief History of Milwaukee Avenue is good for its sense of the details of Chicago. I particularly liked the details of Chicago housing: the cottage, the bungalow, the graystone, the Sears house. These still exist. Most neighborhoods on the North Side are sprinkled with them.

    Chicago’s fairly regular grid layout means that the “diagonal” streets are valuable for getting around. I live near Clark, which is a rise that also was a path used by the Indian peoples (who would have been Ojibwe, Otawa, and Potawatamie in the main). Lincoln Avenue is handy for the same reason–and was a major pull for German immigrants.

    The writer didn’t cover an important aspect of Milwaukee Avenue: Funerals. Chicagoans are much concerned about funerals. In fact, there is a saying, He could screw up a two-car funeral.

    So funerals are even a gauge of economic efficiency and probity.

    Farther out are several large graveyards, as well as the restaurants where one holds the required funeral lunch after the funeral mass. When my aunt died a year ago, she decided that Przybylo’s, which has been one of the funeral-lunch-extraordinaire pierogieries, just wasn’t good enough. We were sent elsewhere. And even though my aunt was of Sicilian descent, we had a heavy Polish lunch. Those cutlets undoubtedly pushed each of us closer to the graveyard.

    And yet the Chicago that the writer portrays isn’t Rahm’s Chicago. I wonder why.

  10. Oregoncharles

    ” is it really possible to defeat them without going onto their turf? Even if you control another street corner? I’m not so sure.”
    I’m not sure, either, nor of just what you mean by “going onto their turf” – but I’d remind you that their “turf” isn’t that large: about 30% of the electorate consider themselves Democrats. Independents, more like 40%, are a substantial plurality. Not that most people vote that way – but the real question is what would MAKE them vote for A Plague on Both Your Houses. There is also the huge reservoir of non-voters – again, a plurality or close to it. What would bring them out?

    I don’t think anyone really knows. The short answer would be “Hope,” which certainly worked for Obama. Once burned, twice shy. The other short answer might be unmitigated disaster. Though we already tried that in 2008.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I’m not sure, either, nor of just what you mean by “going onto their turf”


      turf (2) (a) : territory considered by a gang to be under its control

      In this case, the ballot, the Democrat Party being conceptualized as a crime syndicate. Lincoln said (and there’s an even more on point quote I just heard on the Civil War History podcast, but I can’t bring it to mind):

      As we say out West, if a man can’t skin he must hold a leg while someone else does.

      (Sorry for the brutality of the quote, but then politics, especially these days, is brutal.)

      I see Democrat Party entryists like AOC as “holding a leg.” They are rendering the Democrat Party immobile, or less mobile than it would otherwise be. (Like Grant held Lee immobile, while Sherman (and Sheridan) clawed the Slave Power’s guts out). They may provide real material benefits to the working class too, which is good, but not the ultimate point.)

      As far as the entity doing the skinning, that is yet to be determined. It’s not like there isn’t a demand. Gene Sharp’s final method is a propos:

      198. Dual sovereignty and parallel government

      One might, for example, envisage setting up a parallel voting system with paper ballots, on election day. With different items on the ballot, of course! A DSA ten times the current size could probably do this.

      That’s what I have in mind when I say I support an “inside/outside” strategy.

      Adding, in a way this idea requires Kerensky and Lenin, as it were, to work in tandem instead of opposition. But I think our situation is far more desperate than even Czarist Russia in 1917.

      1. John k

        Sounds bleak considering he, his family, and the nobility all died.
        Or inspiring, if this refers to the dem elites.

      2. Carolinian

        I’m not sure what you are saying but if you are saying Sanders is going to organize some kind of protest strategy at election time then he will never do that. He is a lesser evilist all the way. If he was going to separate himself from the Dem party then he would have done it already.

        And not to be gloomy but I’m not sure there is a solution to this rigged system–a way to unrig it. The duopoly has always been rigged to an extent. Only the disaster of the Great Depression put the two parties seriously at odds for awhile. Before that the dividing line was the slavery.

        Maybe we are drifting toward some kind of authoritarian government. The calls for impeachment show that the notion of elections as final arbiter may be regarded by younger people–along with politics itself–as somehow quaint and antique.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          The situation is red, and urgent, and people are yearning for a teacher, a savior…not unlike that 2,000 or so years ago.

          And it is getting redder and more urgent…susceptible time for super-men.

          1. Carolinian

            The best thing I’ve read here lately about politics–have lost the link–told how the Labour party arose in Britain. It said they stayed clear of electoral politics at first and built an organization. The point was that you first need a substantial movement to break down ballot access restrictions and to have the media take you seriously. And example in this country might be the civil rights movement. Clearly though this is not a short term approach. Just as it took the civil rights movement decades to succeed it took Labour decades in Britain to finally win a majority and install a Prime Minister.

            Hoping the Dems will go the way of the Whigs may be forlorn. The Whig party of the 19th cent was formed in opposition to Jackson and was only around a few years. The Dems have been around a couple of centuries although they are now weakened The biggest party these days is the undecideds. They may just be looking for a name.

        2. ewmayer

          “Maybe we are drifting toward some kind of authoritarian government” — Per the Dems we’ve been living under the ever-more-tightly-closing iron fist of an authoritarian government headed by Vladimir Putin since Inauguration Day 2017, and all this dire authoritarian-ness is a brand new thing in the US which started just then.

        3. Lambert Strether Post author

          Sanders is on the inside. That’s what he does. It’s not a protest strategy any more than the Overland Campaign was a protest.

          Some other institution/entity will have to do the outside. DSA perhaps. There’s certainly a demand for it, has been since Occupy, and the demand will be met, one way or another.

      3. Oregoncharles

        The analogy doesn’t quite translate for me. Might need a one-for-one translation. Part of the problem is that I’m used to thinking of the subject in a certain way, and have trouble putting myself into a different set of shoes.

        One problem is that the “major” parties’ control of the ballot is far from complete. E.g., there are 8 ballot-qualified parties in Oregon, and 3 “major” parties. There are a few states where new party ballot access is virtually impossible, but that’s unconstitutional and has been successfully challenged in court – in Georgia, by Dixon and McKinney, in particular.

        Following an article years ago on the Library of Congress website, which I don’t have a link to, I actually think the most important barrier to new parties is not legal, but habitual. It’s habit and the preconception that we have a “2-Party system,” which certainly was drilled into me in school. You can see the reflex all the time; criticize the Democrats, from the left!, and people think you’re a Republican. Either/or is a very easy way to think of the world. And of course, it’s very self-perpetuating, a classic self-fulfilling prophecy. Self-licking, if you will.

        How to cut the Gordian knot is something I think about a lot. I haven’t come up with a better answer than waiting for the PTB to drop the scepter, until power is rolling in the gutter. Which I think, and fear, might not be long.

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          Yes, part of the problem in modeling the Democrat party is that the states play a big role, and it’s all insanely complex (complexity being a sign of fraud, at least in banking). That’s a very good point on the habit of binary thinking*; I’ll have to think about it. And start reading Ballot Access News again.

          On the PTB dropping the scepter, yes, I’m worried that will happen too soon. I’d rather have DSA running the show than the Proud Boys. A pro-banker ad house-broken Proud Boy has yet to emerge, but when they do….

          NOTE * Team sports is thought of as binary, but there’s a wonderful anecdote about the famously vociferous Boston Celtics fans. Boston had just lost in the semis to a great Philly team, so the Boston fans started chanting “Beat LA! Beat LA!”

          Now, if the liberal Democrats lost to Sanders, would their fans start chanting “Beat Trump”? I doubt it very much…

  11. Enquiring Mind

    Apple product evolution, which is thinly-disguised planned obsolescence, amounts to another version of predation made up to be cool, hip and other adjectives currently acceptable. Some evilish geniusettes (as distinguished from true evil genii?) sit around conference tables dreaming up new ways to get users hooked. One proffers Dongle Again Move Now, another counters with the Software Happenstance Iteration Theme.

    Their plans are based on a bastardized version of the venerable bank customer profitability model: 80% of the customers make 120% of the profit, and the other 20% generate that 20% loss to even things up. Apple purchasers may fit into a similar schema, where 80% or whatever go along with all pronouncements emanating from the Magic Utopian Loopy Cupertino Torus, and there are those 20% who inhabit secondary markets, chat rooms, garage sales and other disreputable locales in search of used (shudder, used!) components, thereby not spending cash on new retail products and depriving true believer shareholders of material growth toward that second trillion. I ask you, does that seem fair?

    1. Carey

      Good stuff. The eternal credulity in techWorld regularly leaves me speechless.
      Too bad there’s so much collateral damage.

      [Singularity! Flying taxis! Rocket ships™ to Mars!]

  12. temporal

    Apple’s 15 inch Macbook Pro

    With respect to Macbook Pros, iFixit has the 2012 non-retina being rated at 7 out of 10 for repair-ability. The Retina model for the same year and all subsequent Macbook Pros are 1 out of 10 – because iFixit doesn’t do zeros.

    Soldered RAM and storage with profuse amounts of glue for other stuff like batteries means lasting only as long as the first thing to fail.

    But hey, they’re thin!

    1. RMO

      Every single laptop I’ve ever owned has been an Apple – all 13 inch versions starting with a white plastic case model. When the one I’m currently typing this on packs it in I’m not going to replace it with another Apple. They’ve been going downhill for sometime and the company seems completely deaf to anyone with complaints, requests or suggestions as to how to make things better. Poor repairability isn’t that big a problem to me but there are so many other things Apple is dropping the ball on it all adds up to no more Macbooks for me.

  13. Phillip Allen

    “Harder left elements scoff at DSA social events, but I think DSA is onto something.”

    I am involved in a food co-op start-up, one of dozens emerging across the country. One commonality across communities that co-op organizers are finding is a real and powerful desire for community. The most successful of us have learned that being in community is as much about simply having fun together as it is about more ‘serious’ activities. The start-ups that incorporate a strong social aspect to their organizing are growing more strongly than those who haven’t. I don’t see organizing a political movement as being any different.

    1. Oregoncharles

      We belong to, and usually shop at, a long-standing, quite successful co-op – it’s actually our corner store. Shopping there is a social event in a way that Safeway or Fred Meyer could never be. It’s difficult to get in and out quickly; a high proportion of both the staff and the customers are friends. And yes, that’s a good reason to shop there.

      It also holds social events, which I don’t usually attend, as I get my fill in the store. But it’s successful, so I think that’s a recommendation.

      On the political level, I was just at a “Solidarity Picnic” that’s a cross-fertilization event for the various strands of organizing here: Wobblies, Greens, DSA, student groups. Fun – and a good place to get petition signatures. Walking distance from my house, too. Yes, I think these are worth doing.

    2. Darthbobber

      Harder left elements prefer an endless series of 5 to 7 hour line struggle sessions in search of that elusive theory that will become force when it grips the masses. And they wonder why recruits depart after a not terribly long time.

  14. Oregoncharles

    ““D.C. officials, union criticize decision to use Metro to transport Jason Kessler and white supremacists to Unite the Right rally” ” So the white supremacists don’t know that the Metro is “Socialism”?

    I gather they were dwarfed by the counter-protestors, the price of holding their rally in a big city. And no violence, the way to do it – but partly because the police actually did their job.

    1. voteforno6

      One thing that the D.C. police department is good at (besides handing out parking tickets) is crowd control – they’ve had a lot of practice.

  15. Bill Smith

    “I don’t know how case assignments are handled at the FBI, but in retrospect, doesn’t putting Strzok on both these cases look a little odd.

    Wasn’t Strzok Chief of the Counterespionage Section? So the Russia thing fits? The Clinton might have been because they thought someone might have hacked Clinton’s server?

  16. 3.14e-9

    Good portrait of NY-22 race in this NYT article from last Thursday:


    Love the line about Tenney’s basking in the glow of Trump. No kidding! Her performance as Trump was leaving the SOTU was barf-bag worthy (I’ll see if I can find a link).

    Then this tweet from Brindisi:


    SOURCES: @RepTenney has told DC folks her Trump fundraiser is just like an “interview” —for a job with the Administration! What exactly is she running for?


    (Speaking of which, thanks for the repeat status report on Garden Cat and the great photo!)

  17. Quanka

    A shorter Siskind: Neo-Nazis are just fine in flyover country, BUT NOT IN DC!!! Oh the humanity.

    1. Big Tap

      So Amy Siskind only thinks now with Trump as president were having Neo-Nazi rallies. Had she ever heard of the proposed march through Skokie, Illinois? I remember this was a big story in the late 1970’s and even inspired a TV movie starring Danny Kaye. More recently, less than two years ago, in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania another protest. Both these incidents occurred during Democratic presidencies. http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/opinion/commentary/ct-neo-nazi-skokie-march-flashback-perspec-0312-20170310-story.html https://www.pennlive.com/news/2016/11/kkk_flags_fly_on_pa_capitol_st.html

    2. Darthbobber

      And not even flyover country. I went up from Philly to NY to participate in a couple of large countermobilizations to Nazi rallies there at the end of the 90s and the early aughts.

      There’s also been a by now almost traditional attempt of se Pennsylvania neos to rally in Fairmount Park on some faux Nordic pagan holiday. Always met by a much larger counterprotest and a police line that prevents too much scrumming before the oppressed neos depart with same comments about how misunderstood they are. Every year. Like the FA cup, but without the suspense.

  18. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Cool – ship shipping ship.

    It’s better than my museum-museum, a museum of museums.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      How many cheap computer programmers from the most competitive supplier-nations can live on one of those, cruising up and down the California coast, just outside of US jurisdiction (min. wage no applicable), doing work no Americans are willing to do?

          1. The Rev Kev

            I thought for a moment that that foto was digitally altered until I noticed that on top of one stack of ships was a row of what looked like superstructures to go on each ship. I’ll be damned.

  19. Ancienr1

    The cat photo. Noticed the brick wall behind the car and saw some sprawling on face of brick (paint?), green coloring in places – especially at base of wall at paving joint. This might be implication of moisture in the wall. Might want to check this out. Are there issues on the interior surface? Sorry to interject this comment. Habits of an old architect. We never die. We just erase ourselves.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      This is actually the wall of the building next to me, but I will inform them. Bad foundations are bad.

      Once again, the NC commentariat is the best commentariat. You have enabled me to do a neighborly thing.

      But “sprawling”?

  20. perpetualWAR

    So, this is regarding the Democrat Party and the purity tests of yore:

    I recently got into an email conversation with another WA homeowner losing his home. He found out I had to move after my loss. This is what he sends to me after telling me to vote for Lisa Brown:

    “While I agree that Obama could have, should have handled the bank crises different, including the appointment of Holder as AG, but he was not responsible for Trump. Obama was no reason to not vote, or to vote for the worst human to ever run for the Presidency. We never have the choice between someone who is flawed an someone who is pure. No one is that pure. We must make the choice between the two that will represent us. In the 5th congressional race, you can vote to keep a really bad Representative, or a person that is not perfect but much better. Even more important is regaining the majority in the House. Voting for a third party is a vote for McMorris. So, I hope you will think about the big picture, and the future of the U.S. and not let the disappointments of the past ruin the future.”

    My response:
    “Sorry, I disagree. Brown could have and should have spoke up. She could have, at the very least, met with me. She knew how I was shaking things up and chose to ignore. She is not a good person.
    Obama allowed the bankers to steal our homes. He is not a good person. Them’s the facts as I know ’em. BTW, I didn’t “not vote.” And I didn’t vote Trump. I voted for Bernie Sanders. After the 2016 Democrat primary fraud, I am now Independent and not strictly towing the Democrat line. It is my opinion they gave us Trump. Had they not aced-out the real winner of the primaries, Bernie, who would have won, we would be talking about reigning in the bankers, single payer health care and reigning in out-of-control student debt. There would be no President Trump.

    It is also my opinion that Obama was a good Republican president. He was for big Business. He was not a good President who promised Hope & Change. IMHO, he was a horrendous president. I hold him responsible. What did he say, “the bankers did nothing illegal only immoral.” He is horribly wrong there.”

    No more communication after that response. I am absolutely floored that someone going through what I went through, unlawful foreclosure, cannot see that the Democrats did nothing to stop the crimes!

  21. John k

    …is it really possible to defeat them without going on their turf…
    Remember the whigs. Gone in four years.

    1. clarky90

      It is Neo-Revisionist History. “Hey Presto!”, the KKK is now (because we say it over and over and over again) a Republican Organization! (No, the KKK is a Democratic Party Creation. Look it up!)

  22. lyman alpha blob

    RE: we didn’t have neo-Nazi rallies until Trump took office

    Is this person serious?!?!? Funny, I thought I remembered myself and a few thousand other people protesting against one about a dozen years ago, but the Resistance! knows best so I guess that must have been some other people or maybe we were all at some bizarro demented rave.

    Ferchrissakes, she’s never heard of Skokie to name just one prominent example? Or the fact the some heavy hitters in the US supported the actual Nazis back in the day? Or burning crosses on lawns for decades?

    Did Trump’s election lobotomize this whole group of people so they have no memory prior to 2016?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Trump is their illegal space alien.

      In the sense that all those UFO sightings are, check that, were our own psychic projections.

      1. RMO

        “Is this person serious?!?!?” Yes. That’s what astonishes me. Or at least it would have a few years back. By now this sort of foolishness is pretty commonplace.

        1. Oregoncharles

          That’s the language of a party out of power, because without the votes, that’s all they can do. If it’s coming from a party IN power, as the Dems were when Obama took office, then it’s a blatant tipoff that they’re scamming you.

  23. David Carl Grimes

    I was wondering if Medicare for All will make it easier to hire older workers. Why? Because of reduced healthcare costs. Healthcare insurance premiums for older workers are higher, which might deter companies from hiring. Or is this a minor factor in the overall hiring decision.

    Would others care to chime in?

    1. ambrit

      At the lower end of the wage scale, company medical is a nonexistent benefit. When it is offered now, so much is dumped back on the worker, through premiums, co-pays and the rest, that many throw their hands up in surrender and wait for the ‘Corporate Grim Reaper’ to pay a visit.
      One major reason older workers are denied employment now is the sheer brutality of the work pace presently demanded from the workers. The older workers are physically not up to the demands. Also, the older workers are more experienced and will push back at the myriad of outrageous demands made on them. Management loves the younger, generally easier to fool cohort.
      As an example of ‘easier to fool’, I append the following. In the middle of my construction career, I was once tasked with working up a materials and labour bid for the mid-sized shop I was working for. (This was on the Louisiana Gulf Coast.) The front office manager called me in and pointed at a line in the labour figures.
      “What is this extra ten percent in here for?”
      “It’s for screw ups, rainy days, flu season absenteeism, and other things that will eat up time on any job.”
      “Where do you get off telling me that you have done this before? Screw ups? This company doesn’t do ‘screw ups!'”
      “Well, then this is the first perfect company i have ever worked for.”
      “Get the H— out of my office! Idiot!”
      I did not last long there.

  24. Darthbobber

    Hawaii 2nd. I saw Gabbard squeaked through with only 83.6% of the vote. Tough race, that. The most interesting story I saw on that campaign Was The Hawaii Education Association deciding to endorse her opponent. Interesting only because it shows how certain people operate. The HEA pres said explicitly that they had “no problem” with Gabbard on education issues, but based their decision purely on what they frame as Human Rights, but which I would call foreign policy. Specifically that she had supportive things to say about Assad and Sisi. How normal is it for Teacher’s unions to base their politics on foreign policy concerns? Glad you asked. I’m unaware of any other case.

    So i’d be asking what was really going on here, if I didn’t already know.

    1. The Rev Kev

      That is one ugly story that. I would guess that that teacher’s union got their marching orders from the democrat party in Hawaii who have a track record of hating her. Then again, we have seen stories very recently how teacher’s unions on the mainland are selling out their own members and are siding with big power. This may be more of the same.

  25. Lupemax

    “Negotiators from the U.S. and Mexico are entering their fourth week of resumed NAFTA talks as they push to wrap up the remaining bilateral issues – namely the automotive rules of origin, which have been one of the biggest sticking points in the renegotiation. But while Mexican Economy Secretary Ildefonso Guajardo has repeatedly said their teams are ‘making a lot of advancements,’ the talks haven’t progressed far enough along to invite Canada’s team back to the negotiating table” [Politico].

    Excellent (dare I say optimistic) interview with Lori Wallach expert (Global Trade Watch Director, Public Citizen) on NAFTA negotiations. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-yxtZo9Js-E&feature=em-uploademail

    Love your garden cat!!

  26. Lemmy Caution

    RE: Democrates seek stronger social media presence to guard against potential Russian interference in midterms.

    I can’t wait to see to results of the DCCC’s strategy, which relies on staffers and volunteers to “craft” messages on Facebook, Twitter and other platforms. Emboldened after mastering the art of political sloganeering, they’re ready to take on Vlad’s minions. (“Craft” is another one of those red flags, isn’t it?)

  27. Elizabeth Burton

    we didn’t have neo-Nazi rallies until Trump took office

    Of course we did. They were out holding rallies in lots of places, and no one cared because unless they did something harmful they were dismissed as the poseurs they mostly are.

    Since they weren’t useful to the establishment and its media mouthpieces, they were ignored, except as handy villains in fiction and film when a prison scene was needed. Like the many protests by progressive and other “leftie” organizations are going ignored now unless they’re to counter the neo-nazis. Keeping the public ignorant is what corporate media do best, and if you haven’t been around long enough to have watched them do it over and over you won’t notice.

    Notice how all the coverage of the dreadful non-rally in DC distracted everybody from the fact US-made rockets provided by the US to the Saudis butchered more than 50 children under the age of 15? Worked a treat. And some slug from MSNBC who spent a whole two minutes looking bereft 45 minutes into a broadcast becomes a social media hero for mentioning it in passing.

    Nothing says real concern like making the story about the guy who read it off the teleprompter instead of dead and bleeding children.

    1. bob k

      “Of course we did. They were out holding rallies in lots of places, and no one cared because unless they did something harmful they were dismissed as the poseurs they mostly are.”

      i have to disagree, strongly. already mentioned was the march in largely Jewish Skokie that brought out 1000s of protestors. i was in ohio in the 70s and everytime the Klan called a rally they were met with great crowds and there were fights. sometimes they were standoffs, like one i was at in the ohio country near dayton. another, in columbus, was just ridiculous. the Klan Grand Wizard was standing on the steps of a public building. his speech was howled at and drowned out by 100s of protestors. they were right up in his face. finally, one of the protestors hauled off and punched the racist bastard. it was over pretty fast.

      this was the 70s and there were still the vestiges of a once vibrant left. and there were plenty of people who hated racism and didn’t particularly feel the right to free speech meant the right to spread hate. this from the group that was formed to “restore” the glory of the South, the group that woodrow wilson so admired.

      maybe that’s just me and my experience from the 70s. but people cared. they cared deeply when these scum came out.

      1. Elizabeth Burton

        And most of the people now screaming about the alt-right and racism weren’t even born in the ’70s—or at most just barely. How many rallies like the one in Skokie have you seen covered in the last four decades? And let us not forget that one drew that a crowd mostly because the media made a point of demonizing the ACLU for defending the bad guys’ right to march. Otherwise, nobody would have heard about it.

        Because the ACLU was also defending civil rights workers and Black Panthers, so they needed to be demonized.

        I wasn’t talking about protest. I was talking about the media coverage of same. Which didn’t consider neo-nazi, racist, etc., rallies worthy of notice until November 2016. Where I used to live the KKK had (and as far as I know still has) an entire campground where they can hang out and talk trash. Bet you didn’t know about that. It’s in upstate Pennsylvania.

        So, the media are now presenting the situation as if this is something that only sprang up newborn from the head of Trump, which is handy for keeping the outrage level not only high but directed at acceptable targets.

        I have a friend who’s been an avid protester as long as you have, and I had to alert him to an anti-war rally near him because it and the numerous others held one weekend last fall got zero coverage either before or after. Another acquaintance was totally unaware there were almost weekly protests going on about immigration, M4A, and the other important issues.

        The “alt-right” is this decades “terrorist enemy.” It’s being used to channel people’s focus so the homegrown terrorists in Congress and the corporations can go on doing damage. I’m not saying it doesn’t need watching, and there’s no question its membership is increasing. Isn’t the real question, though, why, if they’re such a danger to all we hold dear, the establishment doesn’t seem interested in doing anything constructive about it?

        1. Darthbobber

          Nyt always found them worth covering as long as Sharpton was involved with part of the counter demonstrations.

  28. Wukchumni

    ‘A good deal of modern American culture,” they write, “is an extended experiment in the effects of depriving people of what they crave most.’ That which people most crave are the elements and effects of love — hospitality, community, solidarity — a general feeling of belonging and appreciation coupled with the exercise of moral agency for the benefit of other people.


    One thing i’ve noticed about us, is we don’t do a lot of physical things together so much anymore, and dancing in particular.

    We were @ the annual music in the mountains concert a couple days ago in Mineral King, and 4 out of about 90 attendees strutted their stuff on the floor, and i’ve seen similar lack of dance steps in other venues elsewhere as well.

    When I was a kid in L.A., there were dozens of ice skating rinks around, now down to a few.

  29. BobWhite

    … the DNC ‘will continue to welcome the longstanding and generous contributions of workers, including those in energy and related industries, who organize and donate to Democratic candidates individually or through their unions’ or employers’ political action committees.’

    They really had to do some contortions to equate “contributions of workers” to “employers’ PACs”
    Like Wal-Mart workers are the same as the Walton family…
    Or Amazon workers = Jeff Be-elzebub-zos

  30. Wukchumni

    So the money is buying squillioanaires walled compounds in New Zealand.


    In Māori culture, a great pā represented the mana (prestige or power) and strategic ability of an iwi (tribe or tribal confederacy), as personified by a rangatira (chieftain). Pā are located in various defensible locations around the territory (rohe) of an iwi to protect fertile plantation sites and food supplies.

    Almost all pā are found on prominent raised ground, especially volcanic hills. The natural slope of the hill is then terraced. Dormant volcanoes were commonly used for pā in Auckland. Pā are multipurpose in function. Pā that have been extensively studied after the New Zealand Wars and more recently were found to safeguard food and water storage sites or wells, food storage pits (especially kūmara), and small integrated plantations, maintained inside the pā. Recent studies have shown that in most cases, few people lived long term in a single pā, and that iwi maintained several pā at once, often under the control of a hapū (subtribe). The area in between pā were primarily common residential and horticultural sites.


    1. cnchal

      > So the money is buying squillioanaires walled compounds in New Zealand.

      When the diesel generator’s crank seizes, are the squillionaires going to get their hands oily or take the shackles off the dog zap collared diesel mechanics they keep in the dungeon for emergencies?

  31. Michael

    88 comments and no aspen rebuttal?
    Not aspens…

    Spalling…”Spalling—sometimes incorrectly called spaulding or spalding—is the result of water entering brick, concrete, or natural stone. It forces the surface to peel, pop out, or flake off. It’s also known as flaking, especially in limestone. Spalling happens in concrete because of moisture in the concrete.”

  32. The Rev Kev

    “That which people most crave are the elements and effects of love — hospitality, community, solidarity — a general feeling of belonging and appreciation coupled with the exercise of moral agency for the benefit of other people.”

    I think that in that one sentence we have the key to the success of social media, particularly Facebook. People are denied these bonds in normal life and social media offers an approximation of what they have lost. Quite poignant really that until you understand the price of seeking human relationships via an electronic screen is to sell out those very same human relationships to corporate business. How about a song for our present age-


  33. pretzelattack

    maybe “artisan propaganda”, handcrafted at home on a piecework basis, is the next one.

  34. Richard

    I have a weird, detail oriented question, and I figured this was the place to take it. Okay. assuming a third party were to win legislative seats at the federal level, how would committee assignments be handled? Now I believe the two parties just divide all the seats on each committee with whatever advantage to the party in power. And when new legislators arrive, each party distributes open seats within their party.
    How would this work with a significant (say 20%) block of third party legislators? Especially when they first arrive! I’ve always been amazed by how undemocratic and yet unchallenged the existing committee system is (in terms of deciding who serves where).

    1. Oregoncharles

      I think it might be very entertaining to find out.

      In practice, the few Independents there’ve been caucused with one major party or the other; but that wouldn’t happen if they were 20%. A bloc like that could be kingmakers, deciding who’s in charge, so the discussions might be quite interesting. Sort of like Germany the last time, or Italy. A whole new thing in American politics.

      The short answer is that nobody knows. Having observed the effects of joining coalitions on European Green Parties, I would advocate staying out of one and keeping that free-agent, kingmaker position. But then the old parties might freeze them out of committees.

      A further consideration is the conditions under which that might happen: it would be a near-revolution, a thorough realignment of the party system, so all bets would be off anyway.

  35. Wukchumni

    According to immigration officials and attorneys, there has been an increase in recent years of Indian nationals crossing into the U.S. through Mexico — although they represent a small percentage of those detained overall. Indian citizens are among thousands of migrants from Haiti, Africa and Asia now trekking across Latin America, taking advantage of travel routes forged by Latino immigrants.

    By early August, about 380 of the 680 migrants at the Victorville facility were Indian nationals, according to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, sent there as civil rather than criminal detainees pending the outcome of their immigration cases.


  36. 3.14e-9

    Trump’s speech in Utica, file under “Kill me now,” NOW. No, kill me five minutes ago, before I started watching.


    First 22 minutes are audience shuffling about, waiting for Tenney. Trump comes on at 24:34 and almost immediately launches into a bizarre diatribe about how state taxes could have been cut to zero if New York hadn’t banned fracking — unlike Pennsylvania, which he says is doing great things with all the fracking revenues, while sucking away New York’s oil under the border. After that, he speaks to Chele Farley, says he knows her opponent (Gillibrand) well: “She’s been up to my office looking for campaign contributions.” WTF? Sorry, couldn’t stay with it. I skipped to the end, which is cut off in the middle of his speech. Pool camera forgot an extra SD card, or just couldn’t take anymore?

    Also wondering whether this was the reception. If so, it sure looks like there are a lot of filler attendees who didn’t shell out $1,000 for a ticket. Then, what I do I know? Them good ol’ boys in the co-op hats might be wealthy soybean farmers …

    1. Hameloose Cannon

      Yes, having an imbecile* as the head of state brings a nation one stumble closer to the dream of having the state wither away, a delusion so dearly held by both Marxists and Libertarians. *Fernald, Walter. “The Imbecile with Criminal Instincts”. The American Journal of Insanity, 1909.

  37. The Rev Kev

    That image of Apple’s multiple port cords when they can eliminate the ports themselves from their laptops resulting in people having to have multiple cords jacked into their laptops. Would that be an example of ‘externalizing the costs’?

  38. knowbuddhau

    >>>That which people most crave are the elements and effects of love — hospitality, community, solidarity — a general feeling of belonging and appreciation coupled with the exercise of moral agency for the benefit of other people.

    I love that. But that’s all I like about it, sad to say. I’m always leery of psychiatrists. Their generalizations often vastly exceed their samples. Anymore, though, I’m asking the same question of all such reports: show me your data. The only hint is “individuals with depression.”

    So I searched the title, The Lonely American: Drifting Apart in the Twenty-First Century and found it on Good Reads.

    More reason not to be impressed. I’m not saying loneliness isn’t bad; of course it is. I get more than I’d like, tbh. But too often lately, plausible propositions don’t work the way they’re said to.

    Psychiatrists look very, very closely at individuals. Like, down to molecular level. I’ll buy they’re observations, but not their explanation.

    Here’s why I’m leery of psychiatrists: “[L]oneliness appears to be the inevitable byproduct of our frenetic contemporary lifestyle.” That’s it? No class war? No destruction of unions, no privatization and crapification of everything under the sun, no “individual” mandate for crap policies designed not to deliver health care, just profits for the people “trickling down” on us, no war as a national way of being in the wider world ever since day1?

    Too many trees, not enough forest.

    Nevertheless, I do believe wholeheartedly that hospitality is one of the great redeeming virtues of humanity. As Tom Waits would say, I’m one of those in whose keeping the town is left as we’re sweeping up the ghosts of Saturday night. I just love making Way for others, you know, setting up something beautiful for others to find and enjoy forever, then just walking away.

    And there’s actually method to my madness. I find a lot of inspiration in this.

    In keeping with the Buddhist teaching of emptiness [self-emptying, at Abe and the Social Force of Zen, fourth paragraph],
    Gustavo Esteva (1987) has argued, for example, that development is not an answer to the needs of “the poor,” but rather a substantial threat to their present and fu-
    ture well-being. In fact, development thinking manufactures and “benignly”
    exports “poverty.” It creates classes of sometimes millions of people who
    must be given assistance “because” they are powerless to help themselves.
    As an alternative, Esteva suggests that strenuous effort must be made to
    reclaim the commons, displacing the economics of development, and cul-
    tivating instead an ethos of hospitality
    . In the absence of such a turn toward
    meaningfully intimate relationships and away from generic legalism, the
    influx of new goods and services will not be conducive to the realization of
    vibrant and resilient community, but only increasing dependence on these
    services and slavery to the living standards they implicitly impose.

    The criticism here is not, however, only that care must be taken not to
    help others for the sake of condescension. The teaching of [self-emptying] in-
    sists that equal care be exercised in avoiding the temptation to rationalize
    doing nothing for others or to argue that we all have to “pull ourselves up
    by our own bootstraps.” Such rationales and arguments are possible only
    on the condition that we ignore the meaningful interdependence of all things.

    Pulling ourselves up by our own bootstraps is impossible for the simple
    reason that none of us are — or could ever be — fully independent. But
    neither are we ever fully dependent. From a Buddhist perspective, we are
    not, have never been, and could never be simply-located, atomic individu-
    als existing or “standing apart” from one another in objective and purely
    factual time and space. The prejudice for taking ourselves most fundamen-
    tally to be ‘this’ and not ‘that’– to be privileged or not, to be in control or
    not — is, at bottom, a culturally sanctioned form of ignorance that induces
    both our factual segregation and our relational or narrative poverty.

    As an antidote for such dramatic prejudice, the Buddhist practice of
    [self-emptying] is conducive to realizing our horizonless continuity with all things
    in patterns of meaningful relationship that arise in a cosmos that is irreduc-
    ibly karmic — a cosmos in which the topography of our individual and
    shared experience meticulously conforms with our own values, and in which
    conflicts and their full resolution are always dramatic.

    In a karmic world, there are no clear horizons of responsibility, no
    objective warrants for disengagement, and no possibility of abstaining from
    involvement. In the absence of any absolute or non-contingent boundaries,

    Peter D. Hershock Journal of Buddhist Ethics 6 (1999): 168

    the root, moral question can never be whether we are implicated, but only
    “in exactly what way, and why?” In the absence of clear and ontologically
    fundamental boundaries between self and other, or between ‘this’ situation
    and ‘that’ one, any tensions between them must be seen as artifacts —
    albeit ones with often quite long and convoluted histories. The perennial
    conflict of freedom and duty — like that between the ‘good’ of persons and
    that of communities — is not an absolute given, but our own doing: a
    construct or product of our karma. Quite fortunately, our karma is always
    subject to revision.

  39. DonCoyote

    “A highly insecure digital dystopia”…

    “When a city has grown so overlarge and crowded that it is in immediate danger of collapse … when food and clean water flow into the city at a rate just sufficient to feed every mouth, and every hand must work constantly to keep it that way … when all transportation is involved in moving vital supplies, and none is left over to move people out of the city should the need arise … then it is that Crazy Eddie leads the movers of garbage out on strike for better working conditions.”

    –The Mote In God’s Eye

    And for the tl;dr and #NoSFReferences crowds, insecure + dystopia are Putin’s fault.

    Bonus non sequitur: I was at the airport yesterday watching corporate propaganda from Siemens about how they are leveraging the Internet of Things (IoT) to do something or other (the graphic was light rail). I am doubtful of the ability to leverage the IOT for much, unless you are in the bugfix or fertilizer business. Also, how did Siemens get the right to names MindSphere, MindServices, etc? Is there dignity left? (No). Paging Rene Descartes and Karl Popper

  40. Alfred

    Aspen trees have white bark – trunks and rarely lateral branches of any size. But the trees are beautiful.

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