2:00PM Water Cooler 9/6/2018

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Readers, this being Naked Capitalism’s holiday week, I’m posting a Water Cooler with a few conversation starters and nothing else. Normal posting will resume on September 10. Talk amongst yourselves! –lambert

On the Times Op-Ed everybody’s so excited about, this is the most cynical, or realistic, take I can find. Thread:

See here on “senior White House official” as sources.

And before we go all Reddit and get excited about keywords (“rosebud” “lodestar”), thread:

(The phrase was “monkeypox.”)

* * *

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 (BS):

BS writes: “I’ve lived in Sugar Hill, Harlem for the last 11 years and just the past 3-4 they’ve planted a lot of oak, maple and fir trees along our 10 block stretch of Edgecombe Ave. earlier this year some residents planted sunflowers and others in one of the vacant plots. Sunflowers are now approaching 9’ and the flowers are 3’. Absolutely amazing to see at 7 am when I leave for work. Always worried about bee populations, so nice to see a healthy example on the left side of the sunflower.”

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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. Janie

    Salem Oregon get-together Saturday, September 29. Matt your calender for outdoor fun, games and conversation.

  2. Wukchumni

    An odd revolt, in that it’s a double-edged sword that the donkey show has drawn from it’s secretive scabbard, flays both ways.

    The smell of desperation has such a dank odor…

  3. Synoia

    Some kid, or committee of kids, wrote it.

    Smacks of dismissal and envy. Typical authoritarian response.

    1. Phillip Allen

      You must be unfamiliar with Mr. Bacharach’s work. To be fair, ‘authoritarian’ is one of those squishy words with a variety of meanings, so you may find fodder within his writing. Envy – I think not, but dismissive, utterly. Rightly so, if he’s correct.

      This is, it’s understood, a serving suggestion only. Your results may vary.

    2. djrichard

      The fact that this person is exposing their hand like this comes across as a SJW stunt – to establish their bonafides in the form of virtue signaling. Anybody close to the president by that time in their career will have had virtue signaling of that sort beaten out of their psyche, as it is a sure fire way to end any inner circle proximity to power.

      Vice versa, to lyman alpha blob’s point in his 2:15 comment below, competing agendas happens all the time in HQs of corporations. Except with one significant difference – they don’t go making their campaign public. They keep their cards close to their vest.

      This strikes me of immaturity.

  4. lyman alpha blob

    Who cares who wrote the op-ed? So Trump’s staff try to dissuade him from some of his bad ideas – isn’t that what every executive’s staff does from time to time? Or does every other president and CEO only hire sycophants and bootlickers?

    Just more nonsense to try to get a rise out of the “resistance” types if you ask me. Big nothingburger.

    1. Roger Smith

      What I find particularly egregious here is that the Op-ed entity is promoting at least some neo-conservative talking points, such as Trump not wanting to expel Russia diplomats. That is a good thing and he shouldn’t have done it if that was what he actually thought. This op-ed might as well have had “Deep State” in the by line as it seeks to make a hero out of unelected, random clowns “saving the world” through their interpretation of how it should be saved. Greenwald said it best:

      The irony in the op-ed from the NYT’s anonymous WH coward is glaring and massive: s/he accuses Trump of being “anti-democratic” while boasting of membership in an unelected cabal that covertly imposes their own ideology with zero democratic accountability, mandate or transparency

      I would ask why the Times even published this but… you know. Why is this paper still in circulation?

      1. jrs

        un-democratically elected cabal and un-democratically elected president (sorry the electoral college is not democratic). I can’t decide which is worse. Oh wait they all suck.

    2. Summer

      I’m not going to even make the assumption it came from inside the White House because the NYT said so. We will see…
      It keeps being said (again only said) that Trump has displeased some in the intelligence community.

    3. dcblogger

      I would say unprecedented. I didn’t read it, but they fact that someone, or even a group did this is very big. It is additional confirmation of the chaotic nature of the Trump White House. I wonder if it has partly to do with the fact that it is socially unacceptable to work for Trump. DC is a VERY Democratic town, 90% of the voters voted for HER. (I am part of the 2% that voted for Stein.) There is a conservative strata here, the House and Senate and their staff are mostly Republican, and then there are the conservative think tanks, AEI, Heritage, Cato, and probably some others. But apparently working for Trump does not cut it with other Republicans, so they have no place to socialize. I would say that they pressure is getting to them. Wait until after the November elections and the House and even possibly the Senate go Democratic, then they will REALLY feel the pressure. Shame on them for working for President Baby Prisons.

      1. Summer

        “DC is a VERY Democratic town…”

        I think you meant a “very Democratic Party town” or a town with “a lot of allegiance to the Democratic Party.”

      2. lyman alpha blob

        It’s unprecedented in that the NYT, whose reporting is dubious at best, felt the need to publish an op-ed to state what ought to be obvious. Does anyone think George W planned all his wars without staffers showing him where the countries he wanted to bomb were on the map first? Reagan probably had staffers reminding him of his own damn name by the end of his term. Trump is hardly the first president with a bad idea. The op-ed supposes that all other presidents were infallible saints whose actions were always correct. But as much as the media would like to canonize Ronny and Barry and Bubba, etc, the lot of them are more likely to be found in one of the inner circles of H – E – double hockey sticks. Trump will fit in nicely there with the rest of the crooks.

        1. Oregoncharles

          And apparently Mrs. Wilson ran the country, with the connivance of staffers, after Woodrow’s stroke. Did an OK job, too, though I wonder who was signing legislation.

      3. Pat

        Please make that President Baby Prisons II, some of us can’t and won’t forget the Obama administrations actions in that regard much as the Democratic support team might want.

      4. Daryl

        I don’t know if anyone ever wrote an op-ed before, but “high-ranking anonymous official in the Obama administration” criticizing something Obama was doing (particularly if they were scared of him doing something good) seemed like a standby to me.

    4. RUKidding


      It’s one thing for me to question my boss and offer advice/suggestions/ideas/whatever that might be contrary and antithetical to what my boss likes or wants. However, when my boss tells me what to do, I do it. That is, unless somehow it’s so egregiously wrong or illegal or what have you, that I simply cannot follow those orders. In which case, then I either go to my boss’s supervisors and explain my side of the story and take the consequences, or I quit, OR I follow those orders and accept the consequences (which could be either positive or negative for me)

      What I read is that Trump’s advisers, etc, are actually making decisions for him without Trump even knowing about it. IOW, they are going around him to make decisions that these unelected advisers are deeming for the good of the country. Oh really? How do we actually KNOW that? Fact is: we don’t.

      Hey – Trump was on the ballot, and he won. These unelected advisers were not elected. It’s like they are simply “explaining” things to Trump in order to sway him, or whatever. NO. They’re taking away Trump’s right to make whatever decisions he feels like making.

      Frankly, I can’t stand Trump, but this is a palace coup, and it doesn’t sit well with me. The US populace voted in Trump, not his advisers. The advisers should be fired asap. This is just plain wrong.

      Of course, the egregious OpEd could be Trolling. That I don’t know. I ceased reading the NYT a long time ago, as I knew it was garbage then. GIGO, as usual, for the NYT. No surprises there.

      And finally: IF these advisers are so concerned about Trump’s mental health and capabilities – which the OpEd purports they are – then they need to come out of the shadows and stand tall and make their bold statement and take whatever consequences there are. Transparency is needed.

      No more shadow governments, please.

      1. lyman alpha blob

        Oh I don’t disagree with you at all. My point is that I’m sure Reagan’s advisors, to use just one example, routinely made decisions without him knowing about it since he was [family blogging] incapacitated his whole 2nd term. So what’s new here? Nothing other than Trump isn’t an official member of the DC Kool Kids Klub. The op-ed writer seems to think that staff making decisions for the president is something new, which it most surely is not. So I don’t get what the fuss is about. Everyone knew he was a moron when they voted for him, just like they did with the Shrub and Ronnie Raygun.

        1. RUKidding

          I was quite vocally (and otherwise) opposed to this with RReagan, so why should I not vocalize my complete disgust and upset and disagreement over this policy now?

          It’s wrong. And it should be stated, IMO, in no uncertain terms that if, in fact, this is what’s happening in Trump’s White House, that it is: a) WRONG, and b) should cease and desist immediately. And furthermore, if it’s discovered who is doing this, then they should be fired immediately.

          Just bc it’s “not new” does not make it a “nothingburger.”

          Time for this to stop.

          I’m utterly opposed.

            1. a different chris

              Wait a second, we are getting a little “absolute” here.

              Ignoring the Trump thing for a moment, somehow, the top guy doesn’t make all the decisions anywhere that is remotely functional. He sets the overall agenda, reviews how things are going, and makes the *big* decisions.

              So what level of decisions are we talking about? Bomb the Mideast – yeah Trump better explicitly be the source of that. The Army and the Navy bickering over 10 billion that Congress allocated for something unclear? Presidential level yes, but if he doesn’t really care then just sit down with the appropriate people and hammer it out.

              Only so many hours in the day for even a capable leader.

            2. RUKidding

              Possibly that’s true, but I would’ve been opposed to that as well.

              Sheesh. What’s so hard to understand about this?

              bringing up older events in order to justify this egregious behavior does not justify these actions.

              Needs to stop.

              1. djrichard

                Sorry that wasn’t meant to tweak you. The article gets at an interesting point. Who’s responsibility is it to discipline the foxes in the hen house? The answer is that it’s ultimately the presidents responsibility.

                Carter might have found an equilibrium he could have lived with, for the particular fox in that story, who knows. I suspect most presidents (including presidents of corporations) are like that. Use their power as needed to discipline. And leave laissez faire when they can.

                Are there downsides to abusing your staff (foxes) with too much discipline? In corporations at least, foxes have the option to look for greener pastures at other (less abusive) corporations. But if you’re a fox in the WH, where else are you going to go? You’ll put up with the abuse. Which in a twisted way is how they establish their bonafides that they belong there.

                Whats unusual in this case is that one of the purported foxes went off the reservation, to partner with other sources of power. That tells me he’s not really one of the bonafide foxes on Trump’s team.

      2. ChrisPacific

        If it’s true (and in fact even if it was ghostwritten) it offers some insight into what the ‘Deep State’ actually looks like in practice. It’s the Overton Window. Some ideas or policy choices are simply so outrageous that right-thinking people don’t want any part of them, and even see secretly sabotaging the US president as a lesser evil. That includes things that most of us would probably agree with, like not bombing countries back to the stone age and assassinating their leaders based on uncorroborated and quite possibly false evidence. It also includes a large part of neoliberal ideology, and (increasingly) neoconservatism as well. Trump wants to shut down free trade! How could he? Doesn’t everyone know it’s good for humanity? I’ll just remove this bill from his desk, knowing he has a bad memory and may forget all about it. Trump wants good relations with Russia! Doesn’t he know they’re attacking our democracy? Maybe there’s a way I can make that one vanish as well.

        None of this requires a shadowy network of conspirators working tirelessly to thwart the will of voters and elected officials. All it needs is a common ideological framework that is pervasive enough that people can be counted on to behave certain ways and do certain things, all of their own free will.

        In a sense, this is empowering. The way to attack the Deep State is to move the Overton Window. That’s it – and it’s something that NC works on every day.

          1. Wukchumni

            We are @ the lowest unemployment rate since 1969, so why are there ad hoc Hoovervilles all over the place?

    5. L

      I think the who matters in one respect. Leaks happen in all White Houses and people leak for many reasons. So far as I can tell in this White House leaks happen as a matter of course and happen to settle scores, or just hit political enemies. Whoever this person is they have an agenda either to push someone (i.e. Trump) out, or just to sow chaos down the line. Knowing who wrote it tells us who expects to benefit from actually copping to the existence of a genuine constitutional crisis.

      At this point my money is on Pence or someone who wants to see Pence as president.

      1. Edward E

        Hmm, didn’t Paul Manafort whisper into his ear and introduce Pence for VP? Maybe a plan b on the drawing board… and isn’t MP a member of Koch’s Federalist Society

          1. Edward E


            …Pence’s close relationship with dozens of conservative groups, including Americans for Prosperity, the Kochs’ top political organization, was crucial to his rise. A key link to these groups was provided by Marc Short, the current White House official, who in 2008 became Pence’s chief of staff at the Republican Conference. Short had grown up in moneyed conservative circles in Virginia, where his father had helped finance the growth of the Republican Party, and he had run a group for conservative students, Young America’s Foundation, and spent several years as a Republican Senate aide before joining Pence’s staff. His wife, as it happened, worked for the Charles Koch Foundation, and he admired the brothers’ anti-government ideology. A former White House colleague described Short to me as “a pod person” who “really delivered Pence to the Kochs.” …

  5. Joel

    Yep that piece of idiocy was written by a junior staffer, most likely some junior staffer or intern at the NYT. What a crock.

    1. kareninca

      If I had infiltrated an organization and were effectively changing how it was run, I would keep my mouth shut and keep doing it. I wouldn’t write an editorial that might led me to being found and stopped. It makes no sense in a most basic way.

    2. Darthbobber

      This assumes that the senior staffers write less crappy buzzword laced stuff. A sample of the stuff many of them have put out under their own names should disabuse anyone of that notion. You really can’t infer much of anything from style, esp since the delegation of the actual writing is a likely option for any of these people.

    1. WobblyTelomeres

      Perhaps, written by a Koch employee and submitted by a Koch loyalist.

      “I didn’t write it.”


    2. Steely Glint

      I agree. With Kavenough as a Supreme, the Koch agenda will be pretty much complete. I think the Koch’s are extremely angry that the car they so carefully crafted is being driven by a clown. Pence is in the Koch’s pocket, and I believe they are ready for him as president. I don’t think Pence wrote the op-ed, but one of his followers did. Perhaps the thinking was Trump gone, Pence becomes the white knight & savior of the nation. I shudder at the thought of a Koch coup.

    3. Synoia

      “registered voters say they favor the Democratic candidate over the Republican candidate in their district by 52 percent to 38 percent.”

      That poll had to set off fire alarms within the Koch network. How can they complete the dismantling of Federal regulations and Federal agencies if their hand-picked Republicans lose control of the House of Representatives and possibly even the Senate.

      Err, buy Democrats?

  6. Wukchumni

    Well, knowing the reign of error’s penchant for drama and this being a litmus test of loyalty, complete with public denials by those in the highest ranks of possibility, is it possible he wrote it himself?

    1. L

      This is pure speculation on my part but I don’t see how he would benefit from that. He is a showman yes but he has always liked shows that place him completely, visibly, in charge of things. This does too much to dent his image for that. That said someone does stand to benefit from the ongoing purge and this letter may well have been written by that someone, perhaps the same someone who told such naughty tales to Wolff and the others and got Bannon pushed out.

      1. Carey

        My first thought on hearing about the anonymous Op-Ed was “ok, what real happenings are we being misdirected away from, now?”

        One just can’t be cynical enough, IMO.

      2. UserFriendly

        I was actually just going to post how it makes perfect sense that Trump is behind it.

        Trump ok’d it to try and fire up his base for midterms. He told some interns to write it based off of the stuff in Woodward’s book, to step on that news cycle and to give credibility to ‘The Deep State.’ The letter isn’t anything that wasn’t at least very strongly implied in Woodward’s book. If it’s getting out Trump would rather get ahead of the story.

    2. danpaco

      If trump does nothing to distract from this narrative over the next few days then I would agree with your assessment. Otherwise, this op-ed has done a wonderful job of hiding Kavenaughs correspondence problem with the judicial committee democrats.

      1. RUKidding

        And there is that. I agree.

        Great distraction from the Kavanaugh side show. What a disaster that is going to be.

  7. Mark Gisleson

    Correcting a previous comment, Fighting BobFest will be next weekend, not this weekend. And in Madison and La Crosse, not just La Crosse. And there will be ‘not old’ people in attendance.

    I will post more corrections to my previous comment as necessary.

    [Classic ’90s website here: http://fightingbobfest.org/%5D

  8. Stormcrow

    Dangerous Business
    Essentially part of an ongoing attempt by the phony “Resistance” to overthrow an election.
    Our electoral process is in bad enough shape as it is.

    I agree with wsws.org that the possible palace coup against Trump has nothing to do with democracy.

    The machinations of high-level government officials, acting with the support of substantial sections of the corporate and military-intelligence apparatus, have nothing to do with the hostility that broad masses of working people harbor against the Trump administration for its wars and its attacks on social programs, immigrants and democratic rights.

    1. apotropaic

      I also agree wholeheartedly except for the prescription. We need to back someone electorally. So choose democratic socialists or other progressives who are trying to get the Democratic Party nod and steal seats where you can. That has to be part of the plan. Third parties aren’t happening. What’s the plan, if you stipulate that? And if you won’t stipulate that, what party am I to run with if I hope to influence national debate in the next 50 years?

      No snark please. I never see anyone tell me what to do. As a Stein voter in PA where it mattered I want better options. Now.

      1. Oregoncharles

        this is hardly the time to give up on “3rd” parties, just as the legacy parties self-destruct. Read Gaius’s article, newly posted: we’re in a pre-revolutionary condition. No telling where that goes, but the young, at least, have moved left in a big way. Concretely, “affiliation” with the elder parties is down to about 30% each, not really a “major” party. “None of the Above” has a decent shot in 2020.

        Revolutions happen when “the scepter is rolling in the gutter” – said of the French Revolution, just as true of the Russian. IOW, when the old regime loses legitimacy. That’s what all this commotion over Trump, Kavanaugh, etc. amounts to. At that point, there has to be an alternative for people to turn to, or things get ugly really fast. I’m not saying the Greens will be it, might be something new – which we would join, if it looked real. But there has to be something, and one more failed attempt to “take over” the Democrats isn’t it. All that does, at best, is to label yourself with a failed brand.

        At 40% or more, “independents”, collectively, are a solid plurality.

  9. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    The most cursory familiarity with the house style of political op-eds ghost-written by junior staffers plainly reveals this piece to be precisely that. Some kid, or committee of kids, wrote it.


    Perhaps, stylometry AI can pinpoint precisely the authorship here.

  10. Carla

    Since this is an open thread, here’s a hyper-local story about programs our local public library has undertaken to welcome refugees to our community. I thought the NC commentariat might enjoy it.

    Here’s a key quote from the library director, Nancy Levin:
    “The library represents a neutral space, and a lot of people ask things they would be afraid to ask other forms of governmental entities, because they’re not well-versed in civic affairs.”

  11. Wukchumni

    Why Are People Who Live in Mountainous Regions Almost Impossible to Conquer? The National Interest
    This was in the am links, and i’ve always thought the folly of us being in the Afghanistan would be tantamount to the Russians invading Nevada and staying there for 17 years, despite there being no ground to gain worth holding in rather endless basin and range, with the supply chain from Moscow causing everything to be incredibly dear in delivering.

    We obviously don’t want to ‘win’ in the ‘stanbox, except when it comes to profits for a select few.

    I guess it boils down to KBR being satiated, is when we vamoose.

    1. Synoia

      1. Gravity is on their side.
      2. Rocks are free.
      3. Horses cannot chase the locals
      4. Vehicles are worse than horses
      5. Ruling is an uphill battle.

      Switzerland, Lesotho, Afghanistan, etc.

      1. Wukchumni

        My grandmother came from a little town in the foothills of the Tatra Mountains in Slovakia, and here I am in a little town in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada.

        My mom gave me a 1955 book of photos of the Tatra range, and I was taken by how similar it was to the Sierra, albeit the latter is 6,000 feet higher.

        An odd homing instinct…

    2. BoyDownTheLane

      Don’t forget Washington and the Colonials. Washington said he would make his last stand in the Appalachians with the Scots-Irish.

  12. John

    Haha! Paranoia strikes deep, into your life it will creep. That song’s for DJT. He should have listened more and done drugs in the “60’s instead of trying to suck up to Daddy for the money.
    We thought we were seeing the Boomer id express itself in the ’60’s, but I think with Clinton, Bush and Trump we are getting to live out the real deal. Chaotic, dark, twisted, thwarted, repressed, needy, greedy and always paranoid.
    “Saddam, call the palace” is one of the better Twitter responses to his current rage tweets.

    1. kareninca

      I thought that paranoia was a fear of imagined enemies, not a rational fear of being surrounded by real enemies that you have evidence of. The NYT piece causes Trump’s beliefs that he is persecuted look completely reasonable. I’m not sure that the author realized that would be the upshot.

      1. pricklyone

        Has anyone considered that this could be the whole idea, here?
        (Considering that many of the staff are his relatives, it would seem easier for them to do a false flag, than for a real conspiracy among the staff to take hold)
        Seems like the insiders trying to drum up anger among the base to me…a plant.

  13. edmondo

    Re: The NYT “op-ed piece”

    Does anyone else think that we would be seeing the same kind of “resistance” if Bernie Sanders had won? Wouldn’t the NYT be celebrating how some Clinton operative would be sabotaging Sanders’ agenda like income inequality, Medicare for All or a Wall Street transaction tax to try and keep him “within the norms of political discourse”

    1. RUKidding

      Possibly but that’s speculation that has nothing to do with the current incident.

      That and $4.50 will get you a cup of coffee somewhere.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Both trigger Swamp creatures’ defense mechanism.

      There are useful lessons here, so no one can say they are fooled twice.

      And perhaps a debt of gratitude to, er, Trump?

    3. Brooklin Bridge

      With Sanders It wouldn’t be made public except in the form of scandals; his wife and so on, that would require him Sanders to behave. This is the non elected high level bureaucrats in the MIC and the National Security agencies being told all’s well, don’t worry about Korean reunification, or avoiding cold war with Russia, or major trade wars, or any of that stuff; we’ve got it under control. Whether that’s true or not (the under control part) is something else.

      1. Brooklin Bridge

        Sanders doesn’t throw tantrums and he would be arguing for things most people want. Don’t get me wrong, the powers that be would be very concerned if Sanders managed to cut Military spending, or looked like he would succeed at universal health care – thus screwing the insurance industry – but scandals and smears would be the only way, one couldn’t argue about his sanity.

        BTW, I hear there is a French dude who’s arguing this was set up by Trump himself to wreck the NYT reputation. Interesting idea – though I very much doubt it.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Tantrums have nothing to do with how powerful players react to existential threats.

          Hamlet plays dumb or pretends to be mad. Insanity or other mental tactics are one way to defend oneself…in some situation.

          Mad King Ludwig was mad, and his resistors invoked their version of the 25th Amendment.

          So it might or might not work.

          1. Brooklin Bridge

            Ok, I’ll bite; who’s the powerful player? Trump??, he’s a player in-power but a powerful player, not so much though sometimes it almost, just almost seems that way.. Then pop…

            You’re on to something with the different ways of dealing with existential threat. If Trump is actually one cool dude faking the ego-maniacal-tyrant with super thin skin, he’s superlative; the best of the best.

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              The powerful players I had in mind were those Russia-gate narrators. I wasn’t thinking Trump, but he is a powerful player, like you said.

              Rephrased, hopefully less confusing, the CIA, FBI, DOJ, etc guys (and gals), sensing danger, don’t care Trump, or the next guy to come along (maybe Sanders, for example) throws tantrums or not.

              It could be that the barking dog doesn’t bite, or bite as hard, and safer for the creatures to think this way, and hit back harder, absence more information on the quieter person.

              1. Brooklin Bridge

                Got it. Yes, a distinct possibility. Sanders would certainly be more of a threat to them in some ways, but not in others. Anyway, they didn’t see Trump coming, but they will make sure, or try damn hard, that Sanders never gets a whack at it in the first place.

        2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          I think emperor Claudius exaggerated his weak knees and his confused speeches, along with head shaking and stammering, before ascending the throne, and he was, relatively speaking, good.

      1. Rhondda

        Trump had/has some faction(s) of the military, it seems. No powers had Bernie’s back, I fear. So, yes, worse.

  14. Wukchumni

    The CANZ housing bubble is winding down big time, and sales of domiciles have tanked in the USA.

    The powers that be decided a decade ago to not only bring the housing bubble back here, they even managed to top the highs of back then, and then sum. This led to the public being under much stress in either renting or buying, and prices shot to the moon all over, as in unsustainable.

    I’ve mentioned this before, but homes are the only commonly held used consumer item that goes up in value, everything else loses value immediately if not sooner. Drive a new car off the lot, and crash, it loses 25% just like that.

    1. djrichard

      This can keep inflating higher and higher as long as the monthly payments can be made. But then I see things like this: This Is What $4 Million Buys You In Vancouver’s “Housing” Market I originally saw this posted about on ZH and they calculated: “with a 20 per cent down payment of $800,000, mortgage payments would be a modest $19,000 per month at 5.34% interest.” Not too many monthly salaries can afford that.

      So let’s assume it’s bought for all cash instead. Hard to assume they’re going to rent it out for whatever prevailing wages can support rent wise. In which case, is this simply flipping where they don’t even need to rent it out? I had some relatives of mine pursuing such strategies in the last housing bubble.

      1. a different chris

        A 4mil house isn’t for the likes of us who think about mortgages et. al. It’s for a completely different level of wealth than we know.

        I would bet the majority of people who own a… I dunno, let’s say 2.5 million house own more than one domicile. And it’s funny because if you own a 10 million house you are even more likely to own a few other homes. And I mean actual homes, not “investment” structures. Didn’t somebody say the most expensive part of London is basically empty of people?

      2. Wukchumni

        The key difference between housing bubble uno and housing bubble duo is vacation rentals, and when the market craters, all of the sudden all of those short term tenants players that overpaid on the basis of getting 2x or 3x what old school monthly rent would fetch, will get creamed.

      3. djrichard

        Here’s the googlemaps link to that particular house. https://goo.gl/maps/L17rYnvdoC12 . Look at the street view.

        – cars strike me as middle class to upper middle class.

        – doesn’t look like 2nd home vacation community. But looks can be deceiving and I’m not familiar with the area. They’re 7 blocks away from the inlet to Vancouver.

        To me it looks like these homeowners won the lottery. They were there before the bubble and they haven’t quite aged out yet. In the mean time, some properties are going up for sale, and big big money is moving in, driving up the price in a big way. But it’s not showing up in the caliber of cars yet.

        Hard to see that flipping makes sense here. Unless the idea is just to sell to a bigger fool. Certainly possible.

        Otherwise, if not flipping, it’s hard to see that the big money wants to be cohabiting with neighbors like this. Unless they’re waiting for everyone to retire out (claim their lottery prize) and then bulldoze and rezone it for skyscrapers? Seems less likely.

    2. kareninca

      I have a neighbor who just bought a second home in the Sierra foothills – in Mariposa. It is a very fire resistant home. I wonder if she bought at the top of the market, or if she has bought at the start of a new lower-price time. She and her husband are desperate to have a place where their sons can live with them in years to come if they need a place to live; the condo in Silicon Valley is not really big enough for four adults.

  15. LaRuse

    My coworkers believe I am cynical beyond saving or straight up wearing tin foil underwear, but, admitting first that I have not read the OpEd, I can’t help but wonder, not that POTUS wrote it (I really doubt he is this clever), but if it was written at his behest or on his behalf. For the frothing-at-the-mouth Anti-Trumpsters, it serves as an excellent distraction (Kavanaugh hearings anyone?) and makes it appear as though there is some anonymous NeoConservative superhero out there saving us all from [insert whatever post-apocalyptic imaginative idea you think comes to their minds]. For the Trump Fans in the world, of which there are STILL many (I am related to some of his biggest fans), they see their own biases confirmed – that there really IS a Deep State out to undermine THEIR president; that THEIR President would be having so much more success if he wasn’t being sapped from the inside; that all of the NeoCon Unicorns and Rainbows they were promised, like the Wall and a total Muslim Ban, would have happened as promised except for that evil Deep State keeping them from getting their wishes granted.

    So the best case scenario is that American democracy is being unraveled by unknown and unelected “senior officials” manipulating our President? I can’t view Twitter at work, but I expect by the time I get home tonight, #Lodestar will be some kind of Resistance rallying cry. Spare me.

    1. danpaco

      If Trump does nothing to distract from this op-ed narrative or attempt a new story line over the next few days you may be on to something. Speculation is fun!

  16. JohnnyGL

    So, throughout the whole Russia-gate story, I’ve been assuming a level of good faith among the media in that they weren’t just making up anonymous sources and that someone was ACTUALLY talking to them and saying that Russia was doing all these horrible things to destory our democracy. I’ve always just sort of assumed that SOMEONE was Clapper and Brennan and maybe 1-2 other of their trusted minions. Maybe the guiding hand of Podesta or David Brock lurking somewhere in the background.

    But, with the tweet above….and it’s uncanny adherence to the editorial page’s consistent, uniform opinion. It’s very much within the realm of possibility that the NYT just made the whole thing up.

    Perhaps I’m not cynical enough?!?!!?

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I’ve been assuming a level of good faith among the media

      I don’t. The stakes are too high. Far higher than Iraq, and look what the Times was willing to do then.

  17. JohnnyGL

    My vote for the most important line….

    “This isn’t the work of the so-called deep state. It’s the work of the steady state.” – Deep State wants a re-brand. It thinks the term ‘Deep State’ has gotten a little stigmatized and would like a much more pleasant title like “Steady State”.

    Because keeping the empire steady and making sure the looting continues is what’s most important!

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      They’re the steady hand on the tiller, donchaknow? The problem is that there’s a fresh breeze astern, and they’re sailing wing-on-wing for the rocks.

      The only tactic these fools know is escalate.

      Did those who argued for a Trump vote on the “heighten the contradictions” strategy realize that the contradictions exposed might be within the ruling class?

      1. Synoia

        Did those who argued for a Trump vote on the “heighten the contradictions” strategy realize that the contradictions exposed might be within the ruling class?

        Yes, some of us were counting on it.

      2. djrichard

        I have to admit I wasn’t expecting the dems to deploy the GOTV strategy they did: “elect me to impeach Trump … not”. And I have to admit that I wasn’t expecting it to play so well into GOP establishment hands, to keep Trump on a leash.

        That said, there’s no going back. Withstanding a sudden change in economic well being for the mass of the electorate, there’s no way to put this genie of populism back into the bottle. On this theme: https://www.epsilontheory.com/things-fall-apart-part-2/ (part 1 is a good read too).

    2. lyman alpha blob

      If that’s the case, I can’t wait until the Steady State gets obliterated by some Big Bang.

  18. Pat

    While the usual suspects get their knickers in a twist about the anonymous op ed that will in all likelyhood have the same effect as Bannon’s tell all, Russia!Russia!Russia!, etc I’m going to enjoy that magnificent sunflower. Especially since it has attracted a very large seemingly healthy bumblebee. Hurrah!

    And I’m still not holding my breathe regarding the supposed soon to be in place Democratic majorities. Especially since the Blue Dogs are already prancing around talking about how a small majority puts them in the catbird seat. Meaning even if they get a majority diddly will be done that actually helps the American people.

    1. Henry Moon Pie

      A great political genius (LOL) and all-around fine fellow (LOL) thinks Democrat Party supermajorities are just around the corner:

      Hence the anonymous op-ed trial balloon, and my gut prediction that Trump will be ousted sooner rather than later via the 25th Amendment. Definitely after November’s elections! But perhaps not much longer, and maybe even before the new Democratic congressional majorities get sworn in.

      1. sines

        This Democrat Party supermajority fiction because of demographics (like in your link) is such lazy thinking. No group is beholden to any candidate or party unless their interests are maintained. For example, Trump’s opposition via the DOJ to Harvard in the lawsuit on affirmative action and its impacts on Asian-Americans has been viewed favorably by those in the community paying attention to the case. I believe that moves like this where tangible benefits (or advocacy for) were given to constituents were what Bannon was advocating for in the goal of achieving a lasting electoral majority.

        1. Wukchumni

          Love your handle, but what does it mean exactly?

          Are you a self-styled expert on supermarkets, but have never been in one?

            1. ObjectiveFunction

              “You’re neither. You’re an errand boy, sent by grocery clerks, to collect an unpaid bill.”

              The horror!

    2. JohnnySacks

      The Dems precious scorecard has always been BS. Unlike the GOP, they need at least a 5 percent cushion to get their policy agenda passed. Possibly more because more moderates will step up to the plate to do the dirty deeds they typically rely on the blue dogs for during the time they ramp up their teeth gnashing dog and pony show.

      I’m staying away from the NYT piece, entertaining as it is, mostly because it’s a subtle addition to whistleblower persecution. Wait until whoever it is is revealed and the death threats will commence.

      1. DonCoyote

        Yes, Lambert had a link (in Links) on the Blue Dogs today, and how they want a Team-D House majority in the single digits so they “have more leverage”–i.e. so they can torpedo all but the most corporate/.1% friendly legislation without breaking a sweat.

        1. voteforno6

          You would think that the more left-leaning members would be able to use that same dynamic to their advantage. It’s funny how the Dem leadership always accedes to the Blue Dogs’ demands.

      1. The Rev Kev

        Ironic to think that the successor to the Star Trek franchise, including Voyager, is “The Orville” – a science fiction comedy-drama in the Star Trek tradition – and not its designated successor “Star Trek: Discovery” which is uhhh, hmmm, actually I don’t know what the hell it is. It is not Star Trek.
        Star Trek series are abbreviated so that Star Trek The Next Generation is abbreviated to STTNG. Now think what “Star Trek Discovery” would be abbreviated to to show how tone deaf it is to its fans. Personally I like Voyager as you had a female Captain and Chief Engineer as well as one of the main characters while showing no need to denigrate the male leads at the same time. Now that is Star Trek.

        1. Wukchumni

          A friend who has since passed away was one of 2 people behind the scenes that cleverly on cue pulled ropes that opened or closed ‘electric eye’ doors on the original Star Trek tv series.

          Who would’ve thought how common the real thing would become in our lives, just a few decades later?

        2. Mo's Bike Shop

          Star Trek TOS: Horatio Hornblower! — In Space!

          Star Trek TNG: Meetings! — In Space!

          Star Trek DS9: Meetings! — At the Mall! — In Space!

          Star Trek VOY: Run Joe! Run! — In Space!

          Star Trek ENT: Actually was starting to get into it, but that was on UHF. It was more like a radio show.

          I’m a HHIS fan. My evaluation of Voyager is this: I can now watch any clip of ST TOS third season and not even flinch :)

          1. NotTimothyGeithner


            Yep, TNG had that one episode, the one everyone ignores (a hold over; pre-writer’s strike episode which was originally meant to be Klingons before they made them members of the Federation and then just allies), but if the male characters weren’t so boring this probably would have been more noticeable.

            The TOS trinity they really had great on screen chemistry which absolved many sins. As for Voyager, the male characters were dull beyond belief. Janeway was given a new personality every other episode. The show pretty much ignored any ramifications of the whole mixed crew and being lost to just run scripts that weren’t good enough for TNG in the first place. Seven, the Doctor, and the occasional B’Lanna episode were the only tolerable ones. When I realized Ron Moore’s Battlestar Galactica was basically a Star Trek -less pitch for what Voyager was supposed to be, I was so bummed. It could have been good assuming they recast about half the characters.

            1. a different chris

              >the occasional B’Lanna

              The “occasional”???? B’eLanna pretty much made me quit watching the show, she was the Mary Jane of all Mary Janes. And the best part is we were supposed to feel and sympathize with the internal anguish of this 200+IQ beauty that could bend 2″ iron bars and managed to be the hero of whatever stupid situation the idiots managed to get themselves in.

              Yes, sigh, you’ve probably guessed that I’m a DS9 person.

          2. nippersmom

            Enterprise is actually my favorite Star Trek series, but I didn’t see it until years after it aired, on Netflix. Good character development and interesting story lines. I think the acting has held up better than the other series as well. Plus, who wouldn’t love Porthos?

        3. savedbyirony

          Yes, and they managed to cover many interesting, timely topics well within their sci-fi genre (I am thinking of an episode like “Nemesis”, for example), interjected plenty of humor and did a good job of tying in past story lines to new developments. However, i think it took a full three seasons to really find its groove, when they swapped out Kess for 7 and finally found the “right” style for Janeway’s hair!

          Almost completely off topic but I have been meaning to recommend it here sometime (and we are still in “open thread” week), has anyone else watched the series “Orphan Black”? Great female characters while i think they write the male characters well, too, and plenty of humor with interesting science considerations.

          1. The Rev Kev

            That seems to be a general thing with the newer Star Trek series – that they didn’t get into their groove until their third season. Stumbled across a review of the new Star Trek which has been on my mind lately. Apparently with the new STD, the re-designed Klingons are supposed to represent white nationalists (and by extension Trump supporters) – and this is from the show’s producers themselves. Video at-

            1. NotTimothyGeithner

              And the Klingons used to represent the Soviets. The Cardassians represented Germans. The Romulans were more of a spy craft Soviet. The Ferengi were not super appropriate. The Borg were Wal-Mart, then an all powerful empire for Janeway to blow up every other week. Oh my god, she’s the professor. She can build a coconut radio but gets the ship lost and keeps Neelix around. The Bajorans were both Jews and Palestinians.

              Generally, aliens on Star Trek tend to represent modern humans while humans on Star Trek represent Nietzschean Supermen. (This is why DS9 is the best series and a flaw with Voyager. Interesting aliens are better material than Ensign Harry Kim.) Its why Spock wasn’t fit to command the Enterprise despite being measurably better than Kirk and why Khan as an actual superman was a great villain and foil for Kirk. Unlike Kirk and the other human characters, Spock relied on a rigid moral code which required combat to the death, missing the point about mankind being something to outgrow.

  19. JerryDenim

    Read the NYT op-ed,

    Reminded me of the AIG trader Jake DeSantis (I believe? 10 years ago) NYT op-ed crying how unfair the anti-banker sentiment of 2008 was and how he was entitled to a bonus. Different subject matter, of course, but the self-righteousness, the complete tone-deafness, and the way writer who thinks they are coming across as sympathetic or admirable makes my blood boil with loathing all reminded me of that earlier op-ed.

    What’s crystal clear in the op-ed is Trump’s sin in DC isn’t his vulgarity, his capriciousness or any of his dealings with Russia, but his rather his occasional populism and nationalism that threaten the sacred tenets of the Washington Consensus. Starve grannies, poison kids, defund and privatize our most cherished public institutions, pump oil straight down the throat of a baby seal, explode the smoldering time-bomb of inequality with the latest Republican tax give-away to the wealthy, that’s all dandy and desirable according to our brave anonymous writer- but mess with the TPP or suggest that maybe we don’t need to fight WW3 with Russia and now our brave guardians of the Republican order will rouse from their slumber and defend our national values from the will of the American public that elected Trump as a giant middle finger to the kind of people who write op-eds for the New York Times.

    The writer actually comes across as more repugnant than Trump, and yes if I had to guess I would agree, this petulant screed sounds like the work of a low-level intern fresh out of Liberty University. Only a right-wing religious bigot well-practiced in art of ignoring glaringly obvious hypocrisy could accuse someone of immorality while calling Scott Pruit’s EPA and the Republican Tax bill of 2017 “bright spots”. I could also imagine someone like David Koch having a belief system like this, but everybody knows right-wing billionaire super-villains don’t pen their own op-eds and they don’t pretend to be people that have to work for a living, like White-House staffers. So yeah, Liberty University intern. That’s my guess.

    1. RUKidding

      Good guess.

      I was equally disgusted by this so-called righteous rant by an ignorant fool, who appears to believe that somehow s/he is “saving” the country from Trump.

      Ripping off the proles to give multi-billionaires tax cuts: Hooray! We did it!
      Destroying young kids lives by caging them away from their parents at the border: double plus Win!

      And so on. Yeah, those all “great” things to feel proud of, whilst subverting and obstructing the POTUS from doing his job. What a patriot… not.

      Writing style was typical dudebro style.

    2. Whoa Molly!

      Re: anonymous op ed — comment by JerryDenim

      “the complete tone-deafness, and the way writer who thinks they are coming across as sympathetic or admirable makes my blood boil with loathing “

      Well said! +++

    3. Rhondda

      My god, para3 just begged to be read out loud in a pompous Sunday morning TV voice. Oh it’s good to laugh. Fantabulous. Sir or madam, I salute you. Still, I think you could’ve reduced those two sentences to one with a little semi-colon jiggling ;-)

    1. Wukchumni

      “Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build a bridge even where there is no river.”

      Nikita Khruschev

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I don’t know what they want to do, but sometimes, I wonder.

      Here we are, 60, 70 years after WWII, Germans are visiting DisneyWorld, Americans are eating all the sushi Japan can sell (at least before Fukushima), Merkel and Putin are doing deals.

      But the people are on the right and people on the left are still warring.

          1. Wukchumni

            I don’t know, but I can tell you that Jane Fonda & a friend got lost in Sequoia NP about 30 years ago and needed to be rescued by helicopter, the pilot of which was probably a Vietnam veteran. Must’ve been an interesting rendezvous?

            When Deliser returned to Pear Lake and didn’t see Fonda, she went for help. “She was worried, as anyone would be,” Tweed said. Fonda’s disappearance was reported to the park service at about 11 p.m. Sunday.

            But the rangers needed to confirm that Fonda’s disappearance wasn’t a prank. They went into the room she had reserved at the Giant Forest Lodge near the start of the trail and looked through her personal effects and found her identification, “to make sure this was real,” Tweed said.

            Ranger Freda Sherbourne was dispatched on foot to Pear Lake and arrived just at dawn. Sherbourne radioed back that Fonda was still lost and a search party was activated. Two rangers flew a helicopter the 15 air miles to the Tableland and began an aerial survey. In the toe of the Tableland’s horseshoe, they spotted Fonda walking and waving her tin-foil blanket at the chopper.

            The rangers brought her back to her camp and, undeterred, Fonda and Deliser hiked back to civilization.

            “For us, it’s a very routine incident,” Tweed said. “Probably this kind of thing in that area happens a dozen times a year. Mostly people find their way back eventually, but in this case there was a request for help and we responded.”


        1. ObjectiveFunction

          50 years ago, an adventurous American could also travel overland from Tangier to Cairo, and from Istanbul to Madras. You can’t do that today, except virtually, from a drone camera in Nellis AFB.

  20. tokyodamage

    It’s weird how in 2018, anti-Trump leaks are never prosecuted, and the MSM love the leakers . . . but Reality Winner is getting 5 years for doing the same thing in 2016 . . . and nobody cares about her.

    Even weirder, Reality Winner’s leaks were about Russian interference – the main Resistance obsession.

    And yet (according to her wiki page) it’s Trump tweeting support for her, and she’s going to ask Trump for clemency . Can anyone make sense of this?

    I’m not very familiar with the case. . . but . . . What am I missing?

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I believe there is one propaganda technique, disclosed decades ago, that to make mopes align themselves with you, the message must be bold, loud, and repeated over and over again.

      With that in mind, maybe you’re not missing anything deep or convoluted. Maybe the simple, obvious observation is it.

  21. a different chris

    >£28.6 million worth of product

    I’m not getting the Burberry story — isn’t that roughly a couple pairs of pumps and a scarf? I guess they could have given them to somebody’s mum maybe… :)

    1. cnchal

      Thirty per cent of what’s produced doesn’t even make it to the shop floors — that’s pre-consumer waste.

      I have never read the words “pre consumer waste” before today with this implication, implication being colossal stupidity in the fashion and clothes industry. Not even close to matching production with expected sales, grossly overproducing and then destroying goods to maintain scarcity. It is demented.

      1. LifelongLib

        Several years ago I heard that in building the average house 35% of the wood is wasted. When they need a piece of wood the builders just cut it from the nearest raw lumber without caring if the rest can be used for anything else. Somebody actually started a business gathering waste wood from building sites, cutting it to standard sizes, and then reselling it. I hope things have improved…

        1. cnchal

          The improvement is right there in your comment.

          The reason a new piece of lumber gets used without looking for a piece that might work is that the time spent looking and measuring is more valuable than a new piece of lumber. There is an economic logic to it.

          Imagine if a builder builds one hundred houses, then bulldozes thirty to maintain scarcity and “value”.

          What allows the ‘fashion’ business to do this? Is it the cheap labor used in making the clothes, or cheap material, which is also made by cheap labor so that raw production costs are a minute fraction of the selling price? Since they all do it, there is no competitive advantage for any of them, and it results in colossal waste, pollution and every other negative externality one can come up with. Customers that have to have this crap are also culprits in this demented system. Filling closets with stuff that is worn a couple of times, or the price tags left on, the higher the better, stupidity reigns.

          Globalization is a disaster, no matter where one cares to look.

          1. Wukchumni

            When they unearthed Chaco Canyon, the Great Houses there that had 400 apartments or more, weren’t really lived in, but more of a Darrell’s Storage for important stuff such as turkey feathers, shells, turquoise and other valuables, a repository for what we would call now, junk.

            Climate change had rocked their world, and after a decade of a 50 year drought, they split and left most of the goods there, with no storage locker auctions pending.

      2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        It’s like when we used to throw away shrimp shells.

        Then came chitosan supplements, and an industry was born. No more waste in that sector of the economy.

        The same can happen in other areas. Perhaps beef tongue is not consumed in one culture. Then it becomes an export opportunity.

        1. Wukchumni

          We ate a lot of offal meat, and to this day I can still see the 9 year old me opening the fridge, staring down some poor cow’s tongue under cellophane laid low on styrofoam, sticking out @ me.

          It would be breaded and baked, and when I got my portion @ dinner, it promptly went down under on the sly to our Irish Setter Nero, who saved me oh so many times.

  22. Tomonthebeach

    If there was any doubt about how fickle journalists in this country are, watching “journalists” join the president they daily vilify in ferreting out the person who reminded us that our country is being run by a lunatic surely confirms it.

    1. voteforno6

      If Trump was actually behind this, it would be a fiendishly clever thing to do, on order of that eleventy-dimensional chess that Obama’s fans always that that he was playing. On the other hand, it could be just what it claims to be – and indictment of the craziness that is the Trump administration. That I find either possibility to be feasible really does reflect life in the Age of Trump.

      1. Charlie

        It wouldn’t need to be dimension chess. All it needs is someone who knows how to write a good script. Of which there are plenty. We see it in movies all the time.

        “Would a billionaire WWE Hall of Famer and United States President understand the theater of staged conflict for the advancement of plutocratic interests, and willingly participate in it? I’m going to say probably.”

      2. kareninca

        Trump has been planning for decades what he would do if he were to become president. Anticipating the midterms of his first term, he could anticipate that he would not have accomplished much of what his voters wanted. Planning to deal with that by creating the belief that he is battling a cabal within his administration would not be that complex a tactic. I’m not convinced that is what is going on, but it’s not a ridiculous view.

          1. kareninca

            Beating 16 Republican opponents in the 2016 primaries, and beating Hillary, despite her having the frantic support of the MSM. I don’t see how one gains anything by assuming he isn’t able to strategize; it is just wishful thinking.

      3. HotFlash

        I don’t have a problem with Trump ‘clever’, in a Jungian feeler type of way. He can read a person or a crowd and play to them pitch-perfect. What I can’t get my head around is Trump ‘fiendish’. That requires a whole scope of long-term evil, and I just can’t see that he has that. Narcissist, for sure; fiend, can’t get there.

    2. danpaco

      That article sums it up perfectly.
      The Anon op-ed is just more fuel to feed the speculation machine that is media profit.

    3. WobblyTelomeres

      Another good one!!!

      Anyone with their eyes even part way open already knows that America’s two mainstream parties feign intense hatred for one another while working together to pace their respective bases into accepting more and more neoliberal exploitation at home and more and more neoconservative bloodshed abroad. They spit and snarl and shake their fists at each other, then cuddle up and share candy when it’s time for a public gathering.

      Isn’t that the truth? Still, it is hard to imagine Chuck Schumer waving his fist at anything.

      1. Wukchumni

        The only possible thing Chuck would wave his fist at, is the unfortunate person that got between him and the cameraman.

  23. Wukchumni

    Nice sunflower, i’ve been an addict since I can remember, atypically involving a 1,200 step program devouring a 99 cent bag from Trader Joe’s. (by far the best tasting salted sunflower seeds i’ve ever had, and 1/2 the price of competing brands)

  24. Wukchumni

    New word:



    Kim Kardashian is no longer famous for being famous, she’s a Felonbudsman now.

  25. Wyoming

    I saw above a number of posts indicating they thought that the writer of the NYT op ed was not a senior admin official.

    That is almost certainly 100% wrong. The NYT knows who this person is and they would never have published this if the person was NOT a very senior official. Why? Because it is almost 100% certain that we will eventually know who this person is. Many posters here do not like the NYT (which is fine – I hate FOX myself) but they would not risk themselves in that way due to the damage it would do to them if they were found out to be playing that kind of game. This op-ed is not a fake and it being published is what journalists are supposed to be doing.

    There are way to many ways to write something when one does not want to be identified for any of the language in the op-ed to give away the author. So, barring incompetence, that is a dead end. And it is quite possible that the editing by the NYT, and perhaps unknown others who might have helped the original author, was designed to obscure who the author is. But we will eventually find out who wrote it – though it may be some time in the future.

    A more interesting discussion is ‘what’ the authors objective actually was. It is not clear. Was it to affect the election? Was it a cry for help? Was it to cause a further breakdown in Trump’s behavior? Is the author trying to help Pence into being Trump’s replacement? It seems impossible that it was to reassure the public as it will scare the opposition and enrage the base. The conclusion of the story will be interesting.

    Politics makes hooking look like choir practice. So getting enraged over this seems kind of silly. Backstabbing is par for the course. If this enrages you did you have the same reaction to the dozens of things Trump and his lackey’s have done which were equally nasty or outrageous over the last 2 years? If so, at least you are consistent. If not, why not? Country first, ideology and party way down the list.

    1. Jason Boxman

      My take away is movement conservatives are getting stuff done, despite Trump. It’s impressive in a horrifying way.

    2. Summer

      Ok. I’ll entertain that it came from inside the Beltway.
      If it is real, it could only be about the election because not one RFB in the Beltway give’s a rats about anything else this time of year.
      Other than the Supreme Court confirmation hearing…oh, wait…anyone forget about that?

      1. Wukchumni

        Would you like to supersize your MacGuffin order?

        In fiction, a MacGuffin (sometimes McGuffin or maguffin) is a plot device in the form of some goal, desired object, or another motivator that the protagonist pursues, often with little or no narrative explanation. The MacGuffin’s importance to the plot is not the object itself, but rather its effect on the characters and their motivations. The most common type of MacGuffin is a person, place, or thing (such as money or an object of value).


    3. Charlie

      “They wouldn’t risk themselves because of the damage it would do to them.”

      You mean like their cheerleader role in the lies that got us into Iraq, right?

  26. Wukchumni

    Surrounded by TV news cameras, Republican John Cox chatted with weary Californians stuck in long lines at a Sacramento DMV office and joyfully blasted Democratic leaders for turning the agency into a model of inefficiency.

    The appearance was primed to be a much-needed publicity coup for the gubernatorial candidate — until he compared the wait times to the Holocaust.

    “You know, I met a Holocaust survivor in Long Beach,” Cox said to a man waiting inside. “He survived concentration camps, and he said this was worse. He’s 90 years old and he had to wait four hours down in Long Beach. Can you imagine that?”

    He’s the reign of error’s man in more ways than one…

  27. The Rev Kev

    This story is all cats and laser light pointers. Democrat voters in the mid-terms will feel even more righteous about their ’cause’ because of this story while Trump voters will be even more convinced that what Trump says about fighting Washington is true. Trump meanwhile will be even more paranoid.
    Alex Jones could equally come out with an anonymous story on his site how a worker in the White House is secretly working to thwart these obstructionists and it would have equal validity. He’d do it on Twitter but now he has been permanently banned from that site along with his Infowars site. By this time next week this story will have been relegated to the back pages.
    Personally I am looking forward to when Trump presides over the UN Security Council in three weeks time as it will be hilarious. Probably he will demand that Iran be totally isolated from the outside world and maybe that it accept whatever deal he comes up for Palestine sight unseen to boot. He’ll hector, shout and insult his way through that session and try to bully them into compliance. And if they do not buckle, he will totally defund the United Nations. Just make sure to have your pop-corn ready to go.

    1. Wukchumni

      I recommend Black Jewell & olive oil, popped over an open flame on the stove in a pot.

      Expect inflationary measures of approx 1,742%, and then add salt.

  28. Alex morfesis

    The nyt op-ed hit piece…$e$$ion$…he is out the door before Thanksgiving no matter what…apparently has not denied nor gotten on his soapbox screaming about(unless moi missed that)…well…not sure what he screams about…but my bet the op-ed piece is/was $e$$ion$.

  29. Big Tap

    And in entertainment news today the death of Burt Reynolds. I feel saddened at his death unlike the murderer John McCain who was deifyed last week by the media and elites.

  30. BoyDownTheLane

    Elizabeth Warren calls fior the 25th Amendment to be used, and then immediately hits up the audience for cash. I hope the idiots running the show have a better plan than that, because I don’t think the American people are going to support it. This smells a lot like a move toward open political fracture morphing into armed civil confrontation while they posture openly in Syria, the Pacific and the Ukraine for armed conflict with Russia, Iran and China. To quote someone else, what could go wrong?

    Where (who?) are the calm and reasoned voices?

    1. Darthbobber

      The 25th amendment is of no more use than impeachment. Once he says “NO, I am not incapacitated”, he’s back on top. Unless, of course the VP and a majority of the cabinet say “yes you are”, which gives them 48 more hours, at which time Congress assembles and ultimately needs a two thirds vote in each house.

    2. JTMcPhee

      It’s like losing the instructions for some complex techno-egobit. Or “legacy code.” Nobody knows how it works, what it does, or how to direct or repair it. So each individual and little group reaches in for a dip in the Cornucopia, grabbing as much as they can and elbowing everyone else out of the way. And a very few still try, against wisdom and fueled by that Circe’s lure, hope, to make sense of the thing, try to figure out the parts and how they interconnect and operate, and get the thing to do “something good and useful.” With no agreement, of course, on what “good” and “useful” or heaven help us, “beneficial” even mean. Hence the flailing and chaos.

      So those of us who “count,” in the sense of having power to nudge or bend the direction of the thing, descend into self-pleasing self-service. And stuff like Algozon and Falgobook and the Global Network-centric Interoperable Military War-Toy Market-Driven Supply Chain Battlespace and the rest, develop group consciousnesses of their own, the real Artificial Intelligence, and their own special means of hoovering up wealth and generating the conditions (“chemical attack in Idlib!!!! ZOMG!!! Send in Raytheon cruise Missiles and GBUs!) and marketing strategies.

      Because no one knows what it’s all supposed to be about. Religions, those “repositories of morality and faith,” fail to illuminate and inform, and start showing the dirty cuffs and collars and cassock fringes. “Nations” turn out to be just collections of myths with some overlays of genetic similarities and affinities. “Communities” always end up with partisans and patricians fighting over the spoils, or get swallowed by Bigness (Walmart, etc., and annexation and such) and the effects of that most perverted of inflictions, “global trade and finance.”

      Small groups of humans often develop and, for a while, operate on a principle of comity and cooperation in the name of survival and comfort. Not always, and anthropologists have lots of examples of how cultures fail. So there’s not much to look for in a descent back into rustication and serial replication of the “failed experiment of ‘civilization’”.

      One wonders if it is even possible for there to be a central organizing principle that might be sufficiently attractive to inform all of us, in our daily activities and planning and aspirations, in how to go about the continuation of the species and the reduction of pain and loss in the lives of others.

      In the meantime, more and more of us either run amok, burdened beyond bearing with anomie to the point that we randomly kill and wound hapless mopes within reach (mass shootings, stabbing sprees, suicide belts and vests,) or “take the easy way out.”

      And along comes Liz Warren, the latest to toss her own spinning hat and persona into the Maelstrom. And the useful idiots among us get all wet and excited at the chance to participate in a regicide. Those have such a wonderful history or success, now don’t they?

    3. Carey

      That Warren has called for the 25th amendment to be used in Trump’s case has
      cost her my respect, and possibly my McVote.

  31. VietnamVet

    The author(s) of NYT resistance op-ed are younger John McCain neo-cons. They also believe in the free movement of people, goods, services and capital. They are at top of the pyramid; with all the right thoughts and beliefs to serve the global oligarchs. They are like Hillary Clinton. The resistance cannot understand how a spoiled 6th grader in his 70s was elected President. The 10% are in a bubble divorced from reality. Russians are the enemy. They must be to blame.

    Indeed, if sovereignty and tribalism win, the global value chain will be cut and so will be their golden goose. The Green Zone in Baghdad was mortared tonight. The leaders of Iran, Turkey and Russia are meeting in Tehran Friday. If Idlib Province is retaken and the Jihadists use chemical weapons to get the West to save them, US, UK and France will be, at best, in a war with all of Shiite Islam; or, at worse, in a shooting war with Russia that will destroy the world.

    1. Wukchumni

      In an odd way it feels as if we are all crew on B. Traven’s Death Ship, in that the empire is so decrepit that our vessel is worth more sunk than afloat.

          1. Wukchumni

            B. Traven’s Treasure of the Sierra Madre is that rarity of rarities in that both the book and the movie are terrific.

  32. Darthbobber

    Seems everybody wants to cast themselves as Horatius at the Bridge. But without the getting wounded part, or the jumping into the Tiber in full armor. Maybe there’s work out there for #resistance stunt doubles.

  33. Darthbobber

    Truman on his successor.
    ‘He’ll sit here and he’ll say ‘Do this. Do that.’ And nothing will happen. Poor Ike- it won’t be a bit like the army.”

    Actually more like the army than Truman knew. Generals are quite adept at stalling, and in extremis may insist, even in an immediate crisis, that the order be direct, unambiguous and written. And someone who doesn’t want their fingerprints all over the decision may decline to give such an order.

  34. allan

    Teacher strikes, unrest hit West Coast as unions flex muscle [AP]

    Fights over teacher salaries and working conditions are escalating along the West Coast, emboldened in part by the momentum from widespread teacher strikes in more conservative states.

    The teachers in these blue states — with robust teachers’ unions, the right to strike and legislatures that are generally more supportive of education funding — are tapping into a shift in public sentiment that supports better wages for teachers that came as a result of the “Red4Ed” protest movement that began earlier this year. …

    That’s also a show of force for the unions after a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in late June that declared government workers can’t be required to contribute money to labor groups. As the state teachers union flexed its political muscle by spending in such an unprecedented but high-stakes way, local leaders say their membership numbers have not been affected by the ruling even though it has the potential to significantly weaken the revenue base for all labor unions. ….

    It’s almost as if providing concrete material benefits to your members makes them want to remain members.

  35. Wukchumni

    The legend lives on from upper Manhattan on down
    Of the big man they recalled rather gloomily
    The man, it is said, was overburdened with debt
    Before an election in November took him zooming
    With a load of electoral votes 77 more
    Than the other side who came up empty
    The frazzled Presidential crew was a bone to be chewed
    When the 6th of November came early

    Their leader was the pride of the Republican side
    Coming back from some rally in Wisconsin
    As the big boasters go, he was bigger than most
    With a Fox crew and propaganda well seasoned
    Concluding some terms with a couple of PR firms
    When they left Kavanaugh to be cleaved, time to deceive
    And later that night when the op-ed came out
    Could it be an unravelling they’d been feelin’?

    The word on the wifi made a tattle-tale sound
    And a wave broke over the detailing
    And every man knew, as the latter-day Captain Queeg did too,
    T’was the donkey show of November come stealin’
    The dawn came late and the obfuscation couldn’t wait
    When the losses of November came slashin’
    When the realization came he was oh so lame
    In the face of a contest he couldn’t game

    When the election came, the grand old party sayin’
    Mr. President, it’s too rough, we’ll see ya
    As support caved in, he said
    Fellas, we can still make America great again
    The captain told the evangs, violence is comin’ in if we don’t win
    And the prosperity gospel and crew was in peril
    And later that night when prayers went outta sight
    Came the wreck of the Chief Executive


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