2:00PM Water Cooler 8/31/2018

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Readers, another running-errands debacle means I got a late start; more in a bit. –lambert


“Bombshell leak to Toronto Star upends NAFTA talks: In secret ‘so insulting’ remarks, Trump says he isn’t compromising at all with Canada” [Toronto Star]. “High-stakes trade negotiations between Canada and the U.S. were dramatically upended on Friday morning by inflammatory secret remarks from President Donald Trump, after the remarks were obtained by the Toronto Star. In remarks Trump wanted to be ‘off the record,’ Trump told Bloomberg News reporters on Thursday, according to a source, that he is not making any compromises at all in the talks with Canada — but that he cannot say this publicly because ‘it’s going to be so insulting they’re not going to be able to make a deal.'”

“Is there even such a thing as a ‘Made in America’ vehicle anymore?” [CBC]. By Betteridge’s Law, no. That’s the point! More: “One of the most popular vehicles in the United States is a perfect example of why it would be so hard and so destructive to impose tariffs on Canadian-made cars in the name of protecting American ones. The Toyota RAV4 — the bestselling non-truck in America — is made in Woodstock, Ont. In fact, 247,633 of them were made there last year. The process to build each one is an intricate dance of manufacturers and suppliers in multiple countries, with hundreds of trucks a day crossing borders back and forth between Canada, the United States and Mexico to deliver parts.” And more:

  • The engines are shipped from West Virginia and Alabama.
  • The transmissions are made by a supplier in North Carolina.
  • The seats are built in Elmira in southwestern Ontario.
  • But that supplier brings in wire harnesses from Mexico and metal brackets from Kentucky.
  • The sunroof and door frames are made in Stratford, Ont., with parts coming from all over North America.

Sound sustainable. Assuming cars are sustainable, of course.

“Plenty to sort through regarding the future fate of NAFTA” [Logistics Management]. “In an interview, [Chris Rogers, research director for global trade intelligence firm Panjiva] said that the auto part being sorted is a huge positive while expressing caution about Canada. ‘Canada has to be brought into the tent and Trump does not have the authority under TPA (trade promotion authority) for a Mexico bilateral,’ he said. ‘However, if Canada does want a quick deal its main ‘give up’ needs to be in dairy, where it accounts for just 8% of American imports (milk powder and cheese are the keys). Canada and Mexico have to reconcile their NAFTA and CPTPP (Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership) commitments to each other and autos is a huge part of their bilateral relationship.’ Rogers also noted that it’s not clear all the U.S.-Mexico controversies are sorted, as there’s no mention of energy.” • Quebec has 5,766 dairy farms, followed by Ontario, with 3,834.

The legislative calendar:

Maybe there ought to be fewer cellphones, and more dumb phones, too:

And the article: “Trade wars won’t fix globalization. Here’s why” [Council on Foreign Relations“] “We asked policy experts and business leaders: how can countries really reap the economic and social benefits of [Global Value Chains (GVCs)], while avoiding inequality and environmental damage?” • Forty years too late… More: “Short-sighted, protectionist measures ignore and erode the opportunities that GVCs provide for driving inclusive and sustainable growth and do nothing to optimize outcomes.” • I read the thing, twice, and if there’s anything in this about the impact of “GVCs” on the United States working class, I didn’t see it. That’s not to say that the Administration’s policies will help them; just the the CFR and the “policy experts and business leaders” won’t either. Expect continued volatity (and plenty of heart-rending stories, around Xmas time, of how brutal tariff policies are denying toys to little children).



66 days until Election Day. 66 days is a long time in politics.

FL Governor: “How Andrew Gillum Can Replicate His Staggering Democratic Primary Win in November” [Slate]. “This clash with the NRA became central to Gillum’s gubernatorial campaign mythology, and for good reason: It seemed to prove that the candidate was no opportunistic newcomer to the progressive wing of the Democratic Party. Gillum’s strong, early stance on gun control proved particularly helpful in the primary: In light of the Parkland shooting and the Pulse massacre…. For most of the race, however, Gillum’s campaign was broke. He spent little money on TV as his opponents blanketed the airwaves with ads. He couldn’t afford direct mail or, at times, flyers. Instead, he used social media to encourage direct donations and spent his money on extensive statewide organizing…. Gillum had no trouble seizing the mantle of today’s left. He endorsed legalizing recreational marijuana, Medicare for all, hiking corporate taxes to fund public education, raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, and abolishing Immigration and Customs Enforcement as well as private prisons….. But there was no single reason for Gillum’s success in the primary. His ballyhooed surge late in the race was ultimately the result of a vigorous get-out-the-vote effort. In the end, his base simply came through for him: Lefty college students, racial minorities, teachers, union members, LGBTQ Floridians, and everybody else who was tired of moderate Democrats running and losing decided to bet on a true progressive candidate for a change.” • I’m willing to put Gillum on the left, because every one of those listed policies puts the working class first. Gillum’s campaign also looks a lot like a left playbook on policy and strategy, sorely needed. (Do note, however, that the vanity candidates may have taken votes from the loser, Graham.) Florida readers?

“The vanishing political center” [The Week]. “[T]he disappearance of establishment politicians could have severe consequences for national politics in coming years. The establishment on the left and right shared common ground and were willing to compromise when necessary. Often, voters hated them for it. And sometimes, their shared ‘common ground’ was rather cronyist. But when one considers the gridlock that has characterized Congress over the past several years, during both Barack Obama and Donald Trump’s presidencies, it’s obvious that this new center-depleted status quo will come with its own challenges. A populism of the hard right and the hard left, without some sort of establishment center, will likely foment growing anger and gridlock in days to come.”

“Why Google Doesn’t Rank Right-Wing Outlets Highly” [Alexis Madrigal, The Atlantic]. “Google says it is optimizing for relevant answers and high-quality content, not ‘political ideology.’ * But—and this is the part Google won’t say—what if relevance and quality are not equally distributed across the media? As a thought experiment, pick some markers of relevance (timeliness, impact, keyword density) and quality (originality, sourcing, depth). Now apply a ranking algorithm to the work of the mainstream media, which is to say the big networks, papers, and digital sites that abide by traditional journalistic values. Then apply the same standard to the conservative publications that PJ Media bemoaned the lack of. Of course the mainstream organizations—with larger staffs, generally better-trained journalists, and deeper roots in the field—would rank higher…. It would be great to have 10 Wall Street Journals out there doing the hard work of reporting on America. But that’s not what’s happening, and Google shouldn’t be forced to pretend that it is.” • NOTE * Which would explain why WSWS — and Naked Capitalism — got dinged when Goog’e’s algo changed.

New Cold War

“Why Mark Penn Is Sounding Trumpy” [Politico]. “”Maybe I’ll have egg on my face,” [Penn] says of Mueller’s Russia probe. ‘But if I’m looking at the scoreboard, I’d say he had some show indictments, [Trump has] never had any real connection here to any Russia collusion conspiracy as was advertised, the dossier was a sham document from the beginning, what the FBI and the Justice Department did was fundamentally biased. If this whole thing devolves into Cohen, it will prove the destructiveness of these investigations just as it did in 1998.'”

“Now We’re Talking – The Huffington Post” (interview with Glenn Greenwald) [HuffPo]. “Let’s dig into Russia. I think your concern here is about evidentiary standards, not doubting whether Moscow could, or would, do bad things. But I also think you’re arguing that, if the allegations are true, they’re still not as serious as people are making them out to be. So I want to ask about both. [GREENWALD:] “OK, first let me just express my happiness and gratitude to hear my views on this issue correctly described. It’s very rare. It’s like water in a desert. So let me just take a moment to express my happiness.” • Well worth a read. More: “[O]nce an indictment rises to a certain level of specificity, in order to dismiss it you would have to assume that Mueller and his team are literally fabricating information. I don’t think that’s likely.” • I think it’s entirely likely, sad to say; call me counter-suggestible, but a coherent narrative is evidence of nothing but narrative skills. The intelligence community has the means, the motive, and (with Mueller) the opportunity for fabrication. As I keep saying, what’s at stake is a change in the Constitutional order: Veto power by the intelligence community over Presidential selection. The stakes are enormous, and have been evident since November 2016. Hence, the evidentiary standard needs to be very, very high. CIA cutouts won’t cut it. CrowdStrike-handled servers won’t cut it. Digital evidence, in general, never cuts it. Focus on the enormous stakes, which are not evident down in the weeds!

“AP sources: Lawyer was told Russia had ‘Trump over a barrel'” [Associated Press]. “[The previously unreported details] add to the public understanding of those pivotal summer months as the FBI and intelligence community scrambled to untangle possible connections between the Trump campaign and Russia. And they reflect the concern of Steele, a longtime FBI informant whose Democratic-funded research into Trump ties to Russia was compiled into a dossier, that the Republican presidential candidate was possibly compromised and his urgent efforts to convey that anxiety to contacts at the FBI and Justice Department.” • See above.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Democrats stripped my superdelegate superpowers. Now I’m a notch above a coin toss: Brazile” [USA Today]. “Last weekend, the DNC voted to essentially disenfranchise the “superdelegates” — the elected officials, activists and leaders who go to the Democratic convention as unpledged delegates, free to support whomever their conscience demands.” • Oh, bullshit. Superdelegates can vote in the primaries like anybody else. Where’s the disenfranchisement? And if they’re elected as delegates, they can vote like any other delegate, so ditto.

Conservative populists:

“The vanishing political center” [The Week]. “[T]he disappearance of establishment politicians could have severe consequences for national politics in coming years. The establishment on the left and right shared common ground and were willing to compromise when necessary. Often, voters hated them for it. And sometimes, their shared “common ground” was rather cronyist. But when one considers the gridlock that has characterized Congress over the past several years, during both Barack Obama and Donald Trump’s presidencies, it’s obvious that this new center-depleted status quo will come with its own challenges. A populism of the hard right and the hard left, without some sort of establishment center, will likely foment growing anger and gridlock in days to come.”

“The Irish Times view on the papal visit fallout: now the church must act on abuse” [Irish Times]. ” In May 2001 Pope Benedict XVI (then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith) sent two letters to every Catholic bishop in the world, both in Latin. One advised that both be kept secret. The second, De delictis gravioribus (On serious crimes), instructed the bishop to send all clerical child sexual abuse allegations ‘with a semblance of truth’ to the Congregation and it would decide whether these be dealt with at diocesan or Vatican level. As then chancellor of Dublin’s archdiocese Msgr John Dolan later told the Murphy commission, this policy ‘was subsequently modified as Rome was unable to deal with the vast numbers of referrals‘. Those documents remain at the Vatican. These documents detail what both Pope Benedict and Pope Francis have described as crimes and should be available to legitimate State inquiries, internationally. That such co-operation in investigating crime centred on the protection of children has been resisted by the Vatican is, frankly, intolerable.”

“Catholics face a painful question: Is it true?” [Elizabeth Bruenig, WaPo]. • Bruenig knocks on McCarrick’s door. Creepiness ensues.

“The Weekend at Yale That Changed American Politics” [Politico]. • Excellent long read on the birth origin and maturation metastasis of the Federalist Society.

Stats Watch

Chicago Purchasing Managers Index, August 2018: “An unusually strong rate of growth eased a bit as expected” [Econoday]. “Hiring slowed as did pressures on input costs which nevertheless are near 11-year highs and which many respondents are blaming on trade disputes. In a special question, 60 percent of the sample reports passing higher costs to their customers…. [T]he month’s slowing is consistent with similar results seen in some of the other small-sample surveys and hints perhaps at a slower rate of growth for the August economy in general.” And: “The Chicago Business Barometer declined but remains firmly in positive territory” [Econintersect]. “The results of this survey continue to correlate to district Federal Reserve manufacturing surveys – and generallly aligns with the overall trend of the ISM manufacturing survey.”

Consumer Sentiment, August 2018 (Final): “Pressures for inflation expectations are the hidden headlines in today’s consumer sentiment report” [Econoday]. “This report is telling a different story than Tuesday’s consumer confidence data that showed sharp acceleration in part on optimism over jobs and income. Yet the consumer sentiment report is also showing such optimism which the text of the report is warning typically precedes a downturn for the economy. Regarding the rise in inflation expectations, the report attributes it less to tariff concerns and more to expectations for robust economic growth.” And: “Final August 2018 Michigan Consumer Sentiment Up Marginally From Preliminary” [Econintersect].

Shipping: “Mystery of the cargo ships that sink when their cargo suddenly liquefies” [The Conversation]. “Solid bulk cargoes – defined as granular materials loaded directly into a ship’s hold – can suddenly turn from a solid state into a liquid state, a process known as liquefaction.” “And this can be disastrous for any ship carrying them – and their crew. On average, ten ‘solid bulk cargo’ carriers have been lost at sea each year for the last decade.” • Sounds like The Death Ship

Our Famously Free Press

“I Helped Create Insider Political Journalism. Now It’s Time For It To Go Away.” [BuzzFeed News]. “[T]he new political journalism has to be built for a moment of crisis, not stability, something that citizens of less happy democracies are more accustomed to.” • Well worth a read.

“From Platform to Publisher: Facebook, the Early American Open Press, and Alex Jones” [Early Americanists]. “As a printer, Franklin explained, he couldn’t pick sides in disputes over news or politics. ‘Printers are educated in the Belief, that when Men differ in Opinion, both Sides ought equally to have the Advantage of being heard by the Publick,’ he wrote, ‘and that when Truth and Error have fair Play, the former is always an overmatch for the latter.’ He would not make himself responsible for determining what was true and what was false…. These practices were common among colonial Anglo-American printers. Scholars call this model the “open press.”…. The American Revolution exposed the limitations of the idea of an ‘open press.’ After all,… [t]he material constraints of [the printers’s] medium ensured that they could only publish a fraction of the news that they received. As printers, they were constantly forced to decide what news was important enough to reprint, and what could be ignored….. While Mark Zuckerberg does not face the material challenges of eighteenth-century printers, limited by the physical space available on a sheet of paper, his social network trades on an even more scarce resource—our attentions. Its algorithms promote and demote certain news items, largely based on how they predict we will engage with that news. By making such choices, these “platforms” abandon any claims to neutrality.”

Another journalistic enterprise that fired its copy editors:

To be fair, I’ve sometimes had the urge to Undo in real life, not metaphorically, but literally.

“Checking in on That ‘Investigation’ Into Joy Reid’s Hacker” [Mediaite]. “It’s been more than three months since Joy Reid responded to anti-gay posts unearthed from her old blog by claiming that she was the victim of a nefarious hacker…. There is a plot line in this ordeal, however, that’s still ongoing: the FBI investigation! Surely by now, with the full force of one of America’s top law enforcement agencies on the case, Reid’s hacker would have been caught and brought to justice?” • Reid was, well, economical with the truth. Everything Is Like CalPERS.

Well done, Mark:


“Blackened buildings of Manchester before the Clean Air Act” (photos) [Manchester Evening News].

News of The Wired

“Little Languages” (PDF) [Jon Benteley, Programming Pearls] • Lovely, lovely writing.

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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: “Mr. Bombus Bumble Bee on our Butterfly Bush.’ I don’t know why they call them “bumble bees.” They don’t bumble, particularly.

* * *

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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. Altandmain

    Apparently the so called Democratic Establishment Resistance is having a debate on if Glenn Greenwald is mentally ill or a Russian agent. There is actually a podcast on this subject.


    It’s gone insane, and into the Liberal elite equal of the Obama Presidency birther conspiracies.

    I have a guess as to why. The reason is something called willful ignorance. If the top 10 percenters who make up Clinton’s upper middle class base had to acknowledge that the people who they call “Bernie Bros”, which presumably includes Mr. Greenwald have legitimate economic grievances, and other grievances, such as America’s warlike foreign policy, they would be forced into a hard introspection.

    That hard look in the mirror would reveal that the society that they worked alongside the Establishment Republican Party to build is one that has utterly failed the bottom 90 percent.

    For similar reasons, they cannot see the Trump base as anything other than deplorable or they would have to acknowledge that they, the well off Liberal movement have played a role in the collapse of the American middle-class and the New Deal.

    It is like trying to get a neoconservative to admit that the Iraq War in 2003 was completely unjustified or to get conservatives to acknowledge global warming. Admission to that for Liberals, just lkke for neoconservatives and economic conservatives is admitting that their worldview is fatally flawed.

    Happy Labour Day everyone.

    1. Adam Eran

      I’d suggest this is the real nexus of problem solving: The ability to admit mistakes. The old wisdom is this: “Why do you pick the mote from your neighbor’s eye, while ignoring the beam in your own?”

      The idea that there are some “bad people” on the other side of these discussions apparently trumps any repentance or humility. … and everyone suffers. (As Trump would say: Sad!)

      As Max Planck famously said: “The truth never triumphs. It’s opponents simply die out. Science advances one funeral at a time.”

    2. DonCoyote

      Progressive (horrified): So those are my choices, mental illness or Russian agent?
      Centrist (chuckling): Of course not!
      Progressive: Whew! For a moment there…
      Centrist: We don’t think he’s mentally ill.

    3. DJG

      Altandmain: And for similar reasons, I’m not going to bother with an article with this damp squib in it:

      A populism of the hard right and the hard left, without some sort of establishment center, will likely foment growing anger and gridlock in days to come.

      Without some establishment center to come up with grand bargains on social programs to impoverish citizens of both right and left? An establishment center to lead us into endless war? An establishment center now swooning at the McCain wake about the end of bipartisanship and grand-standing?

      And what “hard right”? Some white boys waving flags from Game of Thrones? What hard left? Three members of the Black Bloc and their dubious politics? As we see here at Naked Capitalism, many on the right are writing articles that get massive support from the left (our daily American Conservative). And who can forget that illuminating right-wing conspiracy to sue the Clinton Foundation repeatedly and shake out some facts?

      Workers of the world, unite.

      1. Elizabeth Burton

        But when one considers the gridlock that has characterized Congress over the past several years…

        What gridlock has there been under the current administration, exactly? From where I sit, every long-desired Kochtopus agenda item has gone through so fast it’s a wonder it didn’t catch fire, while anything remotely progressive never even made it into committee.

        Maybe I have a different definition of “gridlock.”

        1. JTMcPhee

          Bingo, Ms. Burton (can I still use Ms.?). We share a definition of gridlock. The corporate “thing” is doing just fine with its legislative agenda and advise-and-consent appointments.

        2. johnnygl

          Seriously, if only there were more gridlock…

          Trump’s tax cuts got done, his budget with big increases in defence spending passed easily enough, bamk deregulation got through, trump’s judges are zipping right through. Sanctions on various countries pass congress with near unanimity.

          Only thing that’s been gridlocked since trump was elected was the idiotic health care repeal bill, and that was because of a ton of public outrage manifesting itself in various forms. Basically, the public gridlocked that one.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            The GOP wanted an out. The insurers and HMOs didn’t want a crazed repeal either. They didnt expect to win the White House in 2016.

            1. johnnygl

              I thought so, too. Way too bad for business. But there were some in the party that seemed like they really wanted repeal…just because…

              I was surprised how long they wrestled with it before moving on to their favorite thing in the universe…big tax cuts!

      2. jrs

        aren’t the Koch brothers hard right, new constitution convention wouldn’t that be hard right, etc.? Powerless? Let’s only hope so, but they haven’t been so far.

    4. MK

      Obama Presidency birther conspiracies “OPBC”

      Of which DJT was head carnival barker. Didn’t he have a prime time special to open the records safe and only found an old fork?

      DJT has always been a spectacle in and of himself, but the OPBC put him on the top of the DNC hit list – with the 2011 White House Correspondents’ Association dinner “hosted by” Seth Meyers was the moment this reality show really took off . . .

      Although the “at least I will go down as a president” Jimmy Kimmel appearance.

    5. SoldierSvejk

      It’s much worse than that, I’d say. Lambert captures it quite well:
      “I think it’s entirely likely, sad to say; call me counter-suggestible, but a coherent narrative is evidence of nothing but narrative skills. The intelligence community has the means, the motive, and (with Mueller) the opportunity for fabrication. As I keep saying, what’s at stake is a change in the Constitutional order: Veto power by the intelligence community over Presidential selection. The stakes are enormous, and have been evident since November 2016. Hence, the evidentiary standard needs to be very, very high. CIA cutouts won’t cut it. CrowdStrike-handled servers won’t cut it. Digital evidence, in general, never cuts it. Focus on the enormous stakes, which are not evident down in the weeds!”

      What most Amrikans just won’t admit or face is the fact that in 1963, there was a coup d’etat… and the country has never recovered from it. The ICs have all the power (they let the W-streeters get some of it, but that’s about it). This won’t change anytime soon – and today, it is not even clear how such change could even come about. Maybe Y Stone super volcano exploding – who knows. (In other parts of the world, they don’t use euphemism like IC – they just call them “secret services” – sounds much more straightforward, making clear who’s who and what’s what!)

    6. Procopius

      I don’t see why they would feel chagrined at the collapse of the New Deal. I’ve been reading Al From’s history of the DLC and the New Democrats. Destroying the New Deal was one of their explicit goals. It was “old fashioned,” and “outdated.” I wasn’t paying much attention when they were arising in the 1980s, but I guess I couldn’t have done anything to prevent them anyway. Bill Clinton ran explicitly on their platform. “Reform” welfare. Pay for 100,000 more policemen. Cut government “wasteful” spending. Demonstrate aggression in foreign policy. In other words, become right of center Republicans. These were not unexpected consequences. These were the explicit goals of the DLC/New Democrats/Third Way/Blue Dogs. They still are, but now those people (like Joe Biden) are the “establishment” of the Democratic Party.

      1. JBird

        Their goal seems to have been the acquisition of political power, by becoming a corrupt version of the pre-1980s Republican Party, rather than in serving its native constituencies’ welfare with good governance. Gaining power through corrupt means meant dumping the poorer 4/5 of America and becoming the minions of the wealthy 1% then, and the 0.01% now.

      2. Big Tap

        Always thought that the first DLC president was supposed to be Gary Hart in 1988. He got derailed by getting caught having a mistress on his boat. Poor Gary, by today’s mistress standards – think Bill Clinton and Trump – in place back than he probably would of been president.

  2. ChrisAtRU


    “Curses! Superdelegate is vanquished!

    “I’ve had my wings clipped, my cape ripped, and my super powers stripped. My irresistible Kung Fu grip on the Democratic Party is being pried loose by well-meaning citizens who may yet endanger the very fountainhead of their freedom.

    You see, since time immemorial, we superdelegates have stood as the guardians and protectors of the secret machinations of the Democratic Party, keeping it safe from outsiders and agitators. We were ever watchful, always ready to spring into action should unorthodoxy raise its ugly head.”

    (emphasis mine)

    That feeling when you reach for hyperbole but pretty much hit the nail on the head. Thanks for getting it Donna.

    1. NotTimothyGeithner

      Mark Penn and Donna Brazille links? On the same say? Isn’t that one of the signs of the apocalypse?

      1. ChrisAtRU

        “Apocalypse” is probably above my pay grade … ;-) I’d settle for it being the “death throes” of the vile beast that is bipartisan kleptocracy.

    2. Darthbobber

      It actually gets worse when she gets to the part where she isn’t deliberately joking.

      When we get to the part where all the superdelegates have made the DNC an organization everybody can be proud of I defy anyone to restrain their mirth.

      I also like the part where she portrays superdelegates as a sort of inclusionary mechanism for the inevitable (right sort of) poc/lgbtqusw,usw. Making democracy an antiwoke thing. Not sure how this relates to characters like Howard Dean or Fast Eddie Rendell, but nice try.

      Probably the majority of superdelegates would be welcome on the slates of various candidates, which is everybody else’s route to a convention vote.

      1. ChrisAtRU

        Yes, let me tell you about this wonderful addition to “democracy” that [squints while checking notes] rewards those who have “put in the work” (common establishment Dem trope, see slights against #AOC) with special voting powers to decide outcomes regardless of wider vote results.

        See, she’s trying to play on the fact that yes, a lot of minorities put in the work on the ground and to be fair, I have no problem recognizing those people – give them watches! ?

        It’s basically the quid pro quo of building loyalty to the leadership and getting everyone in lock step with whatever toothless platitudes that leadership wants to offer the voting populace.


    3. John Zelnicker

      August 31, 2018 at 2:15 pm

      When I read your quoted paragraphs, I thought you were making it up to mock Brazile. So, I went and read the article myself.


      The only thing I can say is to quote Prof. Bill Black on his family rule that “It is impossible to compete with unintentional self-parody”.

      1. ChrisAtRU

        That’s exactly what’s so amazing. She was trying to be purposely outlandish, but very perfectly described how bizarre the superdelegate construct actually is.

        Bill Black – as ever – is correct.

  3. NotTimothyGeithner

    Wow, I was officially a Russian collusion skeptic, but if Mark Penn thinks Trump is okay, I assume the reason no one can understand Trump is he’s simply speaking Russian in public.

    Mark Penn is one long time Clinton associate who will probably benefit from the 2016 collapse. His incompetence wasn’t an isolated case.

  4. L

    Insightful point as always:

    Sound sustainable. Assuming cars are sustainable, of course.

    While everyone focuses on the role Oil companies play in fighting any action on global warming it is the logistics industry who really has the most to lose. Even if we went to all-electric trucks and planes the fact that most manufactured goods cross whole continents multiple times (first in pieces and then whole) is both extremely profitable, and extremely resource intensive. Heaven help them if they did even the weakest carbon accounting.

    1. Wukchumni

      I’ve been on a binge reading about the various historical collapses of what were for their time, very complex cultures.

      They got nothing on us, bay-bee!

      And throw in our ‘just-in-time’ way, combined with utterly complex logistics in regards to complex things many times only the builders of which can understand how they function.

      Time to drag out Tainter’s List of 11 causes of prior collapses, and yes, all pertain to us now.

      Resource depletion
      New resources
      Insufficient response to circumstances
      Other complex societies
      Social dysfunction
      Mystical factors
      Chance concatenation of events
      Economic explanations

      Try and get as simple as you can now in terms of lifestyle, when this blows, it’s a brave new world of back to the future.

      1. Jeremy Grimm

        It should not be forgotten that the knowledge required to manufacture … and design … many of the parts for complex goods — goods composed of many parts assembled just-in-time from parts placed in inventory just-in-time — is knowledge and manufacturing skill and capability every bit as distributed and localized as the manufacture of the parts. When the distribution chain fails there will be little or no ability to make up for what is lost.

        I seriously doubt the future will feature much “brave new world of back to the future.” In the early times of ‘After’ we will work to save and conserve what there was. We have learned a tremendous amount in our brief moment of brilliance. We must work tirelessly to save and preserve that knowledge. It will be our legacy for the future. In the times long after, the knowledge we can preserve will be the beginnings of a new science that studies and deciphers the mysteries we uncovered — but profit found uninteresting. One of those mysteries will bring us out of the ages of darkness to a new age.

        And in further contrariness to my pen name, the new age will also be an age of a new kind of humankind … and a new age of our alliance with other intelligent beings with whom we share this planet. [Please forgive my ‘optimism’ — It’s probably symptom of too much wine.]

        1. J7915

          Save a copy of the Britannica vintage 1940s or somewhat earlier. The pre-integrated cirquit age.

          Not a concept that matured on my manure pile alas.

    2. clarky90

      Re, “the economic and social benefits of [Global Value Chains (GVCs)”

      ANY love and regard for our commons, the environment, is incompatible with “free trade”.

      In our past, peoples provided the vast majority of their needs, locally. They only traded for the exotic goods that they could not produce at home. People with flint stone, traded their flint for the shell-beads of coastal people.

      I have worked in outdoor markets for 10 years. They (markets) are essentially “make believe” for rich people; like little kids at play-group, building with wooden blocks or playing with dress-up clothes. “Yayyy, yayyy, happy happy, we are at the markets buying artisan kambucha! (or pickles)”

      In my youth, locally produced food and goods were inexpensive. Imported products were expensive and difficult to find.

      Oh, and our environment was in better shape, AND my fellow citizens were physically, mentally, spiritually, healthier.

      Healthy, happy, self-sufficient individuals. Healthy, happy, self sufficient communities. Healthy, happy, self sufficient nations.

      Not moralizing/pontificating; But, looking and seeing.

      We must be prepared for pandemic disease (make/grow the essentials close to home)
      We must limit damage to our environment (make/grow the essentials close to home)
      We must strengthen our communities (make/grow the essentials close to home)
      We must gainfully employ our children and neighbors (make/grow the essentials close to home)
      We must live in sane, congruent communities (make/grow the essentials close to home)……

      There are proven, timeless ways of living. Free trade is not one of them.

      Free trade is a swarm of locusts….a pestilence…a curse on our happy homes…

    3. VietnamVet

      Just-in-time logistics with Global Value Chains powered by fossil fuel. What could go wrong? Throw in the monkey wrenches of Brexit and Trump’s tariffs; somebody plans to make money off the chaos, resource exploitation and fire sales. But, if the world turns into Aleppo Syria, there is no value left. If the color revolutions head west, there will be no safe haven for the rich and their wealth. Humans do avoid facing their contribution to the earth’s destruction.

  5. flora

    re: Toronto Star

    “High-stakes trade negotiations between Canada and the U.S. were dramatically upended on Friday morning by inflammatory secret remarks from President Donald Trump, after the remarks were obtained by the Toronto Star. In remarks Trump wanted to be ‘off the record,’ Trump told Bloomberg News reporters on Thursday, according to a source, that he is not making any compromises at all in the talks with Canada — but that he cannot say this publicly because ‘it’s going to be so insulting they’re not going to be able to make a deal.’”

    Hard to believe after Trump’s last year and a half in office that Trump would think anything he says to anyone anywhere would not be leaked to the press.

    1. L

      Also hard to imagine that this wasn’t a deliberate action done with the sole goal of passing off blame for the failure to deliver NAFTA on Canada. It is possible he was just gloating but …

  6. sleepy

    Re: Canadian vehicle assembly

    In the 70s, 80s, and 90s I bought 3 new Ford vehicles. Each one had the maple leaf sticker on the inside door. Later on I bought a Subaru with a proudly made in Indiana/flag sticker glued to the door.

    Ford has the foreign flag, Subaru has the US flag. All my domestic brands have been assembled outside the US. My only foreign brands are assembled in the US.

  7. Mark Gisleson

    Superdelegates represent the ultimate in privilege. Leaders rewarding other leaders for [allegedly] having led.

    Yes, they do get pissy when you take away their special privileges. The 10% is all about the swag bags.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      Have little and you will gain.
      Have much and you will be confused.

      Tao Teh Ching (trans: Wu)

      1. Stephen V.

        I’m probably missing something, but here’s another view on stupordelegates:::
        (Snipped from deep into this piece)
        The guilt went away instantly, however, when I read the following press release from the Movement for a People’s Party:

        “DNC Kills Caucuses, Keeps Superdelegates, Retains Joint Fundraising Agreements, and Expands Control Over 2020 Primary

        Los Angeles — The Democratic National Committee (DNC) took several steps to expand and consolidate its power over the 2020 presidential primary at its summer meeting in Chicago this weekend. The party reduced caucuses, which heavily favored Bernie in 2016, and replaced them with primaries. It rebuked progressive demands to eliminate superdelegates, moving them to the second round of voting at the nominating convention instead. It preserved the use of joint fundraising agreements, which Hillary used to launder money to her campaign and take over the DNC. It approved a rule allowing the DNC to block candidates who have not been “faithful” Democrats from running. It kept nearly a hundred lobbyists on the DNC. And it did nothing to extricate corporate and billionaire money from the party, preserving rampant corruption.

  8. Wukchumni

    Shipping: “Mystery of the cargo ships that sink when their cargo suddenly liquefies” [The Conversation]. “Solid bulk cargoes – defined as granular materials loaded directly into a ship’s hold – can suddenly turn from a solid state into a liquid state, a process known as liquefaction.” “And this can be disastrous for any ship carrying them – and their crew. On average, ten ‘solid bulk cargo’ carriers have been lost at sea each year for the last decade.” • Sounds like The Death Ship…

    Oh, another mysterious fan of B. Traven

    1. Mel

      Excellent book, The Death Ship. Really worth reading. (But double check that that link is legal.)
      Nothing mysterious about Traven’s death ships, though. The first (critiqued in this article) is brilliantly managed value extraction — down to the mil of rust, it would seem. The second is insurance fraud. The second leads to the creepy, enigmatic ending. If you want metaphors, maybe that ending is the metaphor for our 9.9%.
      And as the critic says, it’s amazing how humane we were in the 1930s. There are very funny scenes with the various European police forces trying to sneak the hero off to become somebody else’s problem. Not like this century. Similar vibe in The Treasure of the Sierra Madre where the heroes are bumming around Tampico as the oil business slowly shuts down and moves out.

  9. Jerry B

    ===“Is there even such a thing as a ‘Made in America’ vehicle anymore?”====

    This is from the article:

    The auto industry has spent decades making these intricate and complex supply chains more efficient. Undoing or even complicating that process will rattle an entire industry and add thousands of dollars to the cost of a vehicle. Which is why DesRosiers can’t understand why the Trump administration would even consider going down that path. “You’d need an absolute idiot in Washington to do that,” he says. “Even a Grade 12 economics student could figure out this is the absolute worst thing to do for both countries

    The above quote seems a bit short sighted. Your intricate and complex supply chains won’t mean a thing when 1.) In the not too distant future oil prices rise drastically due to dwindling supplies and 2.) Those oil supplies are completely gone which according to many sources, including investment strategist and climate advocate Jeremy Grantham, will probably occur in the next 15-20 years or a bit longer if we are lucky.

    Are these people that obtuse? As many posts and commenters on NC have mentioned, once the “fire” i.e. oil, coal, and natural gas economy runs out of fossil fuels, our society and economy will be drastically different and more national and local.

    I am not saying Trump is right on tariffs but due to fossil fuel depletion and climate change at some point in the not too distant future, supply chains and globalization will be impacted and things will have to go back to being made in local economies.

    1. L

      In reply to your question: “Are these people that obtuse?” let me quote Upton Sinclair:

      “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on his not understanding it.”

      I think that the short answer is that at some point it looked cost-effective to outsource, and from then on people have gotten paid good money to tweak the chains and to find a new way to fork some process in them to save more. With each such decision they make these chains ever longer and more complex. Noone ever got paid to make a whole mess they just each got rewarded for making it messier, and now they’re all terrified that anyone might mess up their mess.

      I think of it like those creepy spider plants people keep in their offices. Each root by itself isn’t that much but over time as each new source is found they branch more and more to take advantage of things. Each decision made sense by itself and the organizational goal of the plant, such as it is, just keeps doing more and more until it is so entangled and fragile that there is no way to stop it from falling over and dumping dirt on your keyboard.

      1. Jerry B

        Thanks L. I am familiar with the quote you mentioned and the “Collapse” (Diamond/Tainter) literature. Being that it is 2018 I keep hoping for some evolved thinking and an awakening from slumber. Sigh.

  10. BoyDownTheLane

    With regard to Franklin, printers and the press:

    “… The adversary is subdued when he behaves in ways that are coincident with the ways in which we–the aggressor or the defender–intend for him to behave….”

    Richard Szafranski, “Toward a Theory of Neocortical Warfare: Pursuing the Acme of Skill,” Military Review, November 1994; and idem, “When Waves Collide: Conflict in the Next Century,” JFQ: Joint Force Quarterly, Winter 1994-95

    Cited in “A Theory of Information Warfare: Preparing for 2020”

    http://www.iwar.org.uk/index.htm is an essential research centre for every group interested in information security and information operations

    “So long as you live and in whatever circumstances the kaleidoscope of life may place you, think for yourself and act in accordance with the conclusions of that thinking; avoid so far as possible drifting with the current of the mob or being too easily influenced by the outward manifestation of things. Take your own look beneath the surface and don’t trust others to look for you. If you will follow this rule consistently, I am sure you will keep out of much trouble, will make the most out of your life and, what is more, will contribute most of value to the community life.”
    as quoted in Think for yourself. Indiana telephone news, Volume 30. Indiana Bell Telephone Company. 1940. p. 21.

  11. George Phillies

    Reality check: Andrew Gillum got 34% of the vote in the Democratic primary. He barely won. His scheme worked because he faced a bunch of opponents.

    1. JTMcPhee

      Scheme, eh? If he gets elected governor, will he be the head of a “regime,” then? He is the best of a mostly bad lot — Gwen Graham, corporate person playing on her father’s name (actually one of the best governors of Fl,) and Levine, a Rich Guy trying to buy the office that Carpetbagger Sick Rott bought most recently.

      He may be another Obama, who knows? But there is a reason the vote split the way it did, and that includes “organizing” and at least making policy noises…

    2. John k

      his Scheme was to win the progressive and black votes, worked well in spite of being massively out spent.
      About the same numbers voted in rep and dem primaries.
      Will most dems vote for Gillum because desantis sonectreme, or will some stay home because Gillum Black?
      Will most reps vote desantis or will some stay home, either because they’re pissed Putnam didn’t win nom or because they don’t like trump? Will some vote for Gillum because progressive?
      Trump will raise big bucks for disantis, really wants win because spends so much time there.
      Dems won’t support Gillum because progressive… you can’t be too right to get dem money, just too left.

  12. dcblogger

    A lie is not a point of view, it is a lie. Inciting mobs to attack someone is not something that should be tolerated by any platform.

  13. Wukchumni

    I’ve had Trump over a barrel so many times, thought he was a goner with the Mexicans are rapists and murderers play, or the pussy video expose, or the hawties he’s now haughty about that he paid off handsomely to keep their yaps shut about his extramarital affairs, or…

    He’s a latter-day Rasputin!

    1. Conrad

      Disturbing image that.

      I do like the Rasputin comparison though. And why isn’t there a crackpot theory pointing out the similarities between the names of the mad monk and Russia’s current president?

      1. Huey Long

        Putin was also the name of the political officer in “The Hunt for Red October.” I often wonder if Putin is trolling us by using that last name, much like how George Smiley’s boss in “Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy” was known only by his work name Control; nobody knew his real name.

  14. Alex morfesis

    Tis the season to be funny…so…considering we know for a fact two women extorted money from a party nominated presidential candidate…

    why are not the Elmer fudd/Barnie Fife talking klowns who insist on a veto of sworn in presidents…(our modern praytoryanne guard)…talking about these two hardly ever wuziz with their inflate-a-boobz as Russian Russian Russian agents…?

    It does not take much work to tie these two escorts to organized crime elements with Russian flavor$…

    Why could these two…especially the one with the habit…NOT be considered a Russia Russia Russia operation ??

    Even as convenient id-yatz…

  15. ChiGal in Carolina

    Okay Lambert, I am going to TRY (I usually get the message about exceeding data limits) to send you a short vid I took of a bee that was DEFINITELY bumbling!

  16. Plenue

    >The Irish Times view on the papal visit fallout: now the church must act on abuse”

    It’s fascinating to watch how quickly Catholicism seems to be collapsing in Ireland, of all places. Anyone here able to provide insight in how the child rape business is going over in other long standing Catholic strongholds like Poland? More than general corruption or even other forms of abuse of power, the Church couldn’t have picked a scandal worse than abusing peoples kids. That’s something guaranteed to shred any claims of moral authority or credibility.

    >“Catholics face a painful question: Is it true?”

    My first reaction was that this was some about some existential pondering of whether their religion was actually true or not.

    The answer is no, by the way.

    1. ChrisR

      A seminarian acquaintance once told me that in the Catholic Church, every issue ultimately comes down to a question of authority. So if you undermine authority, you undermine everything. This question about whether any of it is true is lurking in the background. Rod Dreher seems to be moving to the view that clericalism is at the heart of the problem, but if that is true (I think it is) then everything needs to be re-thought. No-one wants to go there.

      1. Plenue

        But without the Diocese and the priestly aristocracy and the palaces and the Holy Orders and the hierarchy of silly hats, what even is the Church? The entire point of the Catholic Church is that it’s vetted, organized, Official™. Without a circle of cardinals sitting around and hammering out approved theology, what you have is chaos. Something like 30,000 different Christian sects ultimately came out of the Protestant Reformation.

        1. Darius

          I’m not Catholic, but I think the Catholic Church can lay claim to being the stewards of the Eucharist and all it means to Catholics, as well as other Christians. They don’t need authority over every other earthly realm to exercise that role. In fact all that magisterial stuff is putting their Eucharistic ministry in jeopardy.

      2. none

        I went to a Catholic funeral once (accompanied a friend who had had a death in their family). The priest was a young Irish guy who acknowledged that many of the attendees including the churchgoers weren’t really believers any more, but kept going because they thought that the institution still had some value. He might have been that way himself. If it’s really like that then the whole thing could collapse rather suddenly.

  17. fresno dan

    Tucker Carlson: Jeff Bezos is the richest man in the world. Many of his employees are so poor, you’re paying their welfare benefits. And he’s not the only tech billionaire offloading his payroll costs onto taxpayers. This is an indefensible scam. Why is only Bernie talking about it?

    Tucker Carlson can SERIOUSLY put forward the proposition that repubs are NOT first, last, always, unequivocally, unalterably and 683 other synonyms pledged to advance the wealthy and F*CK everyone else? That the single and ONLY criterion that a repub uses in judging an entity is their wealth? That rich people are NEVER criticized by repubs has just never occurred to Tucker?

    Although I do have to say that if Trump actually makes repubs choose between Trump and the richest man alive, I will be VASTLY AMUSED – the scared professions and vows to die prior to ever again standing against mammon, made to Heaven, that this will be the ONE and ONLY time that a repub will go against the virtue of wealth offers the possibility of ENDLESS mirth

  18. Plenue

    Regarding Jeff Bezos. I know the science fiction franchise The Expanse got some coverage on NC at one point, particularly for its heavy class warfare elements. The TV show adaptation was canceled by Syfy after season 3, but Bezos personally stepped in to have Amazon buy it up, because he’s a fan of sci-fi.

    It’s clear the message of the show went completely over his head. Jeff Bezos is a filthy Inyalowda, and his abused and underpaid workers the Belters. Going further, he’s basically Jules-Pierre Mao, just without the alien biotech weapons program (as far as we know; he does have a half billion dollar deal with the CIA though).

  19. clarky90

    Re; “A populism of the hard right and the hard left, without some sort of establishment center, will likely foment growing anger and gridlock in days to come.”

    Nope, this is completely wrong.

    The repugnant “establishment center” spends it’s time and resources sowing discord and mayhem amongst the 90%.

    Actually, the so-called “hard right and the hard left”, AGREE about almost everything. They differ (as always!) on the degrees.

    For instance, Medicare for All.

    Let’s go back to dialogue between left and right. Negotiate, compromise and respect each others POVs

    ……..and, together, marginalize The repugnant, destructive, chaotic, “establishment center”

    1. Newton Finn

      Yes. The political future lies in giving voice to the massive discontent of the 99%, which more accurately should be called the 90%. Both Sanders and Trump were tapping into this future during the presidential election, with Sanders being denied nomination only by corruption, and Trump actually obtaining it and going on to win the electoral vote. But Trump is the antithesis of a unifier. We await a political leader who can bring together and energize the entire alienated majority, whether they lean left or right.

    2. jrs

      Who on the hard right wants Medicare for All? Can you name anyone? I’m almost thinking the closest one might get is someone like Bannon, and I’ve never heard of him advocating any such thing. And I’m not sure there is much hair to split on matters of degrees on Medicare for All.

      And the establishment center is the only thing sowing discord, oh maybe if you consider all of the right wing propaganda to all also be “establishment center” which seems a real stretch of the language.

      I really don’t think a dialogue between left and right is going to find many hard right supporters of Medicare For All (I admit some mainstream Republican voters do support it now, they are more establishment than not though).

  20. Charlie

    “Democrats stripped my superdelegate superpowers. Now I’m a notch above a coin toss: Brazile”

    Boo hoo, Donna. You already get a vote at the ballot box like everyone else. You don’t need two.

    1. Tom Stone

      Charlie, I’ sorry to see you Dissing Donna Brazile, a woman who has dedicated he entire adult life to servicing the American people!
      Good and hard.

      1. Richard

        caught me with some ginger ale in my mouth there
        Seriously, Donna B. is one of the stranger human beings in dem leadership. Her use of corrupt power is unforgiveable of course, but I do get something out of her cluelessness about what’s okay to say in public (I think she missed the training).
        She reminds me of the old Far Side cartoon, with a bunch of cheetahs crouched at the side of a hill, peeking quietly at some grazing gazelles. Just then a dorky, totally unaware cheetah comes clamping up like some loud cheetah doofus: “Hey guys! What’s going on!”
        Donna Brazille reminds me of that Gary Larson cheetah.

    2. Wombat

      Unfortunately, by convention end she may have a vote worth even more than the current 30k prole votes. I’m convinced that this is a feature not a glitch. When the popular votes are invariably split twenty ways between Sanders, Warren, Booker, Harris, Gillibrand, Patrick, Holder, et al., and noone has a majority, the superdelegates will step in.

      Then, Orwellian Doublespeak Brazil will say “See, We gave the process a chance, now we must step in to unify the party and save democracy.”

  21. Plenue

    >Surely by now, with the full force of one of America’s top law enforcement agencies on the case

    The FBI is not a law enforcement agency. They’re an intelligence unit directly accountable to the President. They can function as a kind of trans-state and trans-national police force in large part as an exercise in PR. And mightily successful PR too, because as far as most media, both reporting and entertainment, is concerned, the FBI are just federal super cops who swoop in and aggravate local police by taking their cases and having more resources.

  22. freedomny

    Catholics face a painful question: Is it true?

    Yes it is. If there were 300 priests in just ONE US State….

    Whether or not they (the Church) will be able to stop – or if there is the will – for US AGs in other states to investigate is another story. But, if the truth does get out, it will go global and I can easily see the Catholic Church exploding/imploding. It could make #metoo look like a fairy tale.

    As a lapsed Catholic I won’t feel particularly sorry for them.

      1. freedomny

        Legitimacy is the word. What happens when people realize that so many of these “institutions” are really the fabrications of elites that want to control/and maintain control? And have done for thousands of years..?

        1. JBird

          Legitimacy is the word.

          Far, far, far too many people do not realize that a social organization be it the bridge club, the Catholic Church or the United State of America requires at least the belief, if not faith, in its legitimacy. All the guns, laws, propaganda, and abusive use of power will not keep it going, or effective. Once it that faith is gone, one is left with the corpse’s facade.

    1. Plenue

      One thing that seems curious to me is that when I watch/listen to many former/fallen/lapsed Catholics, for example Jimmy Dore, its seems extremely common for them to just casually admit that these things were going on, and that all the kids knew about it. Whether it be a church or a Catholic school, or some other Catholic institution, there seems to be ample anecdotal evidence that the abuse was going on.

      It seems the extent of the abuse is massive, maybe even ubiquitous, and Catholics themselves often seem quite aware of it. Maybe there’s some kind of mental self-blocking going on, that only goes away when someone leaves the orbit of the Church.

      1. witters

        Maybe. But from what I recall from my time in the 60 & 70s, it seemd that everyone (and certainly everyone older) knew it went on, and you were simply told, ‘Don’t ever go anywhere near/alone with X’ – who could be the the priest, the boy scout leader, the councilor, the local police sergeant, your friends elder brother, the school groundsman, and on and on. It weren’t just the church, however comforting the thought.

        1. anon

          and sports/athletics coaches. (So you don’t have to come back to add that, after you get dismayed that you likely inadvertently left that very popular category out).

  23. Kurtismayfield

    RE:The vanishing political center.

    Schumer et al. just demonstrated clearly that the “political center” is alive and well by compromising on those judges, so the entire article can be held in contempt from that moment.

    A populism of the hard right and the hard left, without some sort of establishment center, will likely foment growing anger and gridlock in days to come.

    I love how milquetoast European center left proposals are now hard left. The Overton window just keeps moving.

    Thank you for all the work that Yves, Lambert, and all the rest do here. Enjoy your time off.

    1. Darius

      There is no gridlock. Republicans always seem to find a way to get what’s really important to them. Usually with Democrat collaboration.

  24. hemeantwell

    Re Andrew Gillum, some impressions. I’ve lived in Tallahassee for some time. City council seats are elected at large and this tends, as Progressive era popular power smotherers wished, to make local politics even more anodyne than it would otherwise be. Before the guv race council member Gillum struck me, to the extent that he made any impression at all, as yet another liberalish opportunist. Just prior to the campaign he was almost pulled into the gears of an FBI corruption investigation. He was found to have gone on a couple of lobbyist-paid junkets, but the Feebies have reportedly told him that’s no big. He welcomes attempts to influence him materially, but he ain’t bought. AFAIR, he took no unusual stands and inspired no unusual political activity.

    I found this interview https://fluentinfloridian.com/episode6/ :

    Chris Cate: Absolutely. Speaking of accomplishments, what would you say has been your biggest accomplishment as an elected official?

    Mayor Gillum: I think what I would say as then the biggest advantage as an elected [00:09:00] official is the power to convene people around big ideas. Whether that was launching the Digital Divide initiative that we did at Palmer-Monroe and at R. Frank Nims Middle School, or the teen center that we created in Tallahassee at the Palmer-Monroe Teen Center and the Restorative Justice program that we launched, or our Family First initiative where we’re trying to put a premium on supporting [00:09:30] families and particularly our youngest members of our family, zero to five, in early childhood education and high-quality childhood education, it’s really been my ability to bring people together around those ideas, the longest table.

    Again, they’re probably efforts that anyone could think about, but it really does require the ability to bring people together around the same table to reckon with our issues and to talk about the things that we can [00:10:00] do as a community, as a collective, every one of us, to solve the challenges that confront our community.

    Regardless of what side of town you live on, where you come from, we’re all one community, and we’ve got to figure this out together. I’ve enjoyed my ability as a city commissioner but also as a mayor to identify really important and key challenges in our community, and then corral people around thinking about what the solutions might be.

    I’ve been particularly proud of the work that we’ve done to work to create a new economy in Tallahassee by [00:10:30] emphasizing small business growth and development in the entrepreneurial economy and the innovation sector of our city by listing up things like our Domi Station and our efforts to invest in the creative class in Tallahassee. I think that those kinds of investments are going to be important for the future of our state and certainly for the future of a city like Tallahassee that are largely [00:11:00] people considered to be just a government town.

    We’re a government town, but we’re also the best place in the state of Florida to start a new business. We’re also one of two cities awarded the TechHire Designation in the state of Florida, one of 50 in the country. We’re on the cutting edge of what’s new and what’s happening in the state of Florida, and I think the rest of the state can learn a lot from what we’ve been able to do in Tallahassee.

    [I’m back] If he were to become governor he would likely be far better than the neoliberal puppets and criminals – Scott’s healthcare ripoff to enrichment is detestable – that we’ve seen down here recently. But he should be given no credence as a “left” representative. To speculate — and whether this is cynical or not I’m unsure — in the current political climate I think he saw a chance to engage in some product differentiation. In a divided field and against really dull candidates — Gwen Graham — he could stand out by taking a cluster of redistributive positions that could get him Sanders’ backing and get out a vote that would otherwise snooze away on election day. He may continue to support these positions, and it will be a good thing if he does. But, to use one important gauge, it’s likely that if he’s elected he will do nothing to encourage a broader development of community political power that might spark more local political initiative. He might be inclined to engage in some useful issue advocacy, but he will only be useful to the extent that left organizations do not rely upon him as an ally. If they let him determine the issues and rhythms of contention, they’ll wither.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > But he should be given no credence as a “left” representative.

      I don’t think it’s a bad thing that opportunists see left policies as opportunities. I think that’s good. To me the essential litmus test is a principle: Put the working class first. That’s hard enough, since neither liberals nor conservatives do it. (The implementation details, by the principle of obliquity, are contingent, all the way from collective ownership of the means of production through co-ops through some Stoller-esque gutting of monopoly power.) And you’ll notice that every single one of Gillum’s policies does that. That’s the ticket.

      Yes, it was a crowded field, and yes, Steyer and Soros weighed in, but holy moley: Florida!

      1. johnnygl

        It sounds like he can be useful to the cause, but he’s a follower, not a leader on these issues. He will need to be pushed by FL voters to deliver and be punished if he doesn’t. The establishment will be happy to court his favor, but FL voters need to help him to come to an understanding that the lobbyists and consultants can’t help him all that much and to fear the wrath of the voters and activists and other organized groups that have gotten him this far.

        Also important, the message to the slippery centrist crowd is that you are going to have to fake it harder, or maybe, just maybe give some ground and compromise with the left if you want to win.

      2. hemeantwell

        There’s also this.


        Lambert, I largely agree with you. In trying to refine my reservations, one way to put it would be that Gillum can be very helpful in further legitimizing redistributive issue positions. Beyond that, we may be witnessing a kind of morphing of the guy, an emergence of previously latent progressive commitments that could not find much expression in local politics. So what can look like opportunism can actually be, to give it a developmental spin, a kind of maturation within an encouraging environment. If you compare what I initially quoted and the link just above that would seem to be the case. He sounds sincere and as though he’s thought this stuff through. But what would really distinguish him would be steady support for unions — especially when they strike — and other forms of popular movements.

  25. Conrad

    I’m just glad my truebeliever grandmothers aren’t around to see it.

    And that my atheist parents kept me safe.

    ETA: this was meant to be a reply to freedomny’s comment above.

  26. perpetualWAR

    Tucker Carlson:
    Walmart is the backbone of the left???

    I haven’t entered a Walmart. Oh yeah, I boycott Amazon. I am “the left.” And Uber? Wouldn’t put their app anywhere near my phone that has Yellow Cab in my contacts.

      1. c_heale

        I think he knows people are pissed with the likes of Bezos, etc., and wants the right to get more voters at the expense of the left.

  27. cybrestrike


    Andrew Gillum had social media locked down. I barely saw any Graham stuff in my feeds. I actually had more Levine stuff than both of them. Her canvassers did knock on my door, though.

    Gillum locked down the left and Democrats who were sick of the Alex Sinks of the world. His platform was what everyone was talking about. And lots of first time voters. Lots.

    Gillum may lose in the general, because the holy rollers and the elderly vote hardcore. The Villages, Fort Myers, and the Panhandle are still a problem. His base has to turn out a lot more than that.

  28. Janie

    Salem Oregon area get-together Saturday Sept 29. Details are not yet finalized but we will probably begin early afternoon.

  29. Synapsid

    TH via Lambert S,

    “Humblebee” and “bumblebee” both go back to at least the 1400s, I believe.

  30. Lambert Strether Post author

    How the humblebee became the bumblebee Guardian:

    When Darwin, or indeed any of his contemporaries, wrote of the animated bundles of fluff, he would have called them humblebees. But they weren’t humble in the sense of lowly beings doing the drudge work of nectar and pollen collecting; rather they would have been celebrated for the powerful evolutionary interaction with the flowers they had visited for millions of years. Darwin would have called them humblebees because, as they fly, they hum. Simple.

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    The etymological change of entomological names occurred gradually and imperceptibly, but some key events can be pin-pointed. The first great 20th-century book on bees was by Frederick Sladen, and his 1912 opus on their life history was firmly in the “humble” camp. By then, bumble, which had always been knocking around in the background as a second-rate alternative, had started to gain some ground. In Beatrix Potter’s Tale of Mrs Tittlemouse (1910), the eponymous heroine is troubled by squatters making mossy nests in her back yard. Chief troublemaker is one Babbitty Bumble.

    That’s a very fast change! However, I’m not sure the Guardian is right; bees that “bumble” seem to have been around since the 1500s:

    However, another source, the Chambers Dictionary of Etymology, has a different explanation for the “bumble” that means to “bungle” or “botch.” Chambers says it refers “to the noise of booming or buzzing about.”

    If that’s true, then the two “bumbles”—one meaning to buzz or hum and the other to blunder—aren’t separate verbs after all. The “bungle” or “botch” sense of the verb was merely an extension of the earlier meaning.

    Chambers interprets the Thomas More quotations above as using “bumble” in both senses of the verb—that is, he felt Tyndale was buzzing (perhaps droning on) as well as floundering about.

    Consequently, both senses of the verb ultimately reflect the same echoic notion: the sounds made by bees, flies, and bitterns, according to Chambers.

    Are the two “bumbles” related? With etymologists divided, you can form your own opinion.

    In the Civil War podcast, soldiers often describe bullets as sounding like bees; but I wonder whether honey, or bumbling?

  31. Lambert Strether Post author

    Elizabeth Warren’s 2020 Maneuvering Is Getting Even More Aggressive New York Magazine:

    Yet it was a little-noticed passage of her reveal that may have presented the clearest signs that she’s stepping toward a run. Warren — who is up for re-election in November, but who is unlikely to face anything close to a real challenge — publicly said for the first time that she has now formally stopped taking not just corporate political action committee money — as other likely 2020 contenders and down-ballot candidates have done — but all PAC money, as well as funds from federal lobbyists. (This is a new policy for her.) Two days later, she pushed on, complying with one of her new proposals by publishing her tax returns — ten years’ worth — a move that provides a clear contrast with Trump, whose taxes remain shrouded in mystery, and also with Sanders, whose own tax returns were briefly a point of contention during 2016’s primary fight.

    1. johnnygl

      Not to sound unduly negative, as this is good news. Mostly because it pressures others to do the same. But hasn’t she already raised truckloads of cash?

      I do wonder how much coordination there is with bernie. These two know they are competing for the same voters, partially, but are they also trying to set precedents to shape the 2020 field of candidates?

      I still think most likely scenario has warren as treasury sec in a bernie admin.

  32. Lambert Strether Post author

    AOC is correct:

    Of course, liberal Democrats think that the really perfect candidate is a woman, preferably of color, although any woman will do, who worked for the CIA. So there’s that….

  33. Jean

    Re; The Toyota RAV4

    So make the wire harnesses, a minor small part, in the U.S. or Canada. It seems debilitating that a minor part is made in a third country and that endangers the entire just in time operation.

    What, Americans are incapable of making wiring harnesses?

  34. JTMcPhee

    And for those tracking the odds on a Really Big War, maybe you have noticed that the elected leader of the Donetsk People’s Republic, Alexander Zakharenko, an actual war hero who fought the US-enhanced creatures from Kiev (not a John McCain press product), was just assassinated by a bomb planted by “someone” in a restaurant, killing and wounding others in the process. https://sputniknews.com/europe/201808311067645316-explosion-dpr-victim/

    The Balkans have seemingly migrated north, and there are so many Sarajevo Moments that are now possible — from more faked “chemical attacks” in Idlib and insane “responses” in this post-International-rule-of-law world, to “operations’ by CIA and Mossad and the now detached-from-civilian-control Military Commands, especially the Black Ops types.

    Nothing is what it seems. Morbid symptoms abound. Work on getting limber, folks, so when the SHTF finally, you can bend over, put your head between your legs, and kiss your sweet a$$ goodbye…

  35. Stephen Tynan

    “The vanishing political center”
    Let the left and right find common ground and bury the dwindling center.
    Maybe in a cortege down Pennsylvania Avenue.

  36. rwood

    Jebi is expected to carry out a classically recurving path that would take it to the coast of Japan early next week. It appears that Jebi will likely have enough of a northward component of motion to ensure a landfall on Honshu, Japan’s largest and most populous island. Some weakening can be expected as Jebi nears landfall, but the 06Z Friday runs of the GFS and HWRF models bring Jebi onshore as a Category 2 or 3 storm near Tokushima and Wakayama prefectures on Tuesday local time. The 00Z European model had a roughly similar scenario. A landfall in this vicinity could put Osaka and Kyoto near the storm’s center or in its front right quadrant, where the strongest winds typically occur. Strong winds could easily extend east into the Tokyo area if Jebi continues angling toward the northeast across Honshu after landfall.

    Along with the risk of hurricane-force winds, widespread torrential rains of 5” – 10”, with localized totals of 10” – 20” or more, can be expected across central Honshu, perhaps extending as far east as the Tokyo area. Even though Japan is very typhoon-experienced, a landfall from Jebi could have major impacts. Only a slight eastward trend in the landfall location would raise concerns for the Tokyo area significantly.


  37. AbateMagicThinking But Not Money


    Isn’t it that the only superdelegates that really matter are those in the electoral college?

    The message from America democracy seems to be that every vote counts until it doesn’t.

    Time to get rid of laws that promote institutionalized political parties? Are they in the Constitution?

    Pip-Pip! (puzzled)

  38. Tracie Hall

    Hee-hee, as I librarian I just HAD to know, since you set me to wonderin’.
    This comes from Online Etymology Dictionary:
    ” bumble-bee (n.)
    also bumblebee, “large, hairy type of bee,” 1520s, replacing Middle English humbul-be (altered by association with Middle English bombeln “to boom, buzz,” late 14c.), probably originally echoic.” :-)

  39. dcrane

    To be fair, I’ve sometimes had the urge to Undo in real life, not metaphorically, but literally.

    I keep catching myself writing my name on forms with the “dot” like an email address.

  40. drumlin woodchuckles

    The ” Tucker Carlson” tweet about Amazon has a discussion thread. John Stossel was the first person to get in a comment. Here is what John Stossel had to say . . .

    “John Stossel
    ‏Verified account @JohnStossel
    Aug 31
    Replying to @TuckerCarlson

    This is not a scam. This is capitalism. It CREATES wealth. For everyone. Amazon and its cost cutting has saved Americans billions of dollars.”

    Isn’t that just too precious?

    1. Inode_buddha

      Its not really a surprise that the far right can think this way — I notice they tend to compartmentalize everything, eg not taking any context or big picture. Makes it easier to manipulate…

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