2:00PM Water Cooler 8/23/2018

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Readers, I had a household event in the midst of posting, so I’ll add a smidge more in a bit. –lambert UPDATE 2:40PM All done!


“Yes, Trade Deficits Are Hurting American Manufacturing” [Industry Week]. “Perhaps the best argument in support of trade deficits comes from the Hoover Institute. Russ Roberts of the Institute summarizes his aggregate argument by saying, ‘by directing resources to where the economy is most competitive, it creates new opportunities and society-wide advances that improve life for everyone in unforeseen ways. Rather than protecting struggling industries, he says, policy should focus on giving people the skills to compete and flourish.’ The fact is that one of these struggling industries that he does not want to support is manufacturing. Roberts also makes it sound easy to give the losers of trade deficits the skills to compete. But after 27 years of debate and six major studies, we still have not developed the training programs to help the millions of people who have lost their jobs because of trade deficits…I agree that American manufacturing, more than any other sector in the economy, is hurt by trade deficits. It is important to point out that more than 70% of our current trade deficit of $566 billion (as of 2017) is in manufactured goods—not services. If we are going to make any progress to reduce the trade deficit, we must increase exports. About 70% exported goods are manufactured goods. We must increase our exports, and that can’t happen unless we can save and grow American manufacturing.” • And then on to… currency manipulation. What about industrial policy?

“U.S. Customs and Border Protection early this morning began collecting a 25 percent duty on an additional $16 billion worth of Chinese goods — including chemicals, industrial products, semiconductors and a range of consumer goods like electric scooters, e-cigarettes and selfie sticks….The latest escalation comes as a Chinese delegation led by Commerce Minister Wang Shouwen is in town for talks with a U.S. team led by Treasury Undersecretary for International Affairs David Malpass. The Treasury Department’s press office has ignored repeated requests for information on U.S. goals for the talks, which are the first since Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross traveled to Beijing in early June” [Politico]. “So far, China has matched Trump’s tariffs on a dollar-for-dollar basis, with Chinese duties on $16 billion worth of U.S. goods also set to go into force today. That includes American-made cars, propane, paper, chemicals and other products.”



UPDATE “Joe Biden is best hope for Democratic Party in 2020” [Steve Israel, The Hill]. “When I chaired the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, I’d brief President Obama and Vice President Biden on House races. Obama would process the information in a studious manner, nodding as he leafed through my presentation deck. Biden would spread his knees and pitch forward, as if diving into the data. Then we’d go into his office and delve even deeper. He wanted to travel to House districts where he’d have the greatest impact. So we’d chart the path: Pennsylvania, Ohio, Michigan, Florida, Wisconsin and others. Those states had pools of once-blue, middle-class districts. Now those pools were frothing and rust-colored, the tide having shifted towards the Republicans. Biden innately connected with these communities. He could stem that tide.” • This is amazing chutzpath. The “path” “charted” by these guys led to the Democrats losing 1000 seats and all three branches of government! Please kill me now.

UPDATE “Think Elizabeth Warren And Bernie Sanders Are The Same? She Doesn’t.” [Buzzfeed]. “For those on the left, the difference between Warren and Sanders has less to do with policy or ideology. Really, they say, it’s a question about progressive power — about two vastly different theories of change. It’s ‘the preacher vs. the teacher,’ as one former Sanders adviser put it. Now, when Warren gets the question, she has her answer ready. ‘He’s a socialist,’ she’ll say, ‘and I believe in markets.'” • The triumph of hope over experience….

UPDATE “Sen. Elizabeth Warren Releases 10 Years of Her Tax Returns” [Time]. • She’s running. This also dings Sanders, who released one years’-worth.


74 days until Election Day. 74 days is a long time in politics.

“Could the 2018 Midterms Be the Year of the Young?” [Governing]. “One analysis that received wide media attention found that ‘registration rates for voters aged 18-29 have significantly increased in key battleground states over the last seven months.”‘…. Subsequent data, however, has cast some doubt on this analysis. In Florida, research by the University of Florida and the Associated Industries of Florida, found no dramatic increase in youth voter registration compared to the 2014 midterm cycle…. ‘The telling voter registration activity will occur closer to the November elections,’ says [University of Florida political scientist Michael McDonald]. ‘Numerous studies find that voter registration activity skyrockets as elections near, when the registration activity is tied to an intention to vote. If we are going to see unusually high youth voter registration activity that will translate into votes, it will be then.'”

“House Update: 12 Ratings Changes” [Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball]. “We suppose it’s possible that the threat of impeachment could rally Trump’s core supporters, but a bigger problem for Trump and the Republicans than a motivation problem with their core supporters is a persuasion problem with soft Republicans in the suburbs who don’t like the president much and probably aren’t going to dislike him less after seeing key figures close to him on the wrong side of the law. In other words, if one believes the Democrats are favored in the race for the House — and we do, although we don’t think the result is locked in concrete — then something in the political environment needs to change, in a positive way, for Republicans to regain the advantage. The Cohen/Manafort news was not that.” • Yep.

“Trump plans ambitious campaign travel ahead of midterms” [The Hill]. “The president is planning at least 40 days of campaign-related travel between Aug. 1 and Election Day — a whirlwind schedule that seeks to outpace the midterm campaigning of any president in recent history, administration officials said Tuesday…. Trump’s focus in the coming weeks will be on Senate races as he waits for the House map to come into clearer focus, officials said. But they cautioned that the president’s travel schedule was tentative and that he could quickly pivot to different races as needed… The president has already proven himself to be an adept fundraiser for Republicans. Administration officials said Tuesday that Trump has already helped raise $227 million for the Republican National Committee (RNC) in the 2018 cycle, as well as $175 million for Republicans running for reelection.” • At this point we remember that Trump defeated not one, but two party establishments in 2016.

UPDATE “The Down Side of Winning the White House” [Cook Political Report]. “Republicans are coming to terms with the reality that the 2018 midterms are shaping up to be a train wreck, a slow-moving and agonizing collision between what they have wanted—unified Republican government—and the inevitable consequence of having total responsibility and accountability for federal and state government. Midterm elections tend to be bad for the incumbent party, but when it holds all of the reins of power, they tend to be even worse. It is an exaggeration to say that Republicans would need a miracle to retain their House majority, but that is certainly closer to being true than suggesting that House control is a 50-50 proposition. Today, the most likely outcome in the House would be a Democratic gain of between 20 and 40 seats, with the chances of it being more than 40 greater than it being under 20. Put another way, the House odds are not a symmetrical bell curve, but rather a curve with a fat tail for Democrats—in other words, the downside risk for the GOP of an unmitigated disaster are greater than a not-as-bad-as-expected outcome.”

“Pelosi says she deserves to be House Speaker: ‘Nobody wants to sit across the table from me'” [CalMatters]. “Pelosi did her best to present her party as a high-minded, bipartisan-inclined, and pragmatic alternative to the status quo. She quoted President Ronald Reagan and spoke favorably of President George W. Bush. She promised to protect Medicare, Medicaid, and the Affordable Care Act while decrying the “unfortunate” federal tax law changes. And she vowed to restore an environment of comity on Capitol Hill should the Democrats win the House and should she become its leader…. [She] questioned the realism of moving to a national single-payer health insurance system, though she was careful not to dismiss the idea entirely. Earlier in the day, she said that impeaching the president should not be a political priority for the party.” • Nobody needs to sit across from her. She’s already sitting on their side!

SD Senate: “Personality and Party Clash as Senate’s Most Vulnerable Democrat Fights to Survive” [Roll Call]. “‘He’s going to be a factor. He’s popular in North Dakota,’ Heitkamp said of the president in an interview at Bismarck’s Amvets Club last week. Meeting with veterans, she touted the bipartisan banking deregulation bill she worked on, making sure to note that the president signed it. She was at Trump’s side when he signed it into law at the White House.'” • Attagirl! I’m sure your stellar work will be remembered the next time the banks crash the economy…

UPDATE CA-50: “CA-50: Hunter Indictment Moves Race from Solid to Lean Republican” [Cook Political Report]. “This military-heavy San Diego County seat is the most ruby red district in Southern California: it voted for President Trump 55 percent to 40 percent in 2016 and reelected Hunter with 64 percent. But Hunter received just 47 percent in June’s top-two primary, while two other Republicans combined for 15 percent…. [I]t could take weeks to determine how Hunter responds to the indictment and whether the indictment suddenly makes voters more inclined to vote for a Democrat.”

UPDATE CA-50: “Why We’re Not Changing the Rating in Duncan Hunter’s Seat, Yet” [Inside Elections]. “When New York Republican Chris Collins was indicted a couple weeks ago, we shifted New York’s 27th District from Solid Republican to Likely Republican. It was an acknowledgement that an indictment at least warrants a district be on the list of competitive races. But we’ve had California 50 rated as Likely Republican for most of the cycle, based on Hunter’s known legal problems…. So for now, we’re maintaining our Likely Republican rating, waiting for the situation to further develop and, most importantly, waiting for survey data to see how voters in the 50th District respond to the latest news.”

2016 Post Mortem

“Despite Comey Assurances, Vast Bulk of Weiner Laptop Emails Were Never Examined” [RealClearInvestigations]. “Comey later told Congress that ‘thanks to the wizardry of our technology,’ the FBI was able to eliminate the vast majority of messages as ‘duplicates’ of emails they’d previously seen. Tireless agents, he claimed, then worked ‘night after night after night’ to scrutinize the remaining material. But virtually none of his account was true, a growing body of evidence reveals. In fact, a technical glitch prevented FBI technicians from accurately comparing the new emails with the old emails. Only 3,077 of the 694,000 emails were directly reviewed for classified or incriminating information. Three FBI officials completed that work in a single 12-hour spurt the day before Comey again cleared Clinton of criminal charges…. [E]ven the “extremely narrow” search that was finally conducted, after more than a month of delay, uncovered more classified material sent and/or received by Clinton through her unauthorized basement server, the official said. Contradicting Comey’s testimony, this included highly sensitive information dealing with Israel and the U.S.-designated terrorist group Hamas.” • Curious timing, but as usual, it’s not Clinton’s email account that’s the issue, but where the email data was stored, whether on her homebrew server or on Weiner’s laptop. Which is why the constant Clintonite refrain “But her emails!” makes my back teeth itch.

New Cold War

Plot twist:

So Cohen flips to Clinton’s fixed, and all we get is a damp squib?

“Cohen Hit With NY Subpoena Connected to Trump Probe” [Courthouse News]. “News of the subpoena comes two months after Underwood brought a $2.8 million lawsuit in Manhattan Supreme Court to dissolve the Donald J. Trump Foundation for violations of state and federal law. Underwood’s fiery 41-page petition condemned the foundation for lacking oversight and internal controls. ‘In the absence of a functioning board, Mr. Trump ran the foundation according to his whim, rather than the law,’ the petition says.”

Realignment and Legitimacy

UPDATE Fine word, legitimate:

Iraq could be seen as a policy debacle, hence not impeachable. But Bush committed multiple felonies with his warrantless surveillance program, and should have been impeached for that.

“Trump’s War Against Blue States” [Bloomberg]. “The economic and cultural divide between red and blue states in America may be the Athens vs. Sparta for our times,” with the Blue States being, one presumes, Athens. But who won? Another case where it’s counterproductive to imagine that Trump, despite all the chaff and distraction and noise, doesn’t think strategically. Well worth a read for the bill of particulars.

“data for politics #14: Who is Trump’s Base?” [Data for Progress]. “If we define the base as a group making up a non-trivial share of the electorate that overwhelmingly prefers one party, it is fair to call white evangelicals Trump’s base. If we define the base purely by the size of the coalition, we might prefer instead white non-college voters or whites over 50, both of whom make up more than half of Trump’s voters. If we want to analyze specifically “Trump’s” base, or voters that gravitated toward Trump but might not have for a normal Republican candidate, traditional narratives about non-college whites are correct. However, perhaps surprisingly, Trump also converted some white evangelicals who had voted for Obama.” • Interesting and well worth a read, but it doesn’t distinguish between Trump’s base and Trump’s margin; I’m sticking to my story that working class voters who flipped from Obama gave Trump his margin, which, conveniently or no, this article does not address.

“It’s Too Late to Protect the 2018 Elections. But Here’s How the U.S. Can Prepare for 2020” [Alex Stamos, LawFare]. “For states’ autonomy to thrive, it is critical for every state to follow the lead of Colorado and a handful of others in building competent statewide election security teams that set strong standards for verifiable voting, perform security testing of local systems, and provide a rapid-reaction function in case of an attempted attack. The federal government could support the growth of these statewide functions with funding, intelligence and training, and by finding ways to harness the capabilities of private IT workers.” • At least as far as voting goes, it’s very hard to believe that it’s not possible to set up a system of hand-marked paper ballots, hand-counted in public by 2020. This Stamos dude doesn’t mention that, so he fails my litmus test for integrity when discussing voting systems. More strongly, he’s a corporate shill and an IT grifter, or, as Stoller puts it, a “tobacco scientist” talking about tobacco. And looky here—

“DNC says suspected hack attempt turned out to be a security test” [WaPo]. “What the Democratic National Committee this week thought was an attempted hack of its valuable voter file turned out to be a security test organized by a state party, unbeknown to the national organization.” • Cited above by Stamos in his lead.

I certainly hope that Stamos’ budget for “rapid response” includes improved gaslighting infrastructure:

“L.A. County gets state approval of new vote-counting system using open source software” [Los Angeles Times]. “The ballot-counting equipment is part of a broader redesign of Los Angeles County’s voting system, which will include new equipment while relying on a traditional paper ballot. The county’s existing system, portions of which are now decades old, has been targeted for replacement for several years.” • I take the strong view that there should be nothing digital anywhere in the process. Are really to believe that scanners won’t be hacked?

Stats Watch

Purchasing Managers Index Composite (Flash), August 2018: “Reflecting moderation in employment and new orders, growth slowed more sharply than expected” [Econoday]. “A benefit of the slowing is an easing in cost pressures to the least severe rates so far this year. Despite the easing, the samples continue to report rising prices for steel-related items along with rising wage pressures. And the service sample is reporting the fastest rise in selling prices in four years. Indications in these reports hit a peak in May and have been slowing since. Yet rates remain constructive for these samples.” And but: “Despite the slowdown, any number over 50 signifies expansion, and results above 55 [as this month] are considered exceptional” [MarketWatch].

Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Index, August 2018: “This morning’s manufacturing PMI as well as last week’s Philly Fed report both showed slowing in August, as does the Kansas City manufacturing index.” Below consensus [Econoday]. “Based on advance indications from small sample surveys like this report, August may prove to be relatively soft for the nation’s factory sector giving manufacturers some needed breathing room to expand capacity.” And: “Kansas City Fed manufacturing has been one of the more stable districts and their index is now in the lower range of values seen in the last 12 months. Note that the key internals remained in expansion” [Econintersect].

New Home Sales, July 2018: “The headline shows a decline but the message from the July new home sales report is nevertheless mostly positive” [Econoday]. “The overall year-on-year rate of growth is at 12.8 percent which if sustained would point to a badly needed uplift for the housing sector in general going into the second-half of what has been a very subdued 2018.” And: “This month the backward revisions were upward. Because of weather and other factors, the rolling averages are the way to view this series. This month was better than last month – and the rolling averages improved” [Econintersect].

FHFA House Price Index, June 2018: “Indications on home prices continue to moderate” [as they had better!] [Econoday]. “Levels in this report remain quite favorable though the recent direction is not, perhaps reflecting less favorable mortgage rates and a general lack of interest in home ownership that has been evident since the subprime housing meltdown 10 years ago. Yesterday’s existing home sales report likewise showed moderation in price data.”

Jobless Claims, week of August 18, 2018: Fell [Econoday]. “[A]ll readings in this report consistent with strong demand for labor.” And: “This marks 176 consecutive weeks of initial claims below 300,000, the longest streak since 1970” [Econintersect].

Coincident Index: “July 2018 Philly Fed Coincident Index Year-over-Year Rate of Growth Improved” [Econintersect]. “The year-over-year rate of growth relative to the previous month of the US Coincident Index marginally improved…

UPDATE Retail: “Another Sears Holdings Spinoff Dies” [Wolf Street]. “[Orchard Supply Hardware’s] 98 stores in California, Oregon, and Florida will be closed, along with its distribution center in Tracy, California. Its 4,000 employees will be let go. Liquidation sales start Thursday.”

Shipping: “Smart bill of lading makes first successful trial” [Splash 247]. “The first ever blockchain-based CargoX Smart Bill of Lading has successfully completed its historic mission during a trial shipment from China to Europe with the tech company claiming in a release: ‘The logistics documentation revolution can now be unleashed!’… ‘We are extremely happy to be able to confirm that all went well with the new blockchain-based electronic bill of lading, as this will give us the opportunity to lower the cost of importing goods significantly. We import hundreds of teu from the Far East, and we are always trying hard to optimize our supply chain. If it raises the safety and reliability of the document transfer, that is an added value for us as well,’ commented Miloš Košir, a logistics manager at [clothing firm] Metro.”

Supply Chain: “The Rise of Amazon Logistics” [Transport Topics]. “What about how Amazon’s logistics plans play out in plain view … on its ​career site?… Diving into the senior positions a little further, it became clear exactly where the company is moving — cross-border trade and international logistics, while improving courier delivery…. The lion’s share of the 14 jobs requiring more than 10 years of experience are either technology related, like a principal machine learning scientist, or long-distance freight, whether it’s a European Union supply chain program manager, a senior intermodal manager or a principal for Amazon Global Logistics’ cross-­border unit… There are also four non-assistant logistics roles in Amazon’s secretive Lab126, responsible for Amazon’s in-house devices such as Kindle and Echo. These positions are focused on operational roles for rapid manufacturing, inventive packaging and fulfillment. … Only three logistics job descriptions explicitly mention ocean freight, backed by 10 research and development jobs related to inbound ocean freight, as well as a customer service role. However, the three ocean freight roles are all pivotal and have all been posted in the last couple of months.” • Well worth a read for Amazon buffs.

Supply Chain: “A new supply chain is forming in a dusty corner of California on the edge of the desert. Specialized companies are setting up there and in other locations to bring together marijuana growers and processors under unified distribution operation” [Wall Street Journal]. “The services run from testing and tax payments to transportation, and they’re the result of California legalization of recreational marijuana use which comes along with strict state-wide and local rules that can make it tough to run a home-grown operation. The nascent distribution networks are being strung together as legalization is gaining traction across U.S. states and in Canada, and as cannabis-infused products are moving into mainstream consumer-goods distribution channels. Forecasters say a legal U.S. cannabis market could be worth more than $10 billion this year.” • In other words, the Calfifornia Democrats corporatized the cannabis business. I’m shocked.

UPDATE Transportation: “Electric Trucks Facing Long Road to Unseat Diesel Engines” [Bloomberg]. “While electric trucks will curb pollution, it’s not clear the industry is ready to switch, said [said Jon Mills, a spokesman for engine maker Cummins]. For starters, long-haul truckers would need a place to recharge during cross-country trips. Plus, batteries are heavy, and adding weight cuts into the cargo truckers are paid to haul….. There are other issues that concern truckers. A 500-mile range is fine for shorter delivery routes but diesel trucks typically go much further before refueling, sometimes more than 2,000 miles. Also, some drivers get paid by the mile, and wouldn’t make money while batteries recharge.”

Mr. Market: “Here’s why a rising Trump impeachment threat isn’t rattling stock-market investors” [MarketWatch]. “Why is the market so resilient? J.P. Gravitt, chief executive of research firm Market Realist, said the answer is two-fold. For the market to selloff on impeachment fears, investors would ‘have to suppose that Trump is responsible for everything good in the market to suppose that the opposite would be true, and second we would have to know with a capital K that he will be gone and when any changes would be made to reverse his policies,’ he said.” • So that’s the case that Trump needs to make to wealthy suburbanites…

UPDATE The Bezzle: “Details Of Uber Harassment Settlement Released” [NPR]. “Fifty-six people are set to receive an average payout of nearly $34,000 because they filed specific claims of ‘incidents of discrimination, harassment, and/or hostile work environment and connecting their experiences to their race, national origin or gender,’ court documents state…. Fifty-six people are set to receive an average payout of nearly $34,000 because they filed specific claims of ‘incidents of discrimination, harassment, and/or hostile work environment and connecting their experiences to their race, national origin or gender,’ court documents state.”

The 420

“California lawmakers pass bill to erase old cannabis convictions” [CBC]. “The state DOJ estimates that almost 220,000 cases are eligible for erasure or reduction. The DOJ has until July 1, 2019, to compile the list of eligible cases and forward it to the appropriate district attorney’s office.” • These are the “innovators” and “disruptors” who made the cannabis market. Sadly, the market now having corporatizes, it’s unlikely they’ll be rewarded with the fruits of their labor.

Class Warfare

“How New York Taxi Workers Took On Uber and Won” [Labor Notes]. “‘The overwhelming majority of Uber, Lyft, and app-based for-hire vehicle drivers are immigrants, and two-thirds of them are driving full-time, but 85 percent don’t earn a living wage,’ said New York City Councilmember Brad Lander in a hearing. ‘Forty percent of them have incomes low enough to qualify for Medicaid.’ The 500 percent growth in cars is what has made that happen.'” • Lots of good detail on the taxi business in New York.

UPDATE “Entrepreneurs, Chance, and the Deterministic Concentration of Wealth” [PLOS One]. From 2011, still germane. From the abstract: “We present an intentionally simplified individual-based model of wealth generation among entrepreneurs to assess the role of chance and determinism in the distribution of wealth. We demonstrate that chance alone, combined with the deterministic effects of compounding returns, can lead to unlimited concentration of wealth, such that the percentage of all wealth owned by a few entrepreneurs eventually approaches 100%. Specifically, concentration of wealth results when the rate of return on investment varies by entrepreneur and by time. This result is robust to inclusion of realities such as differing skill among entrepreneurs. The most likely overall growth rate of the economy decreases as businesses become less diverse, suggesting that high concentrations of wealth may adversely affect a country’s economic growth. We show that a tax on large inherited fortunes, applied to a small portion of the most fortunate in the population, can efficiently arrest the concentration of wealth at intermediate levels.” • Hmm….

News of The Wired

“DNA shows girl had one Neanderthal, one Denisovan parent” [Ars Technica (CL)]. “Running Denisova 11 through an analysis of these differences showed she was a nearly even mix. Instead of being mostly Neanderthal, as you would expect from the mitochondrial DNA, only 39 percent of the DNA fragments were clearly Neanderthal. Another 42 percent, by contrast, were Denisovan, meaning she was nearly an even mix of the two groups of archaic humans.”

“10 Crazy Things You Didn’t Know About Bees” [Family Handyman]. “[Bees are] mighty mathematicians, capable of solving what mathematicians call the “traveling salesman problem,” that even stumps some computers. The traveling salesman problem asks the following question: “Given a list of cities and the distances between each pair of cities, what is the shortest possible route that visits each city and returns to the origin city?” Researchers at Royal Holloway University in London found that bumblebees fly the shortest route possible between flowers, making them the only animals known to able to solve the problem.” • Animals including homo sapiens. If we haven’t figured it out, why not just ask the bees?

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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 (PD):

PD writes: “A tree grows in Brooklyn’s botanical garden.” Relatable.

Readers, thanks for reducing my angst!

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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. shinola

        Thanks for the link WM.

        I think most NC readers would enjoy the George Carlin clip from the article (it;s only 3 min. long). I do miss Carlin.

        1. Richard

          Me too.
          Jimmy Dore references that quote a lot :)
          If you could somehow take a picture of “2018”, that would be the caption, for my money.

        2. WM (was Whoa Molly!)

          Thanks shinola

          I remember hearing Carlin years ago when he did a “big club” piece, and thinking “wow, this guy is out there! Its not that bad!”

          Now he sounds like a clear eyed realist. I suspect the Clintons saw the situation years ago and said “We’re going to get in the club!”

          And they did.

  1. Synoia

    DNA shows girl had one Neanderthal, one Denisovan parent Ars Technica

    To anyone who has been a functioning Teenager, or in their 20s, that comes as no surprise.

    File under “Who could have known…?”

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The key to to her survival to adulthood would have been their mixed parents staying together through thick and thin, without divorcing each other, no matter how intolerable the situation was, I assume.

      I wonder what the ancient custom was when one of the two parents died early.

      And without modern birth control, how many children did a couple have on average?

      1. Lee

        I don’t think that couples or single parents raising kids on their own was a thing back then. Among hunter-gatherers prolonged nursing is assumed to have forestalled subsequent pregnancies. And then there is maternal and infant mortality to consider. But this may not have been the problem we moderns tend to assume as our HG ancestors were a more physically robust lot than are we and diseases associated with domesticated animals and high population density were yet to plague our kind.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            They were socialists…or just social.

            And no separation or divorce, usually. Ostracism when necessary, presumably.

      2. clarky90

        The gist of what I have been figuring out during my “sunset years”;

        Our big brains have made some of us (the “thought leaders”) very good at rationalizing any “innovative, revolutionary, GREAT idea” that pops into their consciousness. The Mr and Ms Clevvers think tanks….The Wile E Coyote Lawyers who argue and win, for the most heinous guilty criminals.

        However, our “disruptions” are up against 3,500,000,000 years of life-itself figuring out how to practically (so that life works!) live.

        “For what will it profit a man or woman, if they gain the whole world, but lose their own souls?”

        I interpret “soul” to also refer to Gaia or life-itself.

        I watched my father (PhD x 2), habitually, argue and bully himself out of any contradiction, during his long life. (He was a good guy, just foolish imo). He died a pathetic death, hooked up to every machine imaginable; Tranquilized, drugged-up.

        He had been unhealthy for years, and had never done anything about it. He was a Professor of Medicine, with a pat answer for every every question.

        There is an order to our lives. Logos.

        We can ignore it using our free choice. BUT, ignoring logos doesn’t weaken or negate it.

        Don Juan (Castaneda) said “Nature tends to replace rather than repair.”

        So, I agree. Families and communities are a good idea that have been tested by time. They are, on average, winners, over the long run!

  2. a different chris

    > And then on to… currency manipulation. What about industrial policy?

    And I feel you missed another one of our pet irritations, Groaf:

    >We must increase our exports, and that can’t happen unless we can save and grow American manufacturing.”

    We have plenty of people and plenty of s(family blog)t. Distribution is certainly off, but that’s a different problem. We need enough manufacturing to replace things either when they cannot help but wear out (shoes) or they suck and simply need to go away (coal power plants).

    1. todde

      What about fiscal policy? Raise the income tax on investment income for foreigners.

      Do we need more foreign investors or more foreign consumers? If the answer is more foreign consumers why do we give a tax break to foreign investors on income from American financial assets?

      1. sierra7

        I don’t see any future increase in “manufacturing” jobs in the US unless the US labor force becomes that which our manufacturers fled the country for: The lowest paid labor force in the world. Anything else in my opinion is silly dreaming.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          Germans aren’t the lowest-paid labor force in the world. Neither are Japanese. Or even South Koreans. How are they doing the industry they do?

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      That policy advice was exactly backwards. We don’t need more exports. What we need is less imports. We need to make again here the things we used to make here.

      Ideally we would be exporting and importing as little as possible in order to keep a socially healthy semi-autarkic national political-economy functioning.

        1. drumlin woodchuckles

          It took decades to build up domestic industry. It would take decades to restore it. We would have to rigidly protectionize our economy in order to do so . . . sector by sector by sector maybe.
          It would be impossible instantly. But it would be possible over decades starting whenever the near-unanimous decision to do so is made by an unstoppable super-majority of citizens.

          If we DON’T re-industrialize-for-domestic-use, then we should prepare to live the way millions of murdered mill-town citizens are already living, on despair and drugs till they die quickly.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Is the prize winning elections, in the US, or even worldwide?

      I would like to see ‘bringing concrete material benefits to the little people,’ as the prize, and if there need to be some intermediate steps, we should never forget to mention the primary goal.

    2. JohnnyGL

      The strategists don’t want to win elections…they want to ensure channels to the donor class stay as wide open as possible to maximize the money flows so they can scrape fees. If they win, that’s just a bonus.

  3. fresno dan


    Wright is from Akron. He was married to a woman for 16 years. They divorced and later she passed away. Then in 2009, Wright said he filed for his Social Security benefits talking with a staff member at the Akron office.

    “He said this famous statement. ‘Well, who do you want to collect your benefits from?’” Wright recalled. He said the man offered him either his own benefits or his ex-wife’s benefits. “What he should have said was ‘Well, you know you’re entitled to collect your survivor widower’s benefits first,’” said Wright.


    § 416.351. Deemed filing date in a case of misinformation.
    (a) General. You may have considered applying for SSI benefits for yourself or for another person, and you may have contacted us in writing, by telephone or in person to inquire about filing an application for these benefits. It is possible that in responding to your inquiry, we may have given you misinformation about your eligibility for such benefits, or the eligibility of the person on whose behalf you were considering applying for benefits, which caused you not to file an application at that time. If this happened, and later an application for such benefits is filed with us, we may establish an earlier filing date under this section.
    I used to think I had a good handle on my upcoming social security and medicare benefits, but I am thinking that effort paging through the regulations is wasted and investing in a well regarded and experienced benefits attorney would be a far wiser use of my time

    1. Mike Mc

      Fresno Dan, there is a booming business in exactly this.

      As we edge toward retirement (me in a couple years, wife has to wait longer due to her DOB) our financial advisor tries to keep us from freaking out. There are numerous books to help you navigate the SS and Medicare morass, and plenty of seminars which I am deeply skeptical of thanks to some years in marketing then sales.

      No idea how accurate any of the above might be, though I suspect authors and book publishers want to avoid being sued by angry retirees who took their advice and wound up under the bus… or under the overpass.

      We’ve taken to touching base with our accountant and attorney both as well as our finance guy every quarter just in case Trump, the GOP or Congress decide to change important rules. While a die-hard Berniecrat, I’m happy to have had a serious “Trump bump” in one particular large-cap mutual fund in 2017 that said finance guy could diversify into many other safer places… but even he can’t tell us when soybean prices will cover from their “Trump slump”!

      White people problems, yes, but when fairly ordinary petit bourgeois like our family have to repeatedly solicit professional advice just to not go broke in a two income American family… grr.

      1. RUKidding

        Fortunately, I don’t think I’ll go broke (although it’s always possible), but I agree that navigating through Medicare and SSN is a bear.

        I am still employed FT and getting full benefits from my employer, so I only have Medicare Part A (free) until I retire. But I made darn sure that I jumped thru numerous hoops before I turned 65 to ensure (hopefully) that I won’t get charged add’l fees when I do finally move onto Medicare Part B (or C or whatever). I took some classes, all of which were were “ok” but not great. Read a bunch of stuff online (bring a bag of salt with you), talked to different people and also worked my way through the process with a friend. We also both made in person appointments at Soc Sec to make sure we did the right thing and get letters for our file. Took quite a lot of time.

        Not ready yet for SS; will probably collect at age 70. Don’t have any special circumstances that would make me eligible for anything different. But will still need to do research. It’s certainly not easy, I can tell you.

  4. NotTimothyGeithner

    As the article by Steve Israel, Joe Biden would want to go where he would have an impact, so I imagine he didn’t do much campaigning. Biden “innately” connected with these communities. The phrasing can be true.

    1. Pat

      IOW, Steve was doing the same bang up job of selling Joe Biden to the voting public he had done with the Congressional candidates of 2012, 2014, and 2016. That strategy of telling a small portion of truth while ignoring the reality that the opposite is actually how it is works so well there is no reason to change.

      I take heart in knowing that Uncle Joe has as good a shot at the White House as I do. Now if only Steve would start selling Andy Cuomo….

      1. foghorn longhorn

        Triple dog dare that old fool biden to run.
        Much like the clintons, his whole career is one failed bit.
        Run joe run

      1. JohnnySacks

        The opposition writes itself, and god forbid Mr. “He’s not even a Democrat!” takes to rubbing Joltin’ Joe’s nose in it every chance he gets. The merde’s gonna fly, deservedly so, because when they discourage the youth demographic, well, who’s left?

  5. Steve H.

    > sticking to my story

    Thanks for the recollection. iirc, the core causal factor was identifiable with foreclosure rates. The best I could find to back up that assertion was Sarah Edelman tying it with negative equity rates. Any better metrics would be appreciated.

    I note, in my college town, between 2010 & 2016 median household income dropped 10%. And infant mortalilty went up 13% nationally.

    Those are hard numbers. And that is all on the last administration. Status quo rejected.

  6. JohnnyGL

    Re: Clinton email story from RealClearInvestigations

    Wow lots of bombshell material in there. 2016 is the election that will never end!

    The Clintons seem so ungrateful about how much covering the FBI did for them! :)

  7. readerOfTeaLeaves

    IMVHO, Pelosi needs to ‘fall on her sword’ and retire.

    The Millenials are not going to turn out in droves for more bailouts, continued inaction on climate change, and endless college debt simply because Nancy has good manners and never raises her voice.

    If the Dems want to win, they need to face the hard truth that everyone else faces: at some point, it is essential to have the smarts and skill to make a graceful exit. The sooner she, Steny Hoyer, and Schumer make that transition, the better for the Dems. Smart people, IMVHO, know when to ‘fall on their swords’.

    Let younger voices be the public faces of the Dems, because we all need to move on.

    And FWIW, with the news that David Pecker has now agreed to ‘flip’ and dish on Trump, there’s no more time for the Dems to screw around. Buckle in, with a huge bag of popcorn —

    (Twitter is hysterical with Pecker puns today ;-)

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      She has long passed the time where she deserves that dignity. She needs to be defeated and seen to be defeated. Churchill was allowed to resign and enlist after Gallipoli, but in this scenario, Pelosi was among those responsible for the 2014 and 2016 Gallipolis after the 2010 one.

      The whole Democratic establishment doesn’t deserve this dignity. Asking them to make way is waste. They’ve demonstrated they are diseased flesh on the body politic. Pelosi needs to be AOCed.

        1. Duck1

          She will be replaced by the SF Democratic machine, of course. They own that town. (former long term resident)

          1. Jean


            Diane Feinstein’s judge daughter is about to draw social security. Sounds like an opportunity for her.

            Of course in light of S.F. politics, a transgender activist would be a better selection, but would it play in Peoria?

            p.s. I worked on the (Joe) Alioto campaign back in the day.

            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              Would that transgender activist support Free Trade? Or oppose it?

              If that transgender activist supported NAFTA, then yes . . . that transgender activist would definitely not play in Peoria.

        2. Darius

          Pelosi retiring would expose what a hollow shell the Democrats are. Three is no credible replacement. The top job of a leader is to cultivate other leaders. In this she has failed utterly. But the party abhors leadership because it has no goals and likes it that way. Ripe for hostile takeover. An acrimonious power struggle. There’s no other way forward.

          1. Richard

            Think of all the effort it must take to maintain a political career with absolutely no goals or vision. With absolutely NOTHING to offer. I am awed by that kind of corrupt energy. fueled no doubt by a bottomless sense of entitlement.

              1. foghorn longhorn

                That is what they said about Mrs. Raygun back in her Hollywood days, but I think it was in a different meaning.

          2. Darthbobber

            I will give Pelosi SOME limited credit. During the critical first two years of the Obama administration, she judged the Republicans much more accurately than the allegedly omniscient Obama did, and pushed for a somewhat more aggressive legislative agenda than her Pres was willing to go for. Ultimately, at the decisive points, she toed the line. And here we are. (Even post-2010 debacle, Pelosi was willing to take the shutdown threat and have the brawl then, as opposed to O-man’s pursuit of the grand bargain followed by acceptance of the sequestration lunacy.)

            Then there’s the negative side of the ledger, which would take vastly more space than the above did.

            1. Procopius

              I have always believed Obama sincerely wanted the “grand bargain.” In January, 2009, he had a dinner with conservative opinion writers, and announced to them that he really, really believed it is essential to “reform entitlements.”

        3. drumlin woodchuckles

          Put the speaker-wannabes in a room with one axe, and lock them in. Let whoever comes out alive be the speaker.

          1. foghorn longhorn

            We should do that for every political office.
            We honor our blood thirsty past and eliminate the pretenders at the same time.
            Dilly dilly

        4. NotTimothyGeithner

          Allowing a politician such as Pelosi to retire is a dignity, she doesn’t deserve. She needs to be forced out and publicly humiliated as a message to what failure leads to. They get great rewards for being in office.

          She should have retired in 2010.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Let younger voices be the public faces of the Dems

      It’s entirely possible that the younger voices (e.g., Seth Moulton) would be worse than Pelosi.

      I’m sick to death of people reasoning from ascriptive identity to the desireability of this or that candidate. It’s vomit inducing. Every single politician or apparatchik holding power today was young, once. Cheney and Rumsfeld were youthful during in the Ford administration, and they did a lot of damage even back then.

      Wait ’til the Republicans clever up and run a young Trump without any of the baggage. Then talk to me about “younger voices.”

      1. Steely Glint

        Totally agree. Politics & political maneuvering takes a mind that can deal with congressional rules, schematics, and an ability to lead. Leadership is not a generic term, but rather a studied art (ask the military which invests heavily in the art although some complain that the it needs updating). Too bad the dems don’t do mentoring very well, therefore don’t have a deep bench.

        1. Steely Glint

          Having said that, Mark Pocan comes to mind. I’m always impressed by his ability to marshal facts & present them in an engaging manner, also an important voice for the Progressive caucus. If it matters (not) born 1964, openly gay, and joined ALEC to investigate them & wrote about them saying they’re a corporate dating service for lonely legislators .

        2. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          Learned all i needed from ArmyStudyGuide.com

          I won the ‘Board’ lol

          Ive forgotten the number (350-6?) of the FM – field manual- but ill never forget the definitions of Tact and Resiliency, two qualities i find extremely lacking in civilian managers.

      2. readerOfTeaLeaves

        Your point is a good one. Meanwhile, my kids and their friends are saying, “Why the hell should I vote for anyone who has been in Congress longer than I’ve been alive?!”

        To them, Pelosi-Schumer and Ryan-McConnell are two sides of a coin that reeks of corruption; and whose salary, benefits, and Cadillac government retirement will come out of their paychecks. Nancy’s clear e-l-o-c-u-t-i-o-n isn’t going to change that dynamic.

        These 20-and-30-somethings have seen foreign wars, bickering, gridlock, threats of government shutdowns, budget cuts, and general nastiness their entire lives. Pelosi is painted with the dysfunction of years of gridlock in DC, and although it is not her fault, she is associated with those failures. She is also associated with bailouts, which is political poison.

        Someone younger might create problems; Paul Ryan is younger, and he’s not worth a nickel.
        Cheney and Rumsfeld were diabolical.

        But at some point, we need to see a generational shift.
        I believe this election is extremely important, and if it means that a few people need to step aside to rob the GOP of ammo, leaving McConnell exposed as a mendacious fraud, so much the better.

        1. Hamford

          IMHO there’s a reason the “let the young take over” trope has emerged in the mainstream. It will come quite in handy for a Corey Booker or Kirsten Gillibrand vs. a Bernie Sanders. Heck, maybe even an aging Joe Biden will suddenly “drop out” saying “It’s time to let the youth take over”, while endorsing a Booker, Gillibrand, Harris on his way out. I am very wary of these calls for a generational shift… its framing in the works now to be used against Bernie in 2020. Let’s focus on policy, lest we think that a Corey Booker is any better than a Nancy Pelosi.

        2. flora

          re: generational shift.
          But what, you know, will be shifting; the reins of corrupt politics to younger corrupt hands? Or something better?

        3. drumlin woodchuckles

          Back when she was younger, Pelosi strongly supported NAFTA and MFN for China and I believe she supported WTO membership “for” America as well.

          So she helped create the poverty-America your kids and their friends get to grow up in. Perhaps she deserves their hatred for that.

          1. Darius

            She publicly opposed Fast Track while behind the scenes making sure just enough Democrats voted for it to ensure passage. Classic Pelosi treachery. Classic Obama treachery too.

  8. dcblogger

    What Atrios said:

    It’s filled with white supremacists and sadists who understandably don’t think there are any limits on or accountability for their behavior. Burning (metaphorically) the whole thing to the ground is the only way. …

    … I don’t want to hear any Democrats talk about modestly changing the mission parameters blahblahblah. What’s going on are crimes against humanity – not to mention blatant violations of US law which our system is unwilling and unable to deal with. Just close all of the doors and send everybody home to spend the rest of their lives wondering when their day of justice will come (it never will, of course).

    we are the nation of baby prisons and Gitmo.

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      we are the nation of baby prisons and Gitmo.

      Aren’t both of those part of the Obama legacy? Are Democrats going to run on closing Gitmo again?

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        The Gitmo part is a Cheney-Bush legacy which Obama kept going. I believe the Congress passed a law that not one Gitmo detainee would be allowed to be relocated to a facility in America. Never Ever. So the Congress helped make Gitmo harder to close. That said, Obama didn’t try very hard by any other means.

          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            I have come to think of Presidents Clinton, Bush and Obama as 3 landings in a long fall down the stairs.

            I have tried thinking how to combine parts of their names into one name suggestive of their whole period. The best I can do is Clintobusha. The Clintobusha presidents. The Clintobusha years. ( If one locates the hard drive to Free Trade as starting with Carter and Reagan, one could speak of the Carter-Reagan Clintobusha Presidents . . . the Free Trade Presidents.)

  9. Summer

    Democrats are worried about young voters, however, the massive, mindblowing youth turnout has never materialized.
    Based on history, the Dems turn out masses of black, single women. Do they even have that on lockdown?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      If the good guys could take over the D party, should they

      1. take advantage of those machines


      2. defenestrate them?

      1. Richard

        I think Dixon’s point is that the “good guys” can’t win because of the machine power, the institutional support of church and ngos with historical and $ ties to right wing dems.
        Machine politics is inherently corrupt (by my definition anyway), relying on patronage/personal, “favor” based relationships to function. By its nature, this works against movement politics, or politics for the many.
        I don’t see any reason why churches and non-profit NGOs couldn’t support a popular political movement. They just don’t appear to do that in Missouri.

  10. Richard

    When Warren says things like “I believe in markets” and when an aide assures us “she loves markets” (emphasis author’s), I hope she realizes that doesn’t jibe with the lawyerly, policy oriented, empiric image she’s also trying hard to cultivate. It’s an effing religion Liz. Get over it. When it comes to the resources people need to survive, housing, water, health care and education, I am heartily f#*&ing sick of hearing the word “market”. And I don’t think I’m alone. Try another perspective.

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      I don’t much like the “I believe in…” construction either. I grew up in the “I don’t believe in seatbelts era”. “No, they’re real, look, look right there!”

    2. ChrisPacific

      I don’t like that word “believe” either. I agree it has an uncomfortably religious connotation. Economics isn’t religion (well it is at present, but it shouldn’t be). It makes about as much sense to be for or against markets as it does to be for or against fire, or gravity, or taxation. Context matters.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        The Puritan Legacy, and the legacy of other Religious groups, rests hot and heavy upon the language.

      2. Jeremy Grimm

        Ugh! Do you really want to say that? :
        “It makes about as much sense to be for or against markets as it does to be for or against fire, or gravity, or taxation.”
        Gravity is a geometric property of space. Fire is a chemical reaction requiring reactants. Taxation is a government demand, which can sometimes be evaded or avoided — unlike death. Markets are a theoretical construct fond to some economists. As a variant of the old joke about the essay question regarding the universe — try to define a market and then give one real-life example. Then try to fall up.

        I’m not sure whether I agree or disagree with your views on Warren because I’m not sure I understand what they are. For me, Warren saying she believes in markets definitely contrasts with Sanders calling himself a Socialist. Neoliberals also believe in Markets. Just how do Warren’s ‘markets’ differ? I still feel the Berne and I remember Warren standing “Stronger Together” with Hillery — a little too closely for my liking.

        1. ChrisPacific

          You’re correct that I wouldn’t go as far as you and declare markets to be imaginary. In certain conditions and circumstances they are quite real and relevant, and they describe some situations very well. If you were a retailer, for example, taking the position that there was no such thing as markets would be quite as dangerous as it would be for a mountain climber to deny the existence of gravity. They are nowhere near as immutable or wonderful as people say they are, and they can be manipulated in a variety of ways and used for both constructive and destructive purposes (just like the three other examples I gave) but they most certainly exist, and you ignore them at your peril. I can recall arguing with people who thought that selling naked put options was a good strategy because they’d tried it for a while and found it to be profitable, even though they had no idea how to value the risk they were assuming.

    3. Darthbobber

      Interestingly, Sanders could perfectly well say “I believe in markets” if he wanted to, since he’d be leaving them in place for most business. Its not as if he were proposing to replace them with a centralized planning bureaucracy presiding over nationalized firms.

      Warren does place vastly more reliance on a “Market” (theological concepts deserve caps), purged of its various impurities than Sanders does. For things that he categorizes as public goods (education, healthcare), he moves away from the market as ideal model. Though only to the extent of establishing a single-payer monopsony.

  11. Oregoncharles

    ““DNA shows girl had one Neanderthal, one Denisovan parent””

    So the people there at the time didn’t think they were different species, and you can say the same for “modern human” hybrids. Considering that, it’s increasingly nonsensical to say that they were.

    Mind you, there’s a rice bowl factor; paleontologists have a career stake in discovering and naming new species.

    1. witters

      The now deceased anthropologist David M. Schneider lived for a time with an interesting people, the Yap who seemed to have no conception of sexual reproduction – in humans. When he tried to show them wrong – or let them know he knew they were pulling his leg – they had his measure. “Look,’ he said (or something like that, ‘you breed pigs! You know how piglets come about! They responded with outraged incredulity, “But we are not pigs!”

  12. marym

    New Yorker 8/22/2018

    The [zero tolerance] policy, which called for the criminal prosecution of anyone crossing the border illegally, and led to the separation of more than twenty-five hundred children from their parents, has coincided with a broader effort to dismantle the U.S. asylum system. Yet the government never had a plan for keeping track of the separated parents and children once they were in custody…

    …a former government official told me, the prime movers behind zero tolerance were members of a “cabal of anti-immigration guys” at the White House, the D.H.S., and the Department of Justice. Stephen Miller and a Justice Department adviser named Gene Hamilton led the discussion, the former official said. “They want to have a different America, and they’re succeeding. Now they’re doubling down—they’re making another run at lowering the number of refugees who are admitted to the United States.”

    I asked the current Administration official whether the outcry over family separation had caught the government by surprise. It had, the official said. “The expectation was that the kids would go to the Office of Refugee Resettlement, that the parents would get deported, and that no one would care.” Yet, when it became clear that the public did, the Administration chose not to change course.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I’ve read that international adoptions by Americans have dropped by 81% since 2004 and by 2022 they will be at an end. It has not escaped my notice that if you have all these young kids separated from their parents, that potentially you would have a pool of kids that would be eventually available to become adoptees. An advantage would be that they are already in America and would not have to be processed to be brought into the country.

  13. marym

    The Atlantic 8/23/2018

    There is no “large-scale killing” of white farmers in South Africa. The government, led by the African National Congress and President Cyril Ramaphosa, is not currently dispossessing white farmers of entire countrysides’ worth of farmland. Claims that either of these things are happening are false. Claims that both are happening are part of well-worn white-nationalist talking points designed expressly to sound a global alarm of “white genocide,” recall the days of apartheid, and slander black people as savage, bloodthirsty, and unfit to lead.

    Good news, then. President Trump made both of those claims on Twitter Wednesday night, apparently after watching an episode of Tucker Carlson’s show on Fox News.

    This is perhaps Trump’s most explicit appropriation of a white-nationalist trope yet. It’s unclear whether he really appreciates what he’s saying, or whether he has any understanding of South African politics beyond what he watched on television. But what is clear is that the Trump administration and its wing of the Republican Party are the chief launderers of white-supremacist and white-nationalist ideas in America today.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      There is no “large-scale killing” of white farmers in South Africa. The government, led by the African National Congress and President Cyril Ramaphosa, is not currently dispossessing white farmers of entire countrysides’ worth of farmland. Claims that either of these things are happening are false

      Is it the writer or the lack of supporting fact that no stronger refutation is made?

      What if someone gets the wrong idea that it is not large scale, but only medium scale?

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          It looks like it’s on the writer on that one.

          The remaining question is, is it the entire countrysides’ worth of farmland, or, say, 10%, 20% or 75% of the entire countrysides’ worth of farmland, or 10%, 20% or 75% of white farmers’ farmland?

          All we are told is it is not the entire countrysides’ worth of farmland.

        1. marym

          The Guardian March 2018

          However, Gareth Newham at the Institute for Security Studies, one of South Africa’s leading authorities on crime statistics, said there was no evidence to support the notion that white farmers were targeted more than anyone else in the country.

          “In fact, young black males living in poor urban areas like Khayelitsha and Lange face a far greater risk of being murdered. The murder rate there is between 200 and 300 murders per 100,000 people,” he said. Even the highest estimates of farm murders stand at 133 per 100,000 people, and that includes both black and white murder victims.

          Fact-checking organisation Africa Check, in a detailed report on the subject of farm murders in general – not just of white farmers – suggested that another credible estimate of the farm murder rate could be as low as 0.4 murders per 100,000 people. But it too concluded that an accurate figure is “near impossible” to determine.

          Interesting point about immigrants revitalizing our country – contrary to other reports of rural areas being opposed to immigration:

          Concerns about working immigrants. Most rural white residents (65%) say American workers are being hurt by the growing number of immigrants working in the U.S., compared with about half of urban (48%) and suburban (52%) white residents. Among whites, both rural men and women (65% for both groups) are more likely than urban men (46%) and women (49%) or their suburban counterparts (55% and 49%, respectively) to say immigration has a negative impact on workers.

      1. marym

        Would that white supremacists and the US president required as much documentation and clarification of their claims as MLTPB demands of us all… :)

        Here’s a Vox explainer of some of the contentious land reform issues, and crime statistics, with additional links.

  14. Summer

    “Sadly, the market now having corporatizes, it’s unlikely they’ll be rewarded with the fruits of their labor.”

    Aren’t wars about gerting rid of the competition? Why woukd the drug war be any different?

  15. anon

    In other words, the Calfifornia Democrats corporatized the cannabis business. I’m shocked

    I would add the words Bipartisan effort to that also. I wouldn’t be in the least surprised if, among other Republicans who comingle with Democrats behind closed doors in California, George P. Shultz (see [BiPartisan, San Francisco] Semper Fi Surprise for George Shultz
    http://www.7×7.com/semper-fi-surprise-for-george-shultz-1779419399.html ), of: War Monger; Bechtel President; Iran Contra arms and cocaine running; Hoover Institute; G. W. Bush [and Kamala Harris] Acolyte; Major Theranos Director/Investor infamy, has already long since invested — behind closed doors — in putting all of the small growers out of business.

    My first thought, over ten years ago years ago, when — from his Blue!™ San Francisco domicile —he started opining on legalizing the drug industry, was that he was planning on making Serious Bank from the industry, while putting the multitude of smaller cannabis growers utterly out of business.

    1. foghorn longhorn

      The big tobacco folks trademarked all the old school weed names back in the 70s and 80s.
      Panama Red, Acapulco Gold, etc.
      If you build it, they will come…
      and steal it.

  16. RUKidding

    Response to dcblogger

    “we are the nation of baby prisons and Gitmo.”
    ndeed, all while attempting to force women to give birth, no matter what the circumstances.

    The irony, needless to say, is that the blessed sacred fetus has more rights the newly born who could easily be tossed in a cage and told to STFU (as some ICE staff have been heard to say).

    Go figure.

  17. Darius

    Russia Russia Russia is obscuring the blatant Republican theft of the elections in Georgia and Kansas. Democrats don’t care about that. They don’t actually want power. Then they’d have to do something.

    1. Olga

      Yes, I think the party as of the time of the Bill & Hill show serves as nothing more than a barrier to progressive candidates and a money pot for the untold droves of consultants (who otherwise would have to find a real job).

    2. Summer

      What do you think would happen first:
      1)The EZ actually help Greece
      2)The Democratic Party gets reformed from within

      If you don’t answer, understood. It’s atrick question. Neither is going to happen.

  18. Divadab

    Re: the 420 and the fate of old school pot growers:

    “These are the “innovators” and “disruptors” who made the cannabis market. Sadly, the market now having corporatizes, it’s unlikely they’ll be rewarded with the fruits of their labor.”

    You got that right.

  19. Angie Neer

    Caucasian Wingnut: I was sure this was a photoshopped put-on, but dang, it shows up on a lot of legitimate tree sites! Good to know that the next time I get called one, I can point to that picture and say “no, that’s a Caucasian Wingnut!”

  20. harry

    A 500-mile range is fine for shorter delivery routes but diesel trucks typically go much further before refueling, sometimes more than 2,000 miles. Also, some drivers get paid by the mile, and wouldn’t make money while batteries recharge.”

    How many drivers drive one truck? Cos doesnt a driver have to stop anyway to sleep occasionally? Its not like the trucks can go much faster than 65 miles an hour is it? So either this is wrong, or there are driving shifts and truckers sleep in the cabs till their partner wakes them up and tells them to take over. Or perhaps the idea is that, yes they do stop, wander around, have a snack etc. But they couldnt put the truck into a Tesla charging station cos ….. it takes too long?

    I dont get it.

    1. ambrit

      There is a mandated maximum of hours a driver can operate a truck in any twentyfour hour period. Hence, driving teams, often husband and wife. The trucks get where they must as quickly as they can. Since the ‘independent’ drivers get paid by the mile, this is rational revenue maximization behaviour. So, if an electric truck must stop for hours to recharge the batteries, expect to see replaceable battery packs. Just pull in to a recharging station and swap out the battery pack. Back on the road in minutes. It is just a technical challenge and can easily be solved, and probably pretty cheaply too. One significant improvement in battery technology and this game will be feasible.

  21. VietnamVet

    Weiner’s laptop filled with unexamined Clinton e-mails contradicts James Comey’s Congressional testimony.

    Why hasn’t Donald Trump appointed a Special Counsel to investigate James Comey, John Brennan, Bruce Ohr, Peter Strzok and Christopher Steele? Google says the President can. He acts like he needs Jeff Sessions to do it. Perhaps that’s why the President is pissed off at the Attorney General. Fox News and his staff must be studiously avoiding the subject of Presidential powers. Instead, the Cabinet sings praises of the Great Leader’s triumphs.

  22. Wukchumni

    Just returned from the back of beyond and what a great backpack trip!

    We did a great loop of Franklin Lake, Franklin Pass, Forester Lake, Little Claire Lake (the prettiest lake in Mineral King in my opinion) Lower Lost Canyon, Upper Lost Canyon, Columbine Lake, Sawtooth Pass, and Monarch Lakes and back from whence we came.

    Had a 6 point buck hanging around camp for an hour licking up my urine on the ground this morning, it likes me-it really likes me.

    Anything happen in the world of note?

    1. Wombat

      The mountain goats in CO are quite fond of urine as well. The salt, they crave of course. They nearly drink straight off the spigot, necessitating urinating on rock slabs to prevent them from digging up all the above tree line fauna.

  23. Olga

    “Iraq could be seen as a policy debacle, hence not impeachable.”
    I really do have to take issue with that statement. Iraq war was based on deliberate lies and was planned from the very beginning of shrub’s administration (was it not his first Treasury Sec. who in his book wrote that it was discussed already in Jan.?). A family of a dead soldier should have pushed for impeachment or some sort of justice. If we explain it away in terms of “oh, oops, it’s just policy,” then the word justice loses all meaning.

    1. The Rev Kev

      I agree Olga. If only the Germans on trial in Nuremberg back in ’46 could have turned around and said no, these were not international war crimes as has been stated but a policy debacle by the late country’s leader. And for the millions of those killed? Irrelevant as a soldier once said, nobody listens to the protests of the dead.

      1. RMO

        Well, the U.S. and U.K have, in the fallout from Iraq redux basically said that the old Nuremberg defense “I was only following orders” is now an acceptable defense (at least as long as your atrocities are committed against acceptable targets). Actually, now it goes even further than just keeping one who commits crimes against humanity out of the cell or off of the gallows – it’s not even allowed to interfere with the upward trajectory of one’s career. We’ve come a long way baby.

  24. HotFlash

    Aha, once again educated here! I can now drop ‘teu’ into conversations at cocktail parties, should I ever be invited to one. And you can, too! It is Twenty Foot Equivalency Unit = a standard 20′ container or the volume of cargo that could have been shipped therein, as in the case of air freight.

    Damn, I love this place.

  25. ChristopherJ

    For those interested, it’s 12.30 pm here in Australia and secret ballot is happening in a room in Parliament house to determine the next prime minister. Scott Morrison, Julie Bishop and Peter Dutton are the contenders

    1. The Rev Kev

      Yep. It’s Scott Morrison. Yay? Swapping leaders several months out from a Federal election is never a good idea and the Labour party has sworn never to let that happen again. And now the Liberals are doing the exact same thing? Again? It’s like the Liberals cannot help but deliver sparkle pony after sparkle pony to the Labour party here for next year’s election.

      1. ChrisPacific

        It’s like the Australian equivalent of the Ides of March. Maybe it’s the curse of Tony Abbott. I see his shambling corpse is still wandering around despite the best efforts of everyone to pretend otherwise.

        1. The Rev Kev

          You wonder if Peter Dutton had won, whether Tony Abbott would have been offered the deputy prime ministership. I noticed that Abbott gave an interview immediately after Dutton had given his statement.

        2. skippy

          ***Property Council*** alumnus Scott Morrison has been elected as new the Prime Minister of Australia.

  26. Darthbobber

    Joe Biden is the best hope for the Republican Party in 2020. And I’ve seen the reality of a Joe Biden presidential campaign twice in my lifetime. The first time he resonated so deeply that he had already been left in the dust by that mighty juggernaut Michael Dukakis before the Iowa caucus. The next outing he actually lasted until Iowa, badly lagging Obama, Clinton and Edwards. He’s vastly better as Ed McMahon that as Johnny Carson.

  27. bruce wilder

    competent statewide election security teams

    I immediately thought of praetorian guards, the troops who evolved from a guard for Roman emperors into assassins of emperors.

    And then you had the security test that looked like a hack.

  28. D. Des Chene

    The bees haven’t solved the real “Travelling Salesman Problem” or anything like it. See Robert Quigley’s refutation of these exaggerated claims. The five sites visited by the bees were arranged in a pentagon; the experimenters moved one (or more) flowers and showed that the bees minimize their effort over the resulting network. The TSP requires a solution for networks having any finite number of nodes and with any weights (= costs, mileage) assigned to the edges of the graph. That problem remains unsolved. Quigley, with good reason, blames the press release (not the paper itself, available here) for implying that the bees, whose feat is impressive enough when correctly described, have solved the TSP.

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