Links 8/25/18

Oil industry wants government to build seawall to protect refineries from climate change effects The Oregonian

The battle for the soul of biodiversity Nature

Researchers claim water irrigation efficiency efforts actually cause more water use Phys.org (RM).

Fed’s Powell sees few signs of US economy overheating FT

Bostic Throws Down the Gauntlet Tim Duys’ Fed Watch

Leveraged loan boom is storing up nasty problems FT. “Collateralised loan obligations.”

Who Killed Toys ‘R’ Us? Hint: It Wasn’t Only Amazon WSJ

Tesla to remain publicly traded, as Elon Musk says shareholders believe company is ‘better off’ CNBC. Oh for pity’s sake. Why did I link to this stupid story in the first place?

Tesla insiders say ‘it’s a s–t show’ under beleaguered Elon Musk NY Post (KW).

Brexit

Deadline for Britain and EU to agree Brexit deal delayed by four weeks to new November ‘hard deadline’ The Telegraph

What do the government’s Brexit “no-deal” papers reveal? BBC

Only the beginning of the Government’s ‘no deal’ Brexit preparations Institute for Government

Brexit is bad news for the NHS. Thread:

Spanish Cabinet approves decree to exhume Franco’s remains El Pais

Exclusive: Trump takes aim at Venezuela lifeline, which could raise prices at the pump McClatchy

North Korea

Trump scraps Pompeo trip to North Korea, citing stalled nuclear negotiations Japan Times

China?

Two conversations reveal just how unlikely a US-China trade deal is Asia Times

The Misconceptions at the Heart of the US-China Trade War The Diplomat

Chinese banking sector warned it faces day of reckoning as decade of easy money ends South China Morning Post

Aussie PM Scott Morrison invites Donald Trump to Australia Stuff. Let the healing begin!

New Cold War

What Russia is doing to counter the new round of American sanctions China Plus. From China.

The Silence of the Bears Foreign Policy

* * *

Be Careful What You Ask For: Wasting Time with Manafort, Cohen, and Russiagate Counterpunch

How This Will End The Atlantic

Trump Transition

Allen Weisselberg, Longtime Trump Organization CFO, Testified and Was Granted Immunity in Cohen Probe WSJ

Immunity Agreements for AMI Execs Aimed to Shore Up Case against Michael Cohen Andrew McCarthy, National Review

Trump Organization Could Face Criminal Charges From Manhattan D.A. NYT

* * *

Trump meets with promoter of ‘QAnon’ conspiracy theory in Oval Office The Hill

With Troy Balderson’s Official Win in Ohio, Debate About Trump Effect Returns Roll Call

Democrats in Disarray

“Hottie Avenatti” brings his show to the DNC summer meeting Vice

Joe Biden Backs ‘Public Option’ Foe in Primary Fight Capital & Main

The Democrats’ Approaching Dilemma MedPage Today. Five or even two years ago, this article in this source would not have concluded as it does now.

Health Care

New GAO Report On Impact Of HHS Decisions On 2018 Enrollment Health Affairs (original).

Imperial Collapse Watch

The F-35 Lightning fighter can’t stand up to real lightning, so Marines ordered specialty rods to keep them from going up in flames Business Insider

Class Warfare

The New Socialists Corey Robin, NYT

Socialism in one country Stumbling and Mumbling

Thousands of Amazon workers get food stamps. Bernie Sanders wants Amazon to pay for them Los Angeles Times

What is this weird Twitter army of Amazon drones cheerfully defending warehouse work? TechCrunch

The federal government markets prison labor to businesses as the “best-kept secret” Vox

Thousands Of Workers Rally Against Proposed Privatization Of U.S. Postal Service CBS Pittsburgh

E-Verify Laws Across Southern Red States Are Barely Enforced Bloomberg (CO).

I Worked With Richard Russell at Horizon Air, and I Understand Why He Did What He Did The Stranger

FTC thread from Stoller, with action to take at #15 and #16:

“This is the heart of the political economy problem in America, using concentrated power to hurt workers, customers, businesses. It is what Facebook does. It is what Trump does. It is what a lot of elite Democrats made money from. This is why everyone’s mad.”

The Impossible Job: Inside Facebook’s Struggle to Moderate Two Billion People Motherboard

An Account of My Hut n+1. Contemporary California.

Antidote du jour (via):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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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.

123 comments

  1. larry

    Unfortunately, Goldacre doesn’t understand how the modern money system operates. That said, either the government doesn’t either or is lying. So, when Goldacre worries about the NHS being able to afford medicines and treatments, he should preface this with the caveat, given the present government’s austerity-based economic policy, the NHS can do nothing other than be concerned about its ability to financially meet its obligations to its patients. Since Goldacre does not understand fiat monetary economics, his comments indicate that he accepts the govenment’s economic assumptions that underlie its public pronouncements. A critique from him, along the lines of Bad Science, might be worth its weight in (sorry) ‘gold’.

    Reply
  2. jan

    As it is early afternoon here in the Netherlands and i was sipping my nice Leffe blond beer while looking at today’s links, when my eye caught that headline re Joe Biden and my beer was all over my screen, hmm. But fortunately i read that Biden was still against progressive democrats. Now just have to clean the screen.

    Reply
  3. emorej a hong kong

    Re: The F-35 Lightning fighter can’t stand up to real lightning

    rods should be able to … hold up against rainfall at a rate of 1.4 inches per hour

    Good thing they aren’t deployed in Hong Kong or Okinawa — D’oh!

    On the race between “Imperial Collapse” and “Climate Catastrophe”:

    I just heard second hand that an experienced commercial pilot recently reported flying through the worst electrical storm he had ever seen.

    Reply
  4. emorej a hong kong

    Back in June of 2009, Biden helped lead the fight for the creation of a government-backed public insurance option … Carper and a handful of Democratic lawmakers joined with Republicans to vote down the initiative

    Surely the byline-named David Sirota knows better than most people that a more accurate headline would be “Biden surprises nobody by healing fake rift with his previous junior partner in Delaware donation-guzzling.”

    If in 2009 Biden had genuinely been leading a genuine fight for a public option, he could have and would have put sufficient pressure Carper and some of the other defectors to bring them into line.

    Reply
    1. Carla

      The public option was always a canard, simply meant to derail expanded, improved Medicare for All. A cruel joke of the kind Democrats excel in perpetrating.

      Reply
        1. NotTimothyGeithner

          Though I find the new narrative of the VP leading the public option fight to be amusing for what it says about Obama’s own efforts. After all, who would care about a vanquished foe who didn’t merit a debate presence in the primaries?

          Reply
            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              This is my point about a change in the narrative from Team Blue elites. Obama is often simply ignored when once there was a constant demand to support our President mimicking the same GOP demands from the Bush years. One of the narratives throughout the HRC candidacy was that she knew how to fight the GOP, not carrying on Dear Leader’s great work.

              Biden was an also ran Presidential candidate who became Vice President because he was from a safe seat, wouldn’t lock up the 2016 seat, wouldn’t be missed as a legislator, and Obama couldn’t get any traction for Kaine or Bayh.

              Reply
        2. flora

          The current Dem estab is like another notorious pyramid investment scheme: They want to lure more ‘upscale’ fresh candidates to run who are likely to have upscale friends that they can get more money out of in their 4-hours-a-day dialing for dollars – dollars that go to the Dem estab and consultants – than they could get out of not-upscale voters. How much money could the Dem estab find in the pockets of the poor, the young, the old, the sick, the struggling working class, or the struggling middle class? (Supposedly the base of the Dem party.)

          Reply
    2. perpetualWAR

      Oh, but then The Democrats would not be pushing Biden 2020, would they? It’s all about the grift anymore. Complete transparency.

      Reply
  5. lakecabs

    It appears Amazon could learn a lot from the Russians in the area of social media. This show how inept these fed funded Oligarchs really are.

    Reply
      1. fresno dan

        Lambert Strether
        August 25, 2018 at 12:33 pm

        Obviously why we need open borders – competition in campaign strategists – let the best Russian dem/repub strategists IN so that they can go at it! Not to mention to drive down the wages of campaign consultants to the level of a grape picker in the San Joaquin valley. EVERY campaign a Trump style rally!!! I want a trucker hat!!!

        Reply
          1. Bugs Bunny

            Don’t tempt them. It will probably be wet suits and surfboards in anticipation of that Blue Wave. Gawd hep me.

            Reply
  6. AbateMagicThinking But Not Money

    E-Verify:

    From the outside it looks as if the US is tearing itself apart because it has become a busted flush of contradictions. Put E-verify as described in the article alongside the contrary legal status of Mary Jane in a growing number of states and the de facto dissolution of the union seems inevitable

    The never-ending state’s rights ‘experiment’ seems to be well on its way to conclusion.

    In my outlook the military* will only ‘step in’ when chaos interferes with their operational abilities. From what I read their recruiting norms are already falling to risible levels.

    Pip-Pip!

    *The military seemingly being the only unifying institution in the US with real power.

    Reply
    1. AbateMagicThinking But Not Money

      On reflection,

      The reliance of business on illegal immigration who work for less than locals is an ideal thing for the military because it creates a ready supply of disgusted young men unprepared to do ‘immigrant work’ for a pittance. What a recruiting tool!

      Perhaps the US military is trying to avoid the Romans’ mistake of reliance on foreign mercenaries.

      Pip-Pip!

      Reply
    2. noonespecial

      Re your comment: “From what I read their recruiting norms are already falling to risible levels.”

      The recent article from Military Times may deter, rather than encourage, potential recruits from joining the armed forces. According to the article, a yet-to-be published paper concluded that “Within a year after suffering a combat-related injury in Iraq or Afghanistan, 40 percent of military women were diagnosed with a mental health condition”. The sample size of the study was, “…1,012 women with adequate medical records to be included.”

      Judy Dye, a researcher with the Naval Health Research Center, is quoted in the article:
      “ ‘This study reinforces … the need to provide focused intervention and support primarily for the enlisted female population, but also to other folks in our military female population,’ Dye said, especially as the roles of women in the military continue to evolve.”

      (https://www.militarytimes.com/pay-benefits/2018/08/23/enlisted-women-more-likely-to-suffer-adverse-mental-health-effects-after-combat-injury-study-finds/)

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        No problem. We’ll just hire mercenaries from Erik Prince.

        Adding, poking around Military Times I encountered this quote:

        A friend recently reminded me of a construct put forth by Kurt von Hammerstein-Equord, the famous German general:

        “I divide my officers into four groups. There are clever, diligent, stupid and lazy officers. Usually two characteristics are combined. Some are clever and diligent — their place is the General Staff. The next lot are stupid and lazy — they make up 90 percent of every army and are suited to routine duties. Anyone who is both clever and lazy is qualified for the highest leadership duties, because he possesses the intellectual clarity and the composure necessary for difficult decisions. One must beware of anyone who is stupid and diligent — he must not be entrusted with any responsibility because he will always cause only mischief.”

        I think we have a lot of stupid and diligent in the 9.9% just now….

        Reply
        1. AbateMagicThinking But Not Money

          Re Kurt’s Klassic:

          Von Hammerstein-Eqourd’s words should be posted in every cubicle in the Western world.

          On a different topic entirely; I saw an online comment here in Australia about the now former “born to be”* Prime Minister – Malcolm Turnbull which seems to sum up the former leader of the faction ridden “Liberal” ruling party very well:

          He came, he saw, he conked out.

          As an alternative to US political TV, watch “Insiders” on

          abc.net.au

          – if you can get it. This sunday’s should be a doozy!

          If you regard politics as entertainment as I am obliged to, the Westminster system is so much more dynamic (if you discount assassinations).

          Pip-Pip!

          *As a relative newcomer to Australia I have to rely on the locals to bring me up to speed on the political histories of the personalities involved, so the “born to be” are not my words. Hat-tip to my tuesday backgammon partner.

          Reply
          1. AbateMagicThinking But Not Money

            Just watched “Insiders”:

            The programme was not quite as I expected. The participants are problably more than a little wrung-out after the weeks’s events.

            The stand-out absurdity was a government minister claiming that a new generation is in command now. For my money you need at least twenty years of clear air to make that claim, not a paltry ten or so.

            Pip-Pip!

            Reply
          2. norm de plume

            Turnbull is one of those people ‘destined’ for greatness who after trimming and tacking all their lives to reach the summit (he hilariously tried to become a Labour MP four times), don’t really have an agenda to prosecute once they arrive, beyond staying there and angling for legacy. He was therefore a stationary target for the Murdoch-driven right, wedged as he was into a wafer thin majority and rendered inert by the battle between his preferred moderate neolib-lite arm of his party and the racist, climate change denying wingnuts propped up by the Murdoch dominated media.

            He is conservatively estimated to be worth 200 million and did his level best for his bros in the 1% – he strenuously tried to get the TPP over the line, busted a gut trying to prevent the recent scandal-rich inquiry into banking, relentlessly pushed for corporate tax cuts while ‘toughening’ an already punitive welfare regime…

            He can go back to pretending to give a shit about republicanism and gay rights and arts funding and climate change, burnishing a rather threadbare legacy. After this week he can play the martyr card eternally and will no doubt run the Obama ‘my hands were tied’ defence against the charge that he was a ‘do-nothing’ cipher, just another iteration of the seemingly endless political production line of neoliberal enablers.

            Job done I guess, though like Obama I do wonder if late at night after everyone else is in bed he might entertain, if only to impatiently dismiss, the notion that he failed big time, that he had an opportunity, but he took the path of least resistance and ‘conked out’. After promising so much he might be the biggest disappointment in Australian political history; at least he can console himself that unlike Obama he didn’t let the entire worlld down.

            Reply
        2. norm de plume

          ‘I think we have a lot of stupid and diligent in the 9.9% just now….’

          Reminds me of a possibly apocryphal quote from Wellington after reviewing some new irregular forces sent to him in the Peninsular War:

          ‘I don’t know what effect these men will have on the enemy, but by God, they terrify me’

          Reply
        3. The Rev Kev

          ‘One must beware of anyone who is stupid and diligent’

          Well you can always put these people in charge of transport. They can’t do much damage there going by how things are usually done.

          Reply
          1. foghorn longhorn

            As the old rancher said, give the hardest job to your laziest hand and you will find the easiest way to get it done.

            Reply
    3. Jean

      IF the GOP is serious about stopping illegals working and IF the Democrats are serious about living wages for workers, then there will be a consensus about E-verify being the final arbiter.

      If the states and other polities are enforcing it in a non-functional manner, in service to Cheap Labor Republicans, as in the article, then the agency that should be in charge of it is the I.R.S.

      Option A: After a rigorous two factor authentication of a new worker applying for a job and ongoing random checks at any time, as to gender, age, local or state I.D., plus the history of the social security number used being cross checked, then the employer is allowed to deduct that employee’s wages and employment costs from their business income for federal taxation

      Option B: If the employer doesn’t want to go to all the trouble to use E-Verify, or perhaps believes in “migrant rights” and most importantly of all, wants to undercut local labor costs, then they may do so
      but they will NOT be able to deduct that employee’s wages from income.

      This seems like a fair and equitable solution to the conflicting views on E-Verify.

      Reply
  7. Brad Miller

    Tha’s actually what Cooke Poplin has always thought. She never thought the ACA (“Obamacare”) would work.

    Reply
    1. Pat

      So she didn’t come out and say “Told Ya So”. I welcome any credentialed person speaking truth to greed and cowardice.

      Personally I make it clear that it was obvious the very design of ACA would insure increasingly higher insurance costs for less and less health care, it would force even those employers who wanted their employees to have actual health care to provide the same crap as those who were doing the least they could get away with, and that the only cost control was the battle between the for profit medical industry, pharma, and insurance as to who got the most.

      All of this is a delay. Their greed has made single payer free at the point of service healthcare inevitable. If not in 2020, it will happen soon after. They cannot help themselves.

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        There is the Russian 90’s model. Without politicians and even a functioning structure, there is simply the inability to do anything while the looters loot.

        With Biden touting his new found support of the public option farce (he must have built a time machine), what is the real state of potential reform? We know medicare for all advocates such as Corey Booker are frauds.

        What kind of Democratic congressional staffers will be running the single payer program at the start?

        I didn’t think people would not care about a city like Flint, Michigan not having clean drinking water, but here we are. The Democratic Party couldn’t even functionally make this an issue or seemed to care besides HRC’s hand out of bottled water that one time. Is there a functioning ability to govern?

        Part of the reason the GOP failed to repeal ACA, McCain did the GOP a service, they could never come up with a structural solution of how to replace it, losing the support of people who feared rapid changes, hmos, and doctors (a traditionally pro GOP lot). They didn’t want to repeal it because it kills the Democrats and helps GOP donors.

        The other issue with Healthcare is I’m not sick. I (not me) might not notice decline until I need care. When the it hits the fan, the Democrats who have been promised as our enlightened nerd technocrats will be revealed to be nothing more than frauds. I saw people who were surprised that Joe Biden would support Carter on twitter, and they were upset. They’ve been ignorant, but seeing this affects their morale and how they view Team Blue going forward. Real advocates of change will be met with skepticism that might not be warranted.

        After 2016, how the Democrats could see clowns like Carper or Menedez and not recognize they needed to bring in a lesser Obama style candidate to create the illusion of change demonstrates the political party is too rotten to deal with any problems more complex than election. As for the good Democrats, do I need to hands to count them?

        The Obama Presidency had the potential to avoid many problems and even allow phased in solutions, but guys like Tim Kaine will be part of the future attempts at solutions. Collapse of the Healthcare system is possible.

        Reply
        1. Pat

          Part of the reason I think we will get single payer is that the healthcare system is already collapsing. And along with the public who need healthcare there are a whole lot of people who work in the healthcare industry but are not the ownership class who are joining the chorus. The squeezing of providers (nurses were only the first) is driving them to desire the destruction of the ‘market’ as much as the patients, family of patients, friends of patients and future patients.
          And most of the solutions that are being touted by our captured political class don’t fly with them or the public anymore.

          Of course I could just be optimistic because frankly I didn’t think we would get this much traction by now back in 2009.

          Reply
          1. makedoanmend

            But will the ideological marketeer’s allow an ailing (sorry) health care system to fall to the hated government, and also highlight tax issues?

            I don’t think they’ll go quietly into the night.

            I tend to think that health care will have to be coupled with a set of arguments that link human well being with a broader realisation by a large chunk of the population that overall well being is more important than mere economic gain. What good is economic gain if the people are suffering.

            What those set of arguments will be is anybody’s guess. Maybe several different sets of arguments need to be invoked in order to swing the debate and our mindsets to accepting that radical changes must be made. One set of arguments might be too limiting or not have enough momentum on its own.

            The milquetoast offers on health care by the Corporate Democrats need to be challenged by a more robust spectrum of options in order to shift the dialogue.

            Reply
            1. howseth

              “The Democrats’ Approaching Dilemma MedPage Today. Five or even two years ago, this article in this source would not have concluded as it does now. ”

              This editorial has an MD in favor of Medicare for all: Then I flip down below to the comment section – and there is mostly attack after attack on this idea. I suppose from ‘health professionals’… including other MD’s

              Reply
      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        The part about Obamacare being designed on purpose with malice aforethought to torture and persecute employERS to scrap their own good insurance for their workers in order to force all those workers onto the Obamacare plans seemed obvious to me at the time.

        There were two purposes: 1–to recruit millions of captive premium-payers to bolster the revenue-streams to Big Insura and .. 2– to poison the well so thoroughly against even THINKing about health care issues that Obamacare would remain the Law and the System for decades to come.

        Reply
        1. Pat

          As NotTimothyGeithner pointed out the repeal barely lost. Even vaunted Republican control of their members couldn’t make it happen. One reason is that they couldn’t own a system that didn’t work any better and their voters had told them what they wanted – something far closer to Medicare for All. I’m also thinking that all those Republican voters along with more than a few Democratic voters demanding repel have not gone away. We have multiple polls that make it clear that Single Payer is now the choice of the majority of the population – something that cannot be said for any part of our current political class.

          As premiums continue to increase, deductibles are so large or larger, and more and more people (including those with employer coverage) find they have no real health care without spending thousands more after their premiums and many times hundreds of thousands more that number will only grow. As I said, the continuing greed of those benefiting from this will destroy the system sooner rather than later. I don’t know how it will happen, it might not be without violence, but the vast number of those at the end of their rope will override the corporate will, toadies be damned.

          Reply
          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            If people whose disease goes from curable to terminal after being delayed or denied treatment and its coverage begin to visit Big Insura or Big Politico offices wearing suicide belts, we will know an inflection point has been reached.

            I would NEVer suggest doing such a vile evil illegal thing. But some people may be driven beyond the reach of mine or anyone else’s good advice to keep it legal.

            Reply
  8. Wukchumni

    Tesla to remain publicly traded, as Elon Musk says shareholders believe company is ‘better off’ CNBC. Oh for pity’s sake. Why did I link to this stupid story in the first place?

    Don’t be too hard on yourself, you’re all you’ve got.

    Reply
    1. Jack Parsons

      I heard somewhere that he learned good reasons why it’s impossible to take it private- not money, legal reasons.

      Best joke of the year: white smoke over the Tesla factory means that a new Elon Musk has been chosen.

      Reply
  9. Wukchumni

    The F-35 Lightning fighter can’t stand up to real lightning, so Marines ordered specialty rods to keep them from going up in flames Business Insider
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Well after twilight’s last gleaming, ensconced on a shelf of granite a hundred feet above Franklin Lake, we watched westward bound, a pair of F-35’s on high headed for Hanford-adjacent, er, Naval Air Station Lemoore, landlocked smack dab in the middle of nowhere or not far from it, coming back from some sortie.

    Wonder how many flame retardant and water dropping planes could have been procured for the prevailing price of the pair, perhaps several hundred?

    Reply
  10. Craig H.

    > if an Amazon employee receives $300 in food stamps, Amazon would be taxed $300.

    This is the first sensible proposal from a politician I have read in at least a week. (I do not follow the news very closely and surely I missed a bunch.)

    I think I might like this guy.

    Reply
    1. jrs

      it doesn’t seem like it would work at all, all it would do is encourage Amazon to intimidate workers from taking food stamps. It’s not policy. The policy should be tax the rich so we can have a social safety net period. This stands on it’s own as policy entirely independent of whether more workers from Amazon on on food stamps this month or not.

      Well another policy to consider might be increase wages although it’s a little more ambiguous (I mean Amazon’s goal might be to automate the jobs anyway, wage increase or none).

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > tax the rich so we can have a social safety net period

        Federal taxes do not pay for Federal spending. There are many good reasons to tax the rich, but paying for programs is not one of them.

        I also reject the “safety net” metaphor. There’s no reason life should be like a tightrope walk.

        Reply
        1. neighbor7

          >Safety net, life as a tightrope walk.

          Thanks for this, Lambert! Every time I bring it up, people are shocked at how obvious it is that they’ve been trapped in a regressive metaphor that they assumed was benign.

          Many more out there. We need to watch our language.

          Reply
            1. Richard

              what’s wrong with “reform”? he seriously asked
              I’ve always liked the concept, and neither party ever does
              You know the old joke:
              Why is there no reform party?
              Because it would always win and then there’d be only 1 party.
              Actually, that’s not a joke because it’s not funny
              And it’s not actually old either, because I just made it up
              But tell me your beef with “reform”

              Reply
              1. Norm de plume

                Reform used to denote progressive aspirations or achievements; those which furthered the interests of the majority.

                Now when we hear the words ‘labour market reform’ or ‘industrial relations reform’ we know we are being directed to agree that further curtailing the freedom of workers to organise is a desirable goal.

                When we hear the words ‘financial reform’ or ‘regulatory reform’ we understand that we are being gently persuaded that we no longer need relics like Glass-Steagall; here, try this new Gramm-Leach-Bliley, it’s modern, it’s progressive.. it’s cool!

                ‘Electoral reform’ in particular gives me the willies – no more of this laughably outmoded paper ballot voting, we must enter the 21st century and use the electronic means we now have available…

                The list is endless – though of course reforms that are actually reforms rather than regressions do occur – but you get the picture.

                Reply
                1. Richard

                  Ahh, I get your point. “Educational reform”/privatization being another example. Not sure why I was so slow on the uptake.
                  I do hate throwing away perfectly good words. Why let the weasels take them, I always wonder? But it may not be worth the fight.

                  Reply
        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          If this theory is correct, will there even be an America left after it has been sold to everybody over the many years that will take?

          Reply
        3. Yves Smith

          Taxes create disincentives. The point of the tax ought to be seen to discourage Amazon from dumping costs on government. But the tax would probably need to be 3x of the cost of the foodstamps to affect Bezos’ behavior, and then he could position it as not fair.

          Reply
      2. windsock

        Or, force Amazon to pay a living, not minimum, wage with contracts for all staff for a 30 hour week, 4 weeks paid holiday leave, maternity/paternity benefits and health coverage. Once they have done that for all their employees, maybe consider a tax break, but not until then.

        Reply
    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      Thinking about the Sanders proposal–

      It does reinforce the notion that Federal taxes pay for Federal spending, so Sanders traps us in the austerity box.

      Worse, it leads to the implicit privatization of the service, since Amazon is “paying for” it.

      Even worse, if you accept the “pay for” model, only the stamps themselves are covered, so the government is still subsidizing Amazon for the administrative costs.

      My suggestion would be to think i terms of “triple damages,” like this:

      Sanders plans to introduce a bill in the Senate on Sept. 5 that would impose a 100% tax on government benefits received by workers at companies with 500 or more employees. For example, if an Amazon employee receives $300 in food stamps, Amazon would be taxed $300 $900.

      Make it very clear its a penalty, and not some sort of reimbursement. Hmm. Maybe I should post on this.

      Reply
      1. perpetualWAR

        Yes! For example, the financial fraudsters only had to pay miniscule fines compared to their ill-gotten gains. If the corps want to continue to be psychopathic, the government needs to impose penalties that actually hurt. As in, put the financial fraudsters in jail. And make Bezos pay 3x what it actually costs the government to feed his poorly paid slaves.

        Reply
      2. Pat

        I like this idea. I would also suggest that failure to correct the situation increases that penalty every two years – 3X becomes 5X becomes 8X becomes…

        Reply
      3. cnchal

        > Hmm. Maybe I should post on this.

        Amazon is grotesque. Every advantage is pressed to maximum advantage. The billions in subsidies extracted from the peasants to put a warehouse or data center in the hood, then add in the property tax abatement, power and labor subsidies on top of that, the brutal treatment of workers to use them up and discard them as quickly as possible, the absurd HQ2 search with politicians and bureaucrats that will never waddle a yard in an Amazon warehouse promising billions, the deal it squeezes out of the post office paid for by other customers, the two to three million algorithm generated daily price changes, am I forgetting something, oh yeah Amazon workers on food stamps that can’t afford to live on the wages paid, for the short time they are there until the body gives out, and the stealing of customers from third party vendors. Grotesque.

        All this grotesqueness is fantastically rewarded by the stawk market. It goes to show what’s really important.

        Reply
        1. ChristopherJ

          Bloody good business plan though:

          Never make a profit, which enable them to crush their competitors, suppliers, employees and whole communities.

          Reply
          1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

            Amazon’s real trick is the sleight-of-hand they’ve shown in “negotiating a new relationship with the capital markets”. Walmart’s business is very similar, but they must earn an actual profit or their shares get clobbered. AMZN has never been profitable.

            Kinda reminds me of the U.S. Dollar. Oil is priced in dollars so Americans can simply print the oil they need. Everybody else in the world has to do work, earn a profit, use it to buy USD, and only then can they buy some oil.

            Reply
        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          Its also rewarded by every single person who buys a single thing from Amazon. And it is rewarded over and over for every single time every single person buys a single thing. Over and over. Thing after thing. Purchase after purchase. All rewarding the grotesquerie.

          Reply
      4. Beniamino

        Combine that with re-institution of Eisenhower-era income tax rates (90%+ at about $1.2 million per annum) and we might be getting somewhere. At that point you could even throw the plutocrats a bone and eliminate the corporate and estate / gift taxes.

        Reply
        1. Synoia

          eliminate the corporate and estate

          No not the estate taxes. That prevent a class of the idle rich, who are both monstrous and a nuisance to good social programs.

          Consider the Kochs.

          Reply
        2. Oregoncharles

          Both corporation and estate taxes have important regulatory effects. The estate tax reduces accumulation of wealth over generations. The corporate tax is payment for the many privileges that come with corporate status. I’d like to see it used to limit the size of corporations (or any business). Be careful what you give up.

          Reply
          1. JohnnyGL

            Re: Corporate Tax….seriously, THIS!

            Why on earth do we give away limited liability for free? The same with limited recourse.

            Get clawbacks from Bezos, himself!

            Reply
      5. Bugs Bunny

        There’s precedent for this in (of all things) copyright law where infringement generates 3x damages. Go with this idea, Lambert!

        Reply
      6. Elizabeth Burton

        Try to remember that the majority of voters still firmly believe the federal government’s budget runs like their household one, and that taxes are its source of revenue. Unless you expect Bernie et al. to waste valuable time trying to educate people about MMT, calling for taxing massive monopsonies to pay for social programs is what will make sense to Average Voter ™.

        You don’t start first graders on learning arithmetic by introducing calculus. Bernie knows who he’s talking to, and he’s talking to them in terms they can understand. So are the other progressives. The goal here is to get elected, and that means speaking to the voters in terms they can understand and that, perhaps most important, will resonate with them emotionally.

        Reply
  11. DJG

    Laura Kipnis, who might be described as Local Gal Who Made Bad, and always an astute critic of the culture and insightful observer of what once was called sentimental education, on the current MeToo somersaults:

    https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/aug/24/metoo-victim-asia-argento-jimmy-bennett

    Would that we had more discussion of sentimental education these days: Time for me to re-read The Pure and the Impure by Colette, a masterpiece about sensuality and sexual expressions.

    Reply
    1. fresno dan

      DJG
      August 25, 2018 at 10:53 am

      All of which makes it difficult for me to sit comfortably on the #believeallvictims side of the fence. Yes, #MeToo has been necessary and overdue. But, as with campus investigations, a portion of the accusations is also overblown. Having learned what I’ve learned, I am unable to believe that every accuser has no motive other than truth and justice; nor can I take allegations alone as settled facts.
      =====================================
      I dunno….maybe there’s something to that innocent until proven guilty thing…
      I always circle around to the McMartin preschool case* where the allegations on their face were inconsistent and fantastical, but to apply any critical thinking to the whole sorry spectacle was to be tarred as pro child molester.
      * And so much for our vaunted “justice system” (only YEARS later were the McMartin defendants cleared)
      – I hate Trump, but the worse thing he has done is take principals such as skepticism to prosecutors and police (i.e., FBI) and make people who should know better elevate law enforcement to sainthood.
      Of COURSE, Trump is ONLY skeptical of police (FBI) and prosecution when it concerns himself (OH! and Hillary!), and any of his supporters in good standing, as Trump refuses to acknowledge that the New York 5 in the infamous jogger rape case were exonerated.

      Reply
      1. a different chris

        >only YEARS later

        One thing you’ll quickly learn about lawyers and the legal profession, time means nothing to them. Beyond whether the Merc needs an oil change or not, that is.

        They celebrate the release of some 45 year old guy who’s been wrongly imprisoned since he was 19 like all is now well. I wouldn’t even celebrate if I was his lawyer, just line up with everybody else and say I’m sorry.

        Reply
      2. Shane Mage

        The Hollywood L.A. puritaneers don’t want to hear the name McMartin. They still have the grandfather of all their set-up victims, Roman Polanski, to shit on.

        Reply
    2. Elizabeth Burton

      Any effort to address the problem of rape and sexual assault/harassment will and always has been collapse over time because the focus always and immediately becomes not the abuse of power that’s the basis of it but sex. I’ve seen it happen with every other “movement”, and I watched it happen with #metoo.

      Reply
  12. The Rev Kev

    “Aussie PM Scott Morrison invites Donald Trump to Australia”

    This makes no sense at all. In Australia, parties that dump their leaders usually get punished but hard at the next election and we have one coming up in the next nine months. Morrison has only that time period to make himself known to the voters. Inviting Trump here is nuts as he is such a divisive figure. When George Bush came out to Australia a decade or more ago, they had to literally hide the protestors from him. Inviting Trump to Australia is like the Governor of California inviting Trump to take a tour of California. You can imagine how well that one would go down.
    Besides, with Trump you never know what he might suddenly demand. Maybe that the Royal Australian Navy deploy their ships to the Chines coastline? Allow a full Marine Division to deploy up north. Stop selling stuff to China so that America can do it instead. You just never know. The only reason that comes to mind is that this is to satisfy a political faction of the LNP which is the same reason that there was a leadership spill in the first case, even though it was a terrible idea. I guess that Australian politicians are just as good as their UK counterparts /sarc.

    Reply
    1. ChristopherJ

      Thanks Rev, not so sure he wouldn’t get a good welcome here.

      Of note in my travels this week – Rupert Murdoch came over a fortnight ago – coincidence?

      Also this from 2009, explaining how the Murdoch press destroyed the electoral chances of a promising young man – he had been preselected by the Libs. The person he beat in the original preselection – Scott Morrison…

      https://www.smh.com.au/politics/federal/nasty-saga-you-nearly-missed-20091025-hem5.html

      Conclusion, he will continue to do Murdoch’s bidding and despite what he says, his government will not be working for us.

      Reply
  13. Lambert Strether Post author

    The key paragraphs and sentence in Corey Robin’s Op-Ed:

    The socialist argument against capitalism* isn’t that it makes us poor. It’s that it makes us unfree. When my well-being depends upon your whim, when the basic needs of life compel submission to the market and subjugation at work, we live not in freedom but in domination. Socialists want to end that domination: to establish freedom from rule by the boss, from the need to smile for the sake of a sale, from the obligation to sell for the sake of survival.

    Listen to today’s socialists, and you’ll hear less the language of poverty than of power. Mr. Sanders invokes the 1 percent. Ms. Ocasio-Cortez speaks to and for the “working class” — not “working people” or “working families,” homey** phrases meant to soften and soothe. The 1 percent and the working class are not economic descriptors. They’re political accusations. They split society in two, declaring one side the illegitimate ruler of the other; one side the taker of the other’s freedom, power and promise.

    And you can certainly see why that argument would appeal, given the workplace, given what happened to the universities, given security goons (digital or not) everywhere, given debt, debt, debt.

    NOTE * “Socialism” as opposed to Marx’s idea of immiseration, which is very much about “what makes us poor.” In any case, it’s not easy to be free if you are poor. It’s not easy to be or do anything.

    NOTE Focus-grouped!

    Reply
  14. Jason Boxman

    Feudal overlords like Bezos have it really good. He doesn’t even have to feed and house his serfs, nor provide for the common defense of his lands and property. He’s the ultimate free rider.

    Reply
        1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

          +1
          Just like the Pope, Bezos, Gates, Musk et al employ a powerful narrative myth about their unquestionable otherworldly goodness and light.
          I have no idea how these so-called “people” can sleep at night.

          Reply
            1. Synoia

              I prefer:

              Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown

              They are living embodiment of the fear of loss driving avarice.

              Reply
  15. Anon

    RE: Irrigation Efficiency

    This scientific article proves one thing: capitalism abhors a vacuum!

    Of course irrigation efficiency in agriculture does not increase water supply beyond the individual farm (water basin-wide)! Farmers and ranchers simply use the new technology to use the same (or more) water to increase production or acreage and gain income. What could be more capitalist?

    There is a similar social mechanism at play with increased capacity on the freeway: more lanes (more efficient travel) attract more autos until there is unwanted congestion (inefficient travel).

    Reply
  16. Burritonomics

    The Counterpunch article (“Be Careful What You Ask For”) is excellent. It was interesting to read it, then read the article below it, from The Atlantic (“How This Will End”).

    The Counterpunch article is a sober take down of the current situation, and I saved it for future reference.

    The Atlantic article is a piece referencing Macbeth, complete with interspersed quotes from the Bard and historical references to tyrants from days gone by. It ends up too clever by half. It’s a mile wide and an inch deep.

    Talk about playing to an audience…

    Reply
    1. DJG

      Indeed: The article Be Careful What You Ask for is excellent. He keeps hammering away at the stupidity of the Democratic Party elite and the unintended consequence that they may get: Mike “Tartuffe” Pence.

      Reply
      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        The Democrats don’t mind Pence becoming President. He was a Senator. He was a Governor. He used to worship at the shrine of the Norms Fairy, and maybe still does in secret. He is one of their kind. He is one of them except for certain details of culture-war Christianist politics. He is a member of the Big Club, just like the Democratic officeholders are.

        I wonder what horror would grip the mind of this article writer if he should “epiphanize” the reality that the Democrats actively prefer Pence to Trump.

        Reply
    2. dcrane

      The last line of the “How This Will End” essay is one that the writer, in his bubble, probably can’t even begin to perceive as he should:

      And so it will likely be, as Americans gaze back and wonder how on earth this rare monster, now deposed, ended up as their president.

      Trump came to be president because a corrupt DC establishment tried to foist on a weary public a presidential candidate who represented, better than almost anyone else, the failed policies of 30+ years that have given us a sinking middle class, a coddled Wall Street greed casino, and a war machine out of control. (And remember that effing Jeb Bush was the backup plan.)

      Reply
      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        https://www.buzzfeednews.com/article/rubycramer/bill-clinton-ends-up-in-30-minute-debate-vs-a-24-year-old-be

        This is the problem the establishment had going forward and with anyone else. Anyone outside of HRC wouldn’t have had the celebrity necessary to keep this from happening. We’ve seen Pelosi and other Democrats squirm when town halls when reasonable questions. This is Bill Clinton not some second rate Senator with delusions of adequacy. Obama made the non-white history, and HRC was going to make the non-male history. Everyone else will just be late to the party.

        HRC represented the disease of Washington, but can you imagine Kaine trying to explain why he simply stopped restoring voting rights to felons under Virginia’s still draconian laws at rates far lower than famed Civil Rights activists (snark) such as Jim Gilmore, George Allen, and Mark Warner? A committee reviews the petitions and sends up everyone for the Governor’s signature. Allen and Warner signed off on everyone more or less who sent up. Timmy on the other hand ceased the operation. I know dismantling the 50 state strategy as DNC chair and trying to get Obama to make him VP took up so much of his time, but the sins of Kaine and others like him will follow them through the primaries where they won’t have the celebrity draw to protect them from being asked these questions. The Sanders and AOCs of the world conversely can answer questions about their records and ideas truthfully when confronted with tough questions.

        Reply
  17. Goyo Marquez

    FWIW Read, rather heard, this the other day from Will Durant’s The Lessons of History and it seemed strangely contemporary:

    “In the Athens of 594 B.C., according to Plutarch, “the disparity of fortune between the rich and the poor had reached its height, so that the city seemed to be in a dangerous condition, and no other means for freeing it from disturbances… seemed possible but despotic power.”35 The poor, finding their status worsened with each year—the government in the hands of their masters, and the corrupt courts deciding every issue against them—began to talk of violent revolt. The rich, angry at the challenge to their property, prepared to defend themselves by force. Good sense prevailed; moderate elements secured the election of Solon, a businessman of aristocratic lineage, to the supreme archonship. He devaluated the currency, thereby easing the burden of all debtors (though he himself was a creditor); he reduced all personal debts, and ended imprisonment for debt; he canceled arrears for taxes and mortgage interest; he established a graduated income tax that made the rich pay at a rate twelve times that required of the poor; he reorganized the courts on a more popular basis; and he arranged that the sons of those who had died in war for Athens should be brought up and educated at the government’s expense. The rich protested that his measures were outright confiscation; the radicals complained that he had not redivided the land; but within a generation almost all agreed that his reforms had saved Athens from revolution.”

    Excerpt From
    The Lessons of History
    Will Durant
    https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-lessons-of-history/id541673844?mt=11

    Reply
    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Thanks for this, very apt.
      I too am hoping for the “good sense prevailed” part.
      Q: would Solon run as a Dem or Repub? His policies sound about like Eisenhower (Team R) but nowadays that would mean he’d be running to the left of Team D.

      Reply
            1. ambrit

              I thought the same thing. So, Pence as Nero?
              Hillary as Livia? That sounds right. Bill had better watch out for the figs.

              Reply
  18. Oregoncharles

    “:The Impossible Job: Inside Facebook’s Struggle to Moderate Two Billion People”

    Or, IOW, Does NC Scale? Our hosts might have something to say about that (I haven’t read the comments yet, and may not have time today). I rather suspect not. The set of things that scale is much smaller than the set of things that do not.

    In any case, moderation is a form of censorship. Scale matters: on NC, it’s productive. On the scale of Facebook, as the article suggests, it becomes quasi-governmental, and therefore dangerous. It also becomes, inevitably, self-interested. Do we trust Zuck, or the various flunkies he puts on the job?

    Reply
        1. ChrisPacific

          Lots of them around here too (New Zealand). We used to see them in the water quite often when we were out sailing.

          Reply
  19. southern appalachian

    Well in parts of the appalachians you get a good bit of land for a few 100k and most likely a stream or two, if you are careful about the spot, that has not been degraded and it rains here and moss will grow on the roof of your hut but still perhaps this is all vanity.

    Reply
  20. Jack Parsons

    Building seawalls is the major infrastructure project of the 21st century. Labor unions should stop fighting rear-guard battles and go for the future.

    Reply
  21. Wukchumni

    An Account of My Hut n+1. Contemporary California.
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    I’ve been homeless for a week, part of the great hammockracy just hanging out, not making a living. Most everyone else is in tents on time-shares bought for the princely sum of $15 in the guise of a wilderness permit.

    In this day and age of $12 Billion worth of maintenance needed in our National Parks-with no funds forthcoming from Congress for the upkeep of our National Treasures, it’s unusual that pretty much no expense or effort will be spared in Search And Rescue should you need it, some SAR’s require many hours of helo time and the price tag can be in the tens of thousands of dollars, and yet nobody ever gets a bill, how does that work?

    One of the questions asked now from the rangers when procuring your wilderness permit, is whether you have a satellite linked signalling device such as a SPOT device?

    Sequoia-Kings Canyon NP doesn’t like them very much, as they tend to either get accidentally activated by backpackers, or the emergency button that sets off a SAR is utilized for ridiculous reasons, which are always a highlight in retrospect after each summer in eye rolling, as some of them are so very lame, such as the 2 fellows that activated a SAR because the water @ Cliff Creek was up to their ankles, or the trio that drank unfiltered water, and saw the need to push the button.

    At the ranger station I saw another backpacker that felt he had to take his gat, holster and ammo with him into the wilderness, and told the ranger so much. Thanks to a 2009 law by Congress, you can carry your firepower in our National Parks, but if you discharge it, you’ll be subject to arrest, as the signs proclaim just inside the park entrance.

    I’ve never ever felt the need for a weapon in 5,000 to 6,000 miles of walking in the High Sierra and why you’d want to burden yourself with 5 pounds of dead weight, is a mystery?

    It was a lot WASPier-this sojourn, the exception being an Asian fellow attired in a kilt with shaky English comprehension. As of late i’ve been seeing a good number of Indian-Americans (Mumbai-not Mohecan) on the trail, but not this trip. One thing we ran into was more European backpackers, Poles, Norwegians and Italians among the many nationalities. This would’ve been really unusual only a decade ago, but the internet has a wide breadth and everybody’s hep to potential hikes now.

    It started out great from a locals standpoint in that a mama bear and 3 cubs each about the size of a microwave oven, were spotted on Hwy 198 in town, and we got a good look, and apparently the matriarch has been up to no good along with one of her progeny, as they both sported red tag left earrings, symbolic of some first offense that got them tranquilized, sedated and marked as nuisancy bruins.

    That was the last glimpse of anything in a bear vein, including scat on the trail or nearby. They are quite scarce again in the higher climes.

    Reply
  22. The Rev Kev

    “Spanish Cabinet approves decree to exhume Franco’s remains”

    No word yet on whether his bones will be salted and then burned first. Depends on whether the Winchester brothers are busy or not. That Basilica where he is buried, by the way, was built in part with Spanish prisoner-of-war labour and has become a pilgrimage site for Francoists to this day. Franco is the only one buried in Valle de los Caídos that did not die during the Spanish Civil War and some say that the war never really ended as shown by the opposition by Francoists to digging up and identifying bodies in mass graves from this era. The bodies buried in Valle de los Caídos were actually exhumed from graves all around Spain without the knowledge or permission of the surviving relatives. More on this at-

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/apr/23/spain-to-begin-civil-war-exhumations-at-valley-of-the-fallen

    Reply
    1. Barmitt O'Bamney

      …and he never got his chance to push The Big Red Button. I hope it was some consolation for him that he pushed smaller buttons on thousands and thousand of people around the world.

      Who will break it to Lindsey Graham? Ole Cap’n is gone down in the briny deep and left his cabin boy forever.

      Reply
      1. Darius

        I think McCain would have been more Keynesian than Obama and had a more successful presidency. He would have been anxious to avoid being another Hoover. Where Obama was anxious to prove he wasn’t a tax and spend liberal. Fool. It got him nowhere because there’s no actual constituency for it. Of.course he did realize his dream and highest ambition of being welcomed into the global elite. And we were just supposed to bask in his awesomeness anyway.

        Reply
    2. Big Tap

      With McCain now deceased the Republican governor of Arizona will select his replacement. Most likely that new senator will be against Obamacare unlike McCain who voted not to eliminate it. McCain’s unexpected vote at the time saved it. Obamacare has many problems – lack of affordability if not eligible for a subsidy , extremely high deductibles, limited medical coverage, etc. – but to get rid of it with no replacement plan is a problem for the people that have it. Medicare for All is the obvious solution but that isn’t happening this year with this Congress. Will McConnell bring this up for a vote again now that McCain’s gone? It would be harder to repeal now that the senator from Alabama is a Democrat but being a ‘New Democrat’ Doug Jones may be persuadable to vote repeal?

      Reply
  23. French75

    Re: I Worked With Richard Russell

    This article is extremely well-written. I should say suspiciously well-written. Todd Bunker is a novelist living in Washington, and judging from his short bio is quite well-to-do. I’m quite interested in the story of how a novelist, world traveler, and professional vintner (Vin du Lac winery, since at least 2011 to present) found himself working in the soul-crushing airlines services industry. Jacobin Magazine (featured heavily in links and watercooler) did an interview, and he notes

    Management preys on the honesty, integrity, and ideals of the employees. I never felt intimidated by my immediate supervisors, but then again I was in my mid-forties and have a college degree. I’ve been around the block a few times.

    But he doesn’t really note how he’d wound up there. Now I know there’s no rule against erudite, introspective, thoughtful individuals working service jobs, and I hate to be that guy, but it does seem like an odd choice of tertiary job – unless it was research for his next novel.

    Just a weird thing…

    Reply
    1. Richard Kline

      1. The article was indeed well written, and quite interesting, especially if you know the area and the airport involved. The narrative voice caught my attention because it was, by two orders of magnitude at least, more articulate and mature than most of what appears in that particular publication.

      2. Being a novelist doesn’t pay beans. You’re lucky if you clear $10k in a year here and there, and most don’t. A year with $0 net income is much the most common year. The cred is great, but the pay and the hours are lousy. I say that as a novelist.

      3. Being a vintner is a seasonal job, particularly if you are buying your grapes on the market, which many small wineries like that would do, as contracts for quality fruit take some real capital. Mostly, it’s a labor of love. Breaking even is a win. Micro producers like I suspect that he is (I didn’t bother to research but I know most quality or sizable wineries in the state and that isn’t one), usually have a bunch of unsold back inventory, i.e money poured into bottles that never comes back out. Their suppliers consider themselves fortunate to be paid in full, and blessed to be paid on time. It’s not a profit generating operation unless you either scale to size or have superb fruit and a rep, and even then the profit only keeps you going year to year. The season is Sept-January at most, so you are free during the months Bunker evidently worked at Seatac.

      4. Bunker may have money outside of these two occupations, which both tend to cost more than you recoup. I can’t honestly be bothered to read his bio tonight, but maybe another day.

      5. I go with the ‘researching the next novel’ theory myself. He knew the job was crap going in, stayed less than a year, and was old by the physical standards of the work. He’d have made more money as a bicycle delivery person, in point of fact, so he must have been there for reasons beyond needing the work alone.

      Reply
  24. anon

    Re: Thousands Of Workers Rally Against Proposed Privatization Of U.S. Postal Service CBS Pittsburgh

    It doesn’t make sense that Pittsburgh is the only city in the news with angry postal workers. I could see, maybe, why places like Silicon Valley — which has a predominant number of Asian immigrants (many likely on visas, because most have them have an accent) delivering mail, who would surely be afraid of getting arrested in a strike delivering mail — aren’t having postal strikes, but I don’t think that’s the norm across the country.

    The whole thing makes me sick to my stomach. Frankly there are way too many non postal worker citizens who seem utterly unconcerned about such a thievery of a Public Service. It’s bad enough that Bipartisan Congresses have been allowing this attack to go on since Ronald Reagan (and what to say about the stunning silence around California’s Democratic Senator Dianne Feinstein[Blum]’s husband’s company being given the contract to sell off — and profit off of — old historic post offices The Public paid for.).

    (See also, for some Obama Administration back drop.)

    Reply

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