2:00PM Water Cooler 10/10/2018

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Trade

“Tariffs are not slowing down retail imports” [Supply Chain Dive]. “Retailers ‘are not able to quickly or easily change their sourcing,’ Jonathan Gold, NRF vice president for supply chain and customs policy, said in a statement. As a result, many businesses will continue to import products from production facilities in China. Consumer demand will keep imports high — NRF projects 2018 holiday sales will increase up to 4.8% over 2017 figures.”

“The trade deal formerly known as NAFTA — the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement — may not be a slam dunk among voters, but it’s getting a slightly favorable reaction in a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll released this morning. Of the 2,189 voters surveyed, 32 percent said the new pact would have a much better or somewhat better impact on U.S. consumers. Twenty-three percent of respondents said it would have no change, 12 percent said it would be worse or much worse and 32 percent had no opinion on the question” [Politico]. “When it came to the new agreement’s potential impact on manufacturing workers, 38 percent said it would be much better or somewhat better. Only 8 percent thought it would be worse or much worse, 21 percent predicted no change and 33 percent had no opinion.

Politics

2020

See, we’re already looking ahead to 2020. It’s like Christmas Carols in the stores before Halloween, but what can I do?

“Weighing 2020 Bid, Michael Bloomberg Registers as a Democrat” [Bloomberg]. “Bloomberg, 76, has been a political independent since abandoning his Republican Party registration in 2007. He has said he is considering running for president as a Democrat — making this one of his most overt moves to date toward a possible White House campaign.” • Just what the country needs: Another squillionaire with bright ideas. Surely somebody else from the Great State of New York is available?

“Bernie Sanders will hit Iowa and South Carolina in 9-state midterm campaign blitz” [CNN]. “Sen. Bernie Sanders will campaign for Democratic candidates across the country this month at more than 15 planned events in nine states — including a number of presidential primary hot spots…. Sanders is slated to hit the ground in a series of key 2020 primary and general election states, including Iowa — he’ll make three stops there over two days for J.D. Scholten, who is challenging GOP Rep. Steve King — and Columbia, South Carolina, for a rally with Our Revolution, the group that emerged from Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign. He will host a pair of town halls, in Iowa and Indiana, to warn against cuts to Social Security.” • I’ll be especially interested to see how Sanders performs in South Carolina (“The FIrewall State”).

“The ‘Female Obama’ Tries to Be Just Familiar Enough” [Bloomberg]. “During the Kavanaugh hearings, she flashed her prosecutorial background, asking sharp, direct questions. There was one point of confusion when she repeatedly asked, and Kavanaugh repeatedly ducked, whether he had discussed the investigation of Trump campaign links to Russian election interference by special counsel Robert Mueller with anyone at the law firm that represents Trump. The issue was left hanging puzzlingly in the air and the exchange ended, as her hometown newspaper the San Francisco Chronicle put it, ‘with a thud.’ Republicans accused her of demagoguery. Democrats were delighted. “Did she kick ass on the Senate Judiciary Committee?” Ohio Senator Sherrod Brown asked a cheering crowd at a weekend political event.” • Holy moley. Harris muffs the RussiaRussiaRussia play, and lets the Republicans get away with a rigged FBI investigation. To cheers!

“Democrats warily eye Avenatti’s flirtation with 2020 bid” [Associated Press]. “On Monday, Avenatti formally launched a federal political action committee, The Fight PAC, giving him the ability to support Democratic candidates up and down the ballot, pay for political travel and build a list of supporters. The PAC will not accept money from corporate PACs. Avenatti’s PAC is being advised by Tracy Austin, a Los Angeles-based fundraiser who has helped several California Democrats, including Gavin Newsom, Antonio Villaraigosa and Xavier Becerra; Stephen Solomon, a digital media strategist; and Adam Parkhomenko, an aide to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign and the Ready for Hillary PAC that preceded her campaign. During his visits to Iowa and New Hampshire, the first two contests on the presidential calendar, Avenatti has also sought out local consultants and party leaders familiar with the caucus and primary races.” • Entertainment value, at the very least. Perhaps he’ll end up playing a bit part like Chris Christie, who ruined Marco Rubio’s chances by turning him into a.robot in debate.

“The Democrats’ Little Bighorn” [Patrick Buchanan, The American Conservative]. “After a 50-year siege, the great strategic fortress of liberalism* has fallen. With the elevation of Judge Brett Kavanaugh, the Supreme Court seems secure for constitutionalism—perhaps for decades…. And the triumph is President Trump’s. To unite the party whose nomination he had won, Donald Trump pledged to select his high court nominees from lists prepared by such judicial conservatives as the Federalist Society. He kept his word and, in the battle for Kavanaugh, he led from the front, even mocking the credibility of the main accuser, Christine Blasey Ford. Trump has achieved what every GOP president has hoped to do since the summer of ’68….” • Leaving aside “constitutionalism,” Buchanan, that horrible old reprobate, is correct; Trump delivered bigly for his party and his base. Sometime one wonders who the real revolutionaries are, eh? NOTE * I would have thought the strategic fortress was the New Deal, but liberal Democrats keep trying to make a Grand Bargain to get rid of it, so I guess not.

“Donald Trump And The Return Of Rockefeller Republicanism” [Ed Harrison, Credit Writedowns]. (From 2016, recently boosted by Harrison on the Twitter.) “What Trump has promised to do is ‘drain the swamp’ and stamp out this corporatism while returning some semblance of certainty and dignity to working class people. He hasn’t said exactly how he intends to do that. But he won the Presidency on this promise. I would suggest that to do as he wants, he will have to force the Republican Party out of one of its default economic positions. There are four: 1. Less government is good. 2 Deficits are bad. 3. Lower taxes are better than higher taxes 4. Free trade is good.” • In fact, he forced them out of #2 and #4….. Trump has one chance to make his mark. If he misses, recession could loom and in two years’ time, voters will make him pay.” • This is an interesting read, especially in the light of the atmosphere of 2016.

ME Senator: “Obama’s pick for UN ambassador has ties to Maine” [Seacoast Online] (2008). “Susan Rice, a foreign policy expert who served as an adviser to Obama’s campaign, is the daughter of Lois Dickson Rice, a Maine native who grew up in a prominent Portland family. The family has a summer home in Lincolnville and Rice is a frequent visitor.” More from her New Yorker interview here. Wikipedia: “Rice was born in Washington, D.C…. Rice was an athlete, student council president, and valedictorian at National Cathedral School in Washington, D.C. She attended Stanford University. Awarded a Rhodes Scholarship, Rice attended New College, Oxford.” And so on. I missed Rice’s backstory for a couple of reasons. First, Google failed me. When I searched a few days ago, literally none of this came up, and so I relied on Wikipedia. Second, I had no reason to regard Rice as a Mainer. For example, Google gives exactly one (1) hit on for “Susan Rice” at the Bangor Daily News, and the story isn’t about Maine. The Google “Custom Search” at the Bangor Daily News — incidentally showing how crapified Google Search has become — gives several pages of hits, a few relevant, but none where Rice expresses views on policy issues of interest to Mainers (whether deindustrialization, the opioid crisis, Medicaid expansion, rotten broadband, or anything else). So why would I think she’s from the state, or has any interest in it? I do understand how the professional 10% that is the Democrat base — especially in Portland — would salivate at the prospect of an Obama administration national security apparatchik being parachuted in from the Beltway, especially an honest-to-gawd ☑ black ☑ woman — whose ascriptive identity makes her progressive, just like [genuflects] Obama, right? — but miss me with this trial balloon until Rice expresses some views on policy. Does she support #MedicareForAll, for example?

2018

26 days until Election Day. 26 days is a long time in politics. And remember that October is the month of surprises!

“Portrait of a Campaign” [Idle Words]. “While claiming to seek victory, the Democratic leadership has instead created a consulting and fundraising complex that incentivizes narrow defeat. The people responsible for losing the 2016 election were promoted, not purged. If we somehow manage to win in spite of them in 2018, we need to bring the whole corrupt edifice down.” • Well worth a read for the devastating description of the Democrat party apparatus.

“The Kavanaugh confirmation and the US midterm elections” [WSWS]. “[T]he Democrats chose to focus entirely on a 36-year-old unproven and likely unprovable allegation of sexual misconduct, dating back to the nominee’s teenage years. They embraced this issue eagerly in the hopes of currying favor in the November elections with a narrow stratum of upper-middle-class women for whom the #MeToo campaign has become the vehicle for gaining status, influence and access to wealth and power. This has allowed the Republicans—a party that fervently supports police violence, the persecution of immigrants and massive domestic spying—to posture as the defenders of such core democratic rights as the presumption of innocence.” • Well played, all.

“Voter ID Law in North Dakota Upheld by U.S. Supreme Court” [Governing]. “The Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to toss out an appeals court order that allows North Dakota to enforce its voter ID requirement during the 2018 elections….. The challengers argued the new rule disenfranchises a disproportionate share of the population because many Native American voters live on reservations without standard addresses.” • Instead, they use PO Boxes. For ND readers, the Twitter has a workaround:

Yes, yes, this hurts potential Democrat voters disproportionality, but this kind of thing happens because Democrats don’t regard protecting and expanding the voter rolls as a core party function. Did they think the Norms Fairy was going to protect them?

“Citing Michael and online glitches, groups sue to extend voter registration deadline” [Miami Herald]. “Complaints multiplied from people who say the state’s online registration portal was not working. The portal, which was a year old on Oct. 1, has had glitches before but never this close to a voter registration deadline, and it prompted threats of legal action.”

Please Kill Me Now

“Dems eye ambitious agenda if House flips” [The Hill]. “Democratic committee leaders are ready to roll out an ambitious legislative wish list if the House majority flips in next month’s midterm elections. After eight years in the minority, Democrats have big plans, from shoring up ObamaCare and Dodd-Frank financial rules to protecting “Dreamers” and the integrity of elections.” • “Shoring up ObamaCare” is an “ambitious agenda”?

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Kavanaugh is one more step in America’s cycle of self-destruction” [Elizabeth Bruenig, WaPo]. “[T]he massive dysfunction in the U.S. political system is… multifarious. But one of its main sources is that everyone thinks that everyone else involved in politics is constantly, openly lying, and they’re right.” • Not a new thought, but well expressed by Bruenig.

“Climate politicking isn’t working. We need climate civil disobedience” [Bill McKibben, Los Angeles Times]. “[M]uch of what progress has been made toward mitigating climate change has largely come through protest. When demonstrators went to jail in record numbers against the Keystone XL pipeline, they not only stopped its construction but fired up people around the world to take similar steps against every new piece of fossil fuel infrastructure: Kayakers blocked Shell’s drilling rigs in the Seattle harbor, for example, which led to the company’s retreat from plans to open the Arctic to oil drilling. Pension funds and endowments worth $7 trillion have begun divesting their holdings in fossil fuel companies — Shell said in a recent report to shareholders that that movement had become a ‘material risk.’ In other words, protest has weakened the very industry that has made political progress on climate change all but impossible. And like peaceful protest during the civil rights movement, civil disobedience has helped shift the zeitgeist away from the idea that coal, oil and gas are the natural and obvious sources of power for our societies. Protest helps overcome the inertia that is slowing our transition to cheaper solar and wind power. If normal politics ever does work on the issue of climate change, it will be in part because it’s been prodded by the unconventional kind.”

“How the left stopped being a party of the working class” [Mainly Macro]. “The implication for parties on the left are that party members were increasingly from the educated middle class rather than working class, and this has gradually changed the structure, platforms and leaders of left parties. Together with the decline in trade unions, the counterpart to this will be a less visible representation of the working class. Piketty describes this as the emergence of the “Brahmin Left” elite, which can be compared to the “Merchant” elite on the right.” • A tidy formulation.

“To Heil, or Not To Heil, When Traveling in the Third Reich” [Long Reads]. “‘I can still feel the surprise that shook me in Lüneburg when Matthew gave the Nazi salute at an improvised shrine containing a bust of the recently deceased Hindenburg.’ It was, his companion suggested, a simple act of politeness like taking off one’s hat when going into a church.” • An excellent compilation, well worth reading for the normality of it all.

Stats Watch

Producer Price Index (Final Demand), September 2018: “A big jump in transport services headlines what is otherwise, however, another benign producer price report” [Econoday]. “The isolated pressure for transportation and shipping aside, this report isn’t showing any sustained pressure at all and contrasts starkly with the highly elevated indications for input costs in most anecdotal surveys.” And: “The Producer Price Index declined year-over-year. Food and energy prices did moderate – but services inflation rose lead by transportation / warehousing. The decline in inflation was as expected” [Econintersect].

Wholesale Trade, August 2018: “Inventories at the wholesale jumped a very strong 1.0 percent in August” [Econoday]. “There is no danger of unwanted inventory overhang as wholesalers appear to be struggling to keep up with demand.” And: “Overall, I believe the rolling averages tell the real story – and they declined this month. Even with this month’s decline of the unadjusted data, the short term trends are showing an improving cycle beginning in 2016. Inventory levels this month are are the high side of normal – but not recessionary” [Econintersect]. “To add to the confusion, year-over-year employment changes and sales growth do not match.”

Atlanta Fed Business Inflation Expectations, October 2018: “Jerome Powell points strongly to the importance of inflation expectations as central to keeping actual inflation stable. And year-ahead inflation expectations at the business level are as strong as they have been this expansion” [Econoday]. “Yet the results do contrast with actual inflation as this morning’s report on producer prices was once again subdued.”

MBA Mortgage Applications, week of October 5, 2018: “Purchase applications for home mortgages fell” [Econoday].

Retail: “Sears said to hire advisers as it prepares to file for bankruptcy” [MarketWatch]. “Sears, which has been losing money for years, has $134 million in debt due on Monday. Edward Lampert, the hedge-fund manager who is Sears’s chairman, chief executive, largest shareholder and biggest creditor, could rescue the company, as he has done in the past by making the payment. But Lampert is pushing for a broader restructuring that would include shaving more than $1 billion from Sears’s $5.5 billion debt load, selling another $1.5 billion of real estate and divesting $1.75 billion of assets, including the Kenmore appliance brand, which he has offered $400 million to buy himself.” • Doesn’t this sound suspiciously like self-dealing? Am I missing something here?

Retail: “Jockeying over toy supply chains this holiday season will get deeply serious. The collapse of retailer Toys “R” Us has its rivals fighting over billions of dollars in holiday toy sales now up for grabs…., and the battle will focus on how sellers manage their inventory during the critical shopping season. Getting the right goods in the right place has become more complicated without a single toy superstore to consolidate sales and set the pattern for hot-selling surprises that can take over the season” [Wall Street Journal]. “Toys “R” Us could stock up late into the season because it could afford to carry unsold inventory into the next year/”

Honey for the Bears: “My view is new home sales and housing starts are two of the best leading indicators for the economy (but not always)” [Calculated Risk]. “Conclusions: 1) New Home Sales appears to be an excellent leading indicator. 2) Currently new home sales (and housing starts) are up year-over-year, and this suggests there is no recession in sight.” • Well worth a read; all the predictions of a recession in two years — isn’t that a lot like market timing? — are causing my countersuggestibility to kick in.

Black Injustice Tipping Point

“White Woman Calls Police on Black Man Babysitting Two White Children” [GritPost]. “Corey Lewis was stopped in front of a Walmart in Cobb County, Georgia (just outside of Atlanta) with the two children he was babysitting. When he denied a white woman’s request to speak with the children to see if they were okay, she called the police on him. Lewis — who works as a youth mentor — didn’t know the police had been called on him until one showed up outside of his home. The white woman followed him all the way there. The police even admitted that they were called because the children were white and the man babysitting them was black.” • There seems to be a steady dripo-drip-drip of this kind of story, and by no means only from Georgia.

The 420

Dang:

Health Care

“Donald Trump: Democrats ‘Medicare for All’ plan will demolish promises to seniors” [Donald Trump, USA Today]. “Republicans believe that a Medicare program that was created for seniors and paid for by seniors their entire lives should always be protected and preserved.” • No. Federal taxes do not fund Federal spending. Tactically, Trump — or whoever wrote the piece — is playing up the real structural split in the Democrat Party between liberals and the left. It will be interesting to see if liiberals throw the left under the bus in response by, say, backtracking on #MedicareForAll. I’m guessing yes.

Class Warfare

“Manufacturers cite a ‘workforce crisis’ as the top threat to business” [Supply Chain DIve]. “Of the 718 NAM members surveyed, 45.4% said “the inability to attract and retain workers is the biggest threat to my business.” One in four respondents said they turned down new business due to this challenge, while one in three said they held off on expansion plans for the same reason.” • It’s almost like the forces of production are being held back by the relations of production, isn’t it? ‘Tis a puzzlement! Pay more money. Train people on the job. Make the workplace not shitty. Stop union-busting. None of this is hard.

“The rural New York town fighting to keep Amazon – and its promised jobs – out” [Guardian]. “Schodack, New York, a town of about 13,000 people just south of the state capital of Albany, is currently facing the possible construction of a 1m-sq-ft Amazon fulfillment center…. ‘We all have paid residential tax rates in this neighborhood. They come in with corporations, give them huge tax benefits, and screw everyone else who lives here and the water supply,’ said Marci Brunner, a leader of the Birchwood Association with her husband Adam. ‘We are trying to protect the environment and the quality of life, not just for us but everyone in Schodack and the local areas that will be impacted by this.'” • The town acquifer is right under the site. Smooth move, Jeff. Any readers from Schodack?

News of the Wired

As who would not be:

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TH writes: “I’m always pleasantly reminded of exploding fireworks when I see sunlit fountain grass!”

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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.

106 comments

  1. DonCoyote

    “Surely somebody else from the Great State of New York is available?”

    Oh look, it’s Ratface Andy *and* HRC.

    How about we give New York a pass in 2020?

    Reply
  2. HotFlash

    “Of the 718 NAM members surveyed, 45.4% said “the inability to attract and retain workers is the biggest threat to my business.”

    My, my. Perhaps these members should be negotiating with a labour union?

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Looks like demand is not a top issue here.

      Are people still consuming, at pretty much the same rate, in the face of global warming and resource depletion?

      Reply
    2. Big Tap

      If you want to ‘retain workers’ how about training/retraining them when needed. I think companies no longer train so that in some cases their eligible for H-1B foreign workers. Supposedly H-1B people have certain skills you can’t get domestically so not training your current workforce would be an excuse for foreign workers to be brought in cheap. Those foreign workers could have the very skills you don’t provide via training to your employees.

      Reply
      1. Darius

        My company just laid off 5 percent of the workforce. Go figure. Good thing we have a union and negotiated RIF severance. The retention issue is gaslighting.

        Reply
      2. EricT

        Funny thing. The company I work for started pushing an initiative to attract millenials as customers and employees. The irony is they farmed the entry level jobs to India. Where’s a millennial going to get training if there are no entry level jobs.

        Reply
    3. Kurtismayfield

      What business owner has ever turned down new business, period? They would take it if there was profit in it.. maybe they are taking business with razor thin margins and then crying that the profit margins aren’t there? This sounds like a crock of [family blog].

      the inability to attract and retain workers at the price I want to pay them is the biggest threat to my business.”

      Emphasis mine

      Reply
  3. Summer

    Re: Legalization of cannabis is more popular among men than it is among women. And it's more popular among white people, than it is among blacks and Hispanics https://t.co/tt8GPh0lfl pic.twitter.com/uqFs9hiwb0

    See: Churches and religion.

    Reply
    1. Baby Gerald

      The chart in that tweet leaves me unimpressed. What is the point of this chart? Where’s the supposed wide ‘partisan gap’? Firstly, the undecideds or margin of error in each category is different. Why 98% hispanics totaled, versus 96% white or 95% black? I’m no statistician, but that already looks weird.

      But more importantly, looking at the data, the only wide gap I see is between pro and con for virtually every category of the population surveyed. Despite an inexplicable and albeit narrow negative overall response from hispanics, the big takeaway from this is that it’s virtually 60/40 pro/con split right down the line. Why even try to break legalization of cannabis down to an identity issue? What purpose does that serve?

      Reply
    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I wonder if there is a similar divergence among the various groups, when it comes to plastics.

      “I collect plastic things…like vinyl records, made of polyvinyl chloride.”

      That seems to be more a bourgeois thing to do, whereas the plastic straw – it deserve no such reverence, and people, of any kind, everywhere, for a long time, simply let it permeate the world, by overlooking it.

      In any case, some plastic things are to be treasured, collected.

      Reply
  4. Carolinian

    Susan Rice: so what you are saying is that Rice is from “away.” I’ve been told that’s the standard Maine term for out of staters.

    And sounds like Buchanan has been letting his conservative freak flag fly again. Given half a chance he will still stump for the Vietnam War.

    But that war was against godless Communism (Buchanan is Catholic). He is considerably more sensible on our recent interventions.

    Reply
    1. The Rev Kev

      In all fairness to Lambert, there is form for this sort of stuff like with Rice. Remember George W. Bush? He was Texas through and through and even served as Governor there yet from time to time played up the Connecticut connection because he was born there and had family connections there. So he was a Texan until it no longer suited his purposes and then became an East Coaster depending on which way the political winds blew.

      Reply
      1. Darius

        Bush is a shapeshifter. I suspect he went full Bubba because it pissed off his parents. He had a lot of leeway for experiments in personality curation because so many of the powerful had a lot of money riding on him.

        Reply
      2. Jen

        Northern New England ain’t Texas. I’ve lived in rural New Hampshire for 20 years, and even if I live here for another 50, I’ll still be a flat lander because I wasn’t born here. I get credit for blending, as it were, but I’m still from away. Even if I was born here, not being second or third generation native might count against me.

        Reply
    2. grayslady

      Doesn’t matter where Rice is “from.” She’s hugely in favor of so-called humanitarian interventions–such as Libya. Susan Rice is a warmonger who needs to go far, far away and not come back.

      Reply
      1. DonCoyote

        Back when I used to work K-12, the State used to harangue us every year to give this very long “sex and drugs” survey to our juniors and seniors. Anyway, there was a made-up drug on the study, Derbisol, which was a lie scale (i.e. if a kid says they are using Derbisol three times a week, throw out their results).

        Reply
  5. Utah

    The Portrait of a Campaign piece is so accurate. And included the Dem running in Utah’s 2nd, which made me happy. She’s a good candidate. I wish the national party would pay attention, but I have no hope that they will this late in the game.

    Reply
  6. marym

    There have been numerous fact checks of Trump’s op ed (some links below), but to answer your question, at least for a brief moment in our strange times, Schumer responds that M4A would expand benefits!! Will Schumer now cosponsor the Sanders bill? Hahahah!

    Vox

    It’s so dishonest it’s debunked by fact-check links in the text itself

    Politifact
    WaPo
    Schumer (!)

    Reply
    1. curlydan

      And on this op-ed, I don’t think the primary purpose of the editorial is to “[play] up the real structural split in the Democrat Party”. I actually think it’s a [Karl] Rovian tactic of attacking an opponent’s strength.

      I suspect Trump knows that:
      He can’t get beat in 2020 by another boring Democrat offering bland slogans like “more affordable healthcare” and “better education”
      He can get beat by a further left Democrat or politician offering something real, i.e. Medicare for All or Free College Tuition

      To me, this shows that once again, asking and demanding works. When Trump is on the defensive, we’re starting to gain traction. You can tell his desperation by his attacks on socialists, Venezuela, and immigrants–cause Venezuela and immigrants are always my top frustrations with health care. He’s a real piece of work. A master manipulator.

      Reply
    2. Eduardo

      “The ad’s bull—-,” Mark Nicholas, campaign manager for Kentucky Democrat Amy McGrath, said of a recent ad from a super PAC affiliated with House Speaker Paul Ryan accusing her of supporting “Medicare for All.“ “These are just ridiculous lies.

      In battleground districts from California to Kentucky to New York, Democrats have gone out of their way to distance themselves from Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) $32 trillion single-payer proposal, only to be attacked for endorsing the plan anyway in Republican ads that range from misleading to outright false.

      The effort to tie swing-district candidates to a single-payer concept — which Democrats are deeply divided on — illustrates the GOP’s major disadvantage on health care after failing last year to pass unpopular Obamacare repeal bills.

      https://www.politico.com/story/2018/10/10/misleading-gop-ads-837692

      Sigh.

      Reply
      1. Big River Bandido

        These so-called Democrats are as useless and infuriating as Republicans. Fortunately, by caving and trimming (in other words, acting like cowards) in the face of these Republican attacks, these so-called Democrats only hurt themselves.

        Reply
  7. cm

    WRT Susan Rice, searching “susan rice” site:bangordailynews.com has better results. The “www” is what is causing the problem.

    Reply
  8. Roger Smith

    “Democrats have big plans, from shoring up ObamaCare and Dodd-Frank financial rules to protecting “Dreamers” and the integrity of elections.”

    Wow. I can see the blue wave coming now… maybe I’ll take a nap first. Put the next campaign signs and see how much interest it generates. Election integrity is not what it should be about, OC and DF are all about corporations controlling laws (minority), and “Dreamers” (love the quotations as if even the article is suspect of the definition) and another minority with no noticeable positive impact to the broader population, only a negative one.

    I am starting to get a feeling. Predictions are worthless, but I feel a tingle, that Trump will be the one who energizes record turnout from his voters in their local/state/federal midterm races. The Democrats keep playing to the same hysterical sycophants who don’t have jobs and can stand around in Portland or DC all day shouting. That isn’t a promising base to attempt to expand. They might some normal voters on this fatal trajectory, but I don’t anticipate it to be that many. Take a step back and look at the Democrats at a passing glance and you might find yourself looking at the nut-house.

    Oh! I also received an ACLU mailer yesterday that was all about vague nothingness and donating money to them. They want me to declare that I will vote, “LIKE MY RIGHTS DEPEND ON IT!” or something. I should call and ask how exactly I am supposed to do that when a duopoly suffocates the potential candidates who actually look out for our rights. Never mind, vote CIA goon, vote Slotkin!

    Reply
    1. Big River Bandido

      I have felt your prediction likely to come through, ever since the primary results put all those CIA Democrats on the general election ballots.

      Frankly, it would be better for the country — and for the Democratic Party — if these phonies lose. Democrats are on track to make major gains in state legislatures and governor’s races. That will be far more helpful than still more neocon, neoliberal trash in Congress.

      Reply
  9. Michael Fiorillo

    Bloomberg as the Democratic presidential nominee is far-fetched, but that it’s even mentioned is telling of what the Democrats have come to.

    On a somewhat related matter, an anecdote: I drove through the great state of Maine yesterday, and stopped at the i-95 service area near Lewiston. The place was not just hiring, but offering $500 hiring bonuses and $500 referral bonuses.

    Lambert, as a Mainer correct me if I’m wrong, but coming at the end of the summer season in a poor state, this seems to me to suggest that the economic heat generated by Burning All The Furniture is trickling down to the Prolz a bit.

    My takeaway is that the Prez election is a long two years off, and a steep recession could still doom Trump. (Or he could keel over dead in the middle of the night, tweeting on the toilet while eating a Big Mac) But there’s a lot of looting, plundering, privatization fire sales and everyday capitalist rapacity to keep the plates spinning past that date.

    Lots of caveats in there, but otherwise Trump will not be beaten. In fact, given wilful liberal obtuseness and the absence of a real Left – which is to say, a movement that puts the working class at the center of its politics – he’s probably unbeatable.

    Reply
    1. RUKidding

      Sadly, I’m inclined to agree with you.

      Recently we had difficulty hiring for an open position where I work. The position did require credentials and at least a Community College degree. But it is still pretty much entry-level.

      At a meeting yesterday, others in fields related to mine reported similar hiring difficulties.

      I’m in CA (but not on the coast), so I don’t know what’s happening in more depressed areas of the country. But if my local area is anything to go by, I figure Trump’s got a darn good chance, especially given the usual, predictable fecklessness of BigD.

      No one in BigR gives a toss how many bigly Lies Trump utters each day. Doesn’t matter to them. Not. At. All.

      Ugh.

      Reply
      1. Carey

        What I’m mildly interested in is what kind of token show the Democrats will be able
        to put on for the proles, when their real Job #1 will be stopping Sanders and small-d democracy, not necessarily in that order…

        Reply
    2. John D.

      Shouldn’t the so-called liberals who’ve been screaming non-stop for the past 2 years that Bernie Sanders isn’t a “real Democrat” be doing the same thing with Bloomberg? Would I be wrong in holding my breath waiting for this? I suspect I would.

      And, yeah, can’t say I disagree with your comments about Trump’s chances in 2020. I daresay he’ll easily cruise to another victory, perhaps winning the popular vote and the electoral college this time. God help us all.

      The Democrats are so @#%$-ing worthless. They’re clearly not going to change an iota despite the events of the past few years. It wouldn’t surprise me if Hillary would indeed have the sheer bloody nerve to throw her hat into the ring again, and if it’s not her, it’ll be somebody equally as loathsome, probably Biden. Ol’ Uncle Creepy himself.

      Reply
      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        He seems to have plenty of energy, even if the results may or may not be there.

        For example, the $15/hour that Amazon announced, I have since read that it comes out of that huge corporation’s termination of monthly bonuses and stock options.

        Is the net result still positive? I haven’t come across a report on that (and appreciate greatly if some exist and people can link them).

        Reply
      2. Darthbobber

        The good thing about a Bloomberg vanity campaign (which is what it will add up to, if he goes forward with it), is that Bloomberg money won’t be available to Cory Booker until after the Bloomberg boomlet fails to materialize.

        Pent-up demand among the populace for something even vaguely resembling Bloomberg is pretty much nonexistent.

        Reply
      3. Jen

        And if Bernie is too old, isn’t Bloomberg? I have to say this is complicating my forecast for who will come in DFL in the NH primaries. Will Rat Faced Andy or Michael Bloomberg even be able to top Vermin Supreme?

        Reply
    3. Amateur Socialist

      Has it been deemed impossible to get Tony Podesta a job on Bloomberg’s campaign? Robby Mook? Neera Tanden? Debbie Wasserman Schultz? Or maybe Biden could get some help from these seasoned pros? Asking for a friend..

      Reply
    4. redleg

      Dems: there’s a big kid on the right side of the see-saw. Lets get him off the ground!

      [They move to the middle]

      This should do the trick!
      How come he’s not moving?

      …and before you can say “I’m with her”, they are trying to teeter the totter by moving closer to kid on the right while leaving the left seat vacant with instructions to the other kids to ensure it remains that way.

      What could go wrong?

      Reply
  10. Louis Fyne

    >>”Climate politicking isn’t working. We need climate civil disobedience”

    lol (in a dark humour way). tell that to Howard Schultz and all the other corporate greenwashers out there.

    as an example, if Starbucks wants to be green, instead of virtue-signalling, how about closing all of its drive-thru windows? I think I hear crickets coming from Starbucks HQ

    Americans don’t need to chain themselves to a bulldozer to affect positive climate change. They can start by buying less consumerist widgets. And stop getting in the car to get a latte/value meal at the drive-thru. Or at least keep the thermostat at 80 when it’s hot, 65 when it’s cold.

    Reply
    1. DJG

      Louis Fyne: I was in Philadelphia recently on business and was forced to stop in a Starbucks near Suburban Station (long story). My strongest impression is that a Starbucks outlet is a factory for trash. At 6:30 in the morning, the place was already spewing.

      Reply
      1. dcrane

        One of the more dismaying experiences is when you point to one of the pound cake slices in the bakery case, saying I’ll have one of those, and then you see them reach into another box behind the scenes, pull out a plastic-wrapped slice, unwrap it, and put it into another bag (paper this time).

        At least they do still let me drink a coffee from a mug in-store, which appears to be washed and re-used.

        Reply
      2. clarky90

        “Starbucks outlet is a factory for trash”. Thank you for your, tragically true, metaphor.

        I remember when the sipper, sports bottles were for sale at our local Woolworths (a long gone, 5 and dime). Now the rubbish bins are full of them. They used to be a “thing”.

        I recommend a Thermos Bottle to everyone- whether you like cold or hot drinks.

        If only we could convince a few Celebs and Sport Stars to clutch a Thermos to their hearts? Perhaps encrust the Thermos with real silver and diamonds?

        Reply
  11. RUKidding

    Sen. Bernie Sanders will campaign for Democratic candidates across the country this month at more than 15 planned events in nine states — including a number of presidential primary hot spots….

    Yesterday I noted that Trump is “good” a couple of things: 1) rallying his base, and 2) getting offa his butt to fly around the country stumping for BigR in the coming November election.

    Whereohwhere is BigD in this picture?? AWOL per usual, except for Sanders – whom many many D voters still revile vitriolically for “ruining” things for Queen Hillary.

    And yet, who has been out there flying around the country pushing some good, mostly true leftwing ideas and policies?? Yet again: Sanders. Yet I saw some commenters on another blog angrily attacking Sanders for the Amazon wage increase bc they insisted it wasn’t Sanders idea, he “stole” it from the “workers” who had already been protesting before Sanders started talking about it.

    Talk about “unclear on the concept.” It’s like: knock, knock, yoohoo – it’s not like Jeff Bezos was gonna pay much attention to protesting workers, but he clearly did pay some attention when Senator Sanders made a big stink about it.

    Sheesh. Who’re the “dumb voters” here about to vote against their own interests??

    Reply
    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      I predict again: if by some outside chance Sanders is able to win the DemPrez Nomination for 2020, the millions and millions of Pink Pussy Hat Clintonites will do all they can bring themselves to do in order to get Sanders defeated. Some of them will vote for Trump. Others will vote Third Party or Write Clinton In or not vote.

      Is this a reason to not support Sanders in the primaries? No. Let us hope Sanders wins and if the Clintonites conspire to defeat him in the General, let them do so in the light of day and reveal their true stench to those that have noses to smell.

      Reply
    1. ChrisAtRU

      When the punchlines write themselves …

      Let’s not spend too much time beating up Manchin. I didn’t like his vote either, but After the election, if he wins, we may be dependent on him for the 51st vote and control of the Senate. https://t.co/3mXd2FDQPO— Howard Dean (@GovHowardDean) October 7, 2018

      Reply
  12. JohnnyGL

    “Donald Trump: Democrats ‘Medicare for All’ plan will demolish promises to seniors”

    And, the tactical move after the dems run away from MFA is, of course, to tag them as opportunistic, lying flip-floppers who will say/do anything to get elected.

    And Trump will be right….that’s what owning the libs looks like.

    If Dems had a spine, they’d stand their ground on MFA and call Trump a liar who wants to deny your kids and grandkids the health care they deserve.

    Reply
  13. clarky90

    Re “When Traveling in the Third Reich”

    The annoying, “Mooooommmmmyy, Russia hit me again!!!” has finally subsided. So we travel back (again again and again…..) to The Third Reich.

    How about Communist China?

    Google and OUR Digerati are outsourcing OUR governance to China, as we speak. “Climate Change” is shaping up to be the ultimate alibi for “depopulation”. “We are so sorry, myriad peoples, you are despoiling our global, private park. Bring in the Human Resources Specialists!”

    China’s Great Famine: the true story
    Author Yang Jisheng, – his book, Tombstone

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/jan/01/china-great-famine-book-tombstone

    “Half a century on, the government still treats the famine as a natural disaster and denies the true death toll…….

    The death toll is staggering. “The most officials have admitted is 20 million,” he says, but he puts the total at 36 million. …… Many think even this is a conservative figure: in his acclaimed book Mao’s Great Famine, Frank Dikotter estimates that the toll reached at least 45 million.”……

    “…..senior leaders in Beijing knew of the famine as early as 1958. “To distribute resources evenly will only ruin the Great Leap Forward,” Mao warned colleagues a year later. “When there is not enough to eat, people starve to death. It is better to let half the people die so that others can eat their fill.””

    “….Ruthlessness ran through the system. In Xinyang, the Henan city at the centre of the disaster, those who tried to escape the famine were rounded up; many died of starvation or from brutality in detention centres. Police hunted down those who wrote anonymous letters raising the alarm. Attempts to control the population tipped over into outright sadism, with cadres torturing victims in increasingly elaborate, ritualistic ways…..”

    Reply
    1. Unna

      The “royals” of England giving the Nazi salute in the 1930’s. Is that our very own Queen Elizabeth doing that?

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OB0YAVF-eOI

      I know, I know. It’s evil of me to pick on little children.

      By the way, what’s the status of “Glory to Ukraine. Glory to the Heroes.” in the Ukraine these days? And from which organization did that originally come from?

      I’d say Bannon needs to come up with something soon if he’s ever going to get back in the White House.

      Reply
      1. clarky90

        Thank you Unna for beautifully illustrating my point. Why do we talk about, make movies about, soul search about, write scholarly papers about, “The Nazis”, to the exclusion of other tragedies?

        I was talking about the Democide that occurred in China, during my life time.

        20TH CENTURY DEMOCIDE

        https://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/20TH.HTM

        Among all the democide estimates appearing on this website, and in the table on the lower right, some have been revised upward. I have changed that for Mao’s famine, 1958-1962, from zero to 38,000,000. And thus I have had to change the overall democide for the PRC (1928-1987) from 38,702,000 to 76,702,000. Details here……

        I have changed my estimate for colonial democide from 870,000 to an additional 50,000,000. Details here……

        Thus, the new world total: = 262,000,000 dead” between 1900-2000

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democide

        Democide; “the intentional killing of an unarmed or disarmed person by government agents acting in their authoritative capacity and pursuant to government policy or high command”

        Reply
        1. Darthbobber

          “Intentional” being flexible apparently. Numbers on the Chinese and Russian debacles, as well as the Irish and Bengali famines on England’s watch, or the earlier Chinese famine of the 20s-30s, which played a role in the rise of the reds there in the first place, roll together the deaths attributable to deliberate decisions to kill people with the much larger number resulting from sheer incompetence (or in some cases, indifference.)

          Reply
      2. Carolinian

        Uncle “David” was egging them on to do that. But then the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, er, Windsor did have German roots.

        Reply
  14. Jerry B

    ===Manufacturers cite a ‘workforce crisis’ as the top threat to business====

    Cry me a river. I have a Bachelors degree in Plastics Engineering and a Masters in Psych. In order to be close to my son from a previous marriage I committed to stay in the Chicago metro area which affected my career choices.

    Due to neoliberalism and globalization, the number of plastics injection molding companies and consequently the number of plastics engineering jobs in the Chicago area has declined a lot over the last twenty years. In order to be close to my son I have underemployed myself and worked as a Injection Molding Technician for several years up until a few years ago when I could not do it physically anymore. I stopped working in injection molding a few years ago. In my last two years in injection molding I had three jobs in two years and was let go or quit because it was a prison camp environment and they wanted a sadistic work pace/output and at my age I could not do it. Even in my late 50’s I could handle it physically if it was the injection molding/manufacturing environment of twenty+ years ago.

    But with the influence of neoliberalism and globalization increasing exponentially in the late 90’s/early2000’s manufacturing in the US has been turned into a blood sport. It is all about getting the numbers and the heck with the people that helped you get the numbers.

    One would think that with my academic background and engineering experience, injection molding companies would be glad to have the benefit of my knowledge and experience, but no I was treated like a precariat disposable working stiff commodity.

    So I have no sympathy for their “the inability to attract and retain workers is the biggest threat to my business”.

    Lambert has talked extensively about a lack of industrial policy. Posts on NC about Seymour Melman have mentioned his theories of managerial incompetence in US manufacturing and that with so much of US manufacturing supporting the military’s needs, the manufacturing sector has lost it’s skills and knowledge in making things for the civilian market.

    https://www.nakedcapitalism.com/2018/01/power-workers-seymour-melman-extraction-military-managers-finance.html

    Manufacturers you brought this on yourselves. Reap what you have sown.

    Reply
    1. Late Introvert

      Also well-trained and educated (software, video) and underemployed by the neo-liberals who expect slave behavior in exchange for no raises and benefit cuts.

      Sadly any business willing to do the right thing goes OUT of business. I have worked for a string of them over the years.

      Reply
  15. jsn

    “It’s almost like the forces of production are being held back by the relations of production, isn’t it? ‘Tis a puzzlement! Pay more money. Train people on the job. Make the workplace not shitty. Stop union-busting. None of this is hard.”

    It wouldn’t have been that hard back when the trends were new, but the race to the bottom through financialization has put enough of a squeeze on enough employers over the last two generations I’ll wager a majority couldn’t raise wages and stay I business. The few who do have the margins are likely the best capitalized and the mos doctrinaire about the evils of giving money to poor people.

    Reply
    1. Jerry B

      Thanks jsn. Good Points.

      Over the past twenty years in the Chicago area and across the country small mom and pop plastic injection molding companies and small mold making/tool and die businesses have gone under or been acquired by much larger injection molding corporations. Some of this was as you mention, financialization. Some went under when China became a player in globalization/trade.

      Small injection molding and mold making shops could not compete with China on material or labor costs and closed or were acquired by larger corporations. Injection molding is a very capital intensive and low margin business and probably due to economies of scale larger molders could compete on costs or would just outsource some of their work to China.

      Ohio was also hit hard as it had a lot of small injection molding companies especially in Northern Ohio.

      Reply
  16. Steely Glint

    RE:healthcare. I listened to an interview of a Fox newsman who was hawking his book. Sorry for no name, because I wasn’t really listening until he started talking about conservative’s thoughts on healthcare. It was his opinion that conservatives divide the debate into providers & insurance. Insurance; they want no fuss, just costs covered. Providers; choice of course. But he said that although they wanted their pick of a provider, they didn’t realize that there really was no choice, because of the large provider monopolies. Sounds pretty universal to me. One of my peeves, is that with beautiful fall weather, all insurance policies (health, home, car) come up for renewal. Very important decisions need to be made all at once. Probably a feature, not a bug.

    Reply
  17. DonCoyote

    New Polls Increase Fears That Midterm Elections Will Be Won By Wave Of Politicians.

    That’s right folks, we don’t know the color of that 2018 wave, but we do know it will be very slimy.

    And, because I’m feeling caustic, here’s one of Dylan Ratigan’s rant on the Democrats (Jimmy Dore likes to play this one):

    The Democrats want you to believe that their party is of course wonderful and fabulous and wants to help save the world and all the rest of this. And they want you to believe the only problem with the American political system is the Russians and, more importantly, the corruption of the American political system and the Republicans by the Russians. This of course would be the most horrible thing that could come from the current political situation, because of we allow the Democratic party to convince anybody (it’s ridiculous they’ve even convinced themselves) that the primary problem with he American political process is Donald Trump and the Republicans, that validates their capacity to sustain themselves in a disgusting and corrupt fashion. The reality is, the only reason we have Donald Trump as our president and these horrendous Republicans is because of the unadulterated failure and corruption in the Democratic party. Think about how bad, how unappealing, how offensive Barack Obama and ultimately Hillary Clinton had to be to the American population in order for them to even remotely begin to choose Donald Trump as a better alternative. Think about how bad people have to view the level of corruption in the Democratic party to think of Donald Trump as a remotely preferable alternative. Donald Trump is terrible. The Republicans are offensive beyond comprehension. But the solution is not the Democrats. The solution is a final terminal bypass of these two utterly corrupt political parties, and the Democrats are desperately fighting to try to convince you and everybody else that the problem is the Republicans and Trump, and they are quite perfect in their own way, when they are the biggest contributors to the Trump campaign and the Trump problem.

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The only problem is…

      As a poster, that is also something to avoid.

      Only to link or comment only how bad the Republicans are, or the Russians.

      Only…or exclusively…almost, or nearly all the time.

      Reply
  18. Swamp Yankee

    Re: Rice in Maine — Parachuting well-credentialed 10%ers into states in which they have tangential family ties when politically opportune has after all worked wonders in recent decades — hi, Jon Ossoff! hi, President HRC! — why not try again?!

    I mean, really. They honestly don’t think we all can see them.

    If there’s one way Collins can keep her seat, it’s by having the race turn into Aroostook County’s Native Daughter vs. Interloping DCer Elitist-Opportunist SUMMER PERSON!

    Knowing Team Dem, though….. Or should I say — knowing the affluent Brahmin class (great term from Picketty!) they represent, it’s exactly what I would expect.

    There’s almost a magnificent quality in their lack of self-awareness.

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      It seems to be the way of the new world.

      You bring in a manager from America to manage a Chinese factory, for example.

      And people seem to move all over the country for work, a lot more frequently than decades ago. (“It’s tough, so you have to go where jobs are.”)

      The ultimate, of course, is to bring the best person, from say Indonesia, to be the commander in chief, if that is in fact the case…but here, this best laid plan is ruined by the natural born requirement.

      Reply
    2. Big River Bandido

      This is why I had to laugh when several websites popped up immediately after the Kavanaugh vote, to support a Democrat challenger — before one has even declared.

      That’s a foolish way to part with your money.

      Reply
    3. Michael Fiorillo

      “…a magnificent quality to fheir lack of self-awareness.”

      Indeed, with every passing day they become caricatures of themselves.

      Reply
  19. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Today’s plant:

    TH writes: “I’m always pleasantly reminded of exploding fireworks when I see sunlit fountain grass!”

    ————

    Very appropriate for the stock market today…exploding, or imploding.

    Reply
      1. Milton

        It’s times like this I miss the comments from comrade Haygood. Though his socio-economic views would usually have me in a tiff, especially his S. American stance, I appreciated his take on current market matters. Today would have been an epic post day.

        Reply
    1. sierra7

      Thx for the link. Sad but true…all across the country with the funding of arts. If we lose the funding we desecrate our souls. A dark pox on neo-liberalism!!

      Reply
    2. Big River Bandido

      This comes on the heels of a similar labor dispute which pretty much devastated the Minnesota Orchestra a couple of years ago. That orchestra will not recover for a long time, if at all.

      Neoliberalism is not new to the arts. Vultures go wherever there’s money to be siphoned off.

      Reply
    3. Unna

      Russian businesswoman Nadezhda von Meck funded Tchaikovsky and other young musicians. She had Claude Debussy tutor her own children in music. King Leopold of Bavaria funded Wagner. Even built him his own personal opera house in Bayreuth. These people took a personal interest in music, personally selected the artists they would patronize, spent big money, and facilitated the creation of great art. Both Wagner and Tchaikovsky still sell recordings. Even Mozart survived on appointments, grants, etc being in part responsible for his own financial instability by being, well, personally unstable. This responsibility and personal desire of the very wealthy – businessmen, princes, popes – to fund art, see the Vatican, goes back through time to the Ancient World.

      So now ask yourself, what great composers do Zuckerberg and his ilk patronize with 100’s of millions of dollars? Which one of them would drop the cash to fund an opera company?

      Reply
  20. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    “White Woman Calls Police on Black Man Babysitting Two White Children” [GritPost]

    Two issues.

    #1 – the calling the police.

    #2 – do we only see this combination, and not, say, white men babysitting black/Chinese/Hindu/etc. children?

    Does the second reflect some kind of economy hegemony, even without the police calling issue?

    I know in some schools (tea ceremony, Zen temples), to have a white American student is something to be proud of. Perhaps the same with babysitters.

    Reply
  21. PKMKII

    I suspect what Buchanan means by “fortress” is the judicial bulwark against the overturning of Roe v. Wade. Kavanaugh’s confirmation guarantees it will either be done away with entirely, or stripped to the point where it might as well be. It is the one issue that is a hard litmus test for the liberal base. It’s the last “We at least we have” for them. Question is, when that happens, will it be the issue that finally gets them to hold the DNC leadership to something approaching accountability?

    Reply
    1. nervos belli

      Me being a very far away foreigner in Europe: does anyone honestly think his will happen?
      I can see any republican government doing away with all kinds of programs supporting women who want to abort, e.g. support for planned parenthood, but otherwise it’s just an awesome way to get voters. Voters for the republicans so they vote to end the right to abortion. Which will never come since then there is no reason to vote anymore.

      No, it’s simply awesome the way it is now, for both parties. Just like the 2nd amendment fights are: bestest money making aka election donation issues ever. And of course awesome to get a base of single issue voters at every election to boot. It’s a twofer!

      Reply
      1. Code Name D

        Normally, you would be right. Republicans DO NOT RvW over turned because it’s a motivator for voters. And this is precisely what Trump voters were rebelling against. They want to see progress on these agendas, not excuses. And Trump it would seem intends to deliver. At least on this one particular promise.

        Reply
        1. Michael Fiorillo

          Yes, mainstrezm Repugs never had any intention of overturning Roe, but Trump is a differwnt breed.

          The question then becomes, what happens if/when Roe is overturned, and the dog actually catches the car?

          Reply
          1. drumlin woodchuckles

            The anti-abortion movement then tries to outlaw abortion state by state by state. If a pro-choice movement is strong enough in any state to re-legalize legal abortion for real in that state, then gun-gangs from anti-abortion states will visit the legal abortion states to bomb, burn, murder abortion providers and places of abortion-providing until the legal-abortion states either call out their National Guards to kill the anti-abortion terrorists or until they agree to outlaw abortion to make the terror stop.

            Reply
  22. clarky90

    Google now plays ‘Good Censor’ for civility’s sake, leaked internal briefing confirms

    https://www.rt.com/usa/440823-google-censorship-shift-leaked-briefing/

    ‘The Good Censor,’ prepared by a host of prominent industry researchers and “cultural leaders,” states that Google, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter have been moving away from the “American tradition,” which protects free speech from any encroachment, towards the European one, which prefers “dignity over liberty and civility over freedom.”

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      This creates potential grounds for a legal conflict, since Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act exempts tech platforms from legal responsibility for the content they distribute – a privilege they would have to abandon should they openly admit to censoring content.

      But the article includes a disclaimer from Google that the “thinking out loud” paper is official policy. Unofficial policy?…

      Reply
  23. Llewelyn Moss

    “Carnage Continues After-Hours – Dow Down 1000 Pts, Nasdaq Collapses 5%”
    That’s a headline on ZeroHedge.
    October surprise. Trump’s Tremendous Economy becomes less Tremendous. :-)

    Reply
  24. Summer

    Re: Housing starts and home sales

    As an indicator about the economy, unless it’s broken down into WHO (and who from where) is buying the homes and WHERE (place of hoising bought), I really don’t know what it is indicating.

    Reply
    1. Code Name D

      Real-estate is in bubble territory. Meaning that investors are buying real-estate for the sole reason prices are going up. The slowdown of mortgage applications indicates that these markets are “cooling off”, meaning that investors will see less profits when they go to sell. This is the “volatility phase” of a bubble, a pre-curser to it collapsing.

      Reply
    1. Jean

      “During the Kavanaugh hearings, she flashed her prosecutorial background”

      Kamala Harris was a mediocre district attorney who was harshly censored by a superior court judge:

      https://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Judge-rips-Harris-office-for-hiding-problems-3263797.php

      “San Francisco District Attorney Kamala Harris’ office violated defendants’ rights by hiding damaging information about a police drug lab technician and was indifferent to demands that it account for its failings, a judge declared Thursday.”

      “But in a scathing ruling, the judge concluded that prosecutors had failed to fulfill their constitutional duty to tell defense attorneys about problems surrounding Deborah Madden, the now-retired technician at the heart of the cocaine-skimming scandal that led police to shut down the drug analysis section of their crime lab.”

      “Prosecutors, unable to vouch for the reliability of Madden’s work, have dismissed more than 600 drug cases since the scandal became public in February. Madden testified at trials before leaving the lab in December. Under a 1963 U.S. Supreme Court ruling, district attorneys are obligated to hand over to the defense information about prosecution witnesses that could be used to challenge their credibility.”

      And her political opposition? When she ran for her second term as district attorney of San Francisco in 2008, it was the first uncontested race for DA since 1991.

      Reply
    2. polecat

      Yikes !! .. It’s really hard Not to unthink either of those horrible visions ..

      You own me some brain-bleach, mr. stone.

      Reply
  25. Andrew Watts

    RE: How the left stopped being a party of the working class

    “Piketty describes this as the emergence of the “Brahmin Left” elite, which can be compared to the “Merchant” elite on the right.”

    I don’t see the point in inventing new terminology to replace the old which is often more specific. The Democratic Party is a political organization whose base is the petty bourgeois. That class is defined by their conservative viewpoint and their preference for upholding conventional norms. Hence their so-called “big plans” to shore up conservative programs like Dodd-Frank and Obamacare. Their hostility to any form of populism by ridiculing all their opponents as being childish and/or stupid is just a form of class bigotry.

    The verbal usage of “Brahmin Left” is problematic in other ways given the political history of the US. The Brahmin elite of Boston was exclusively white and Protestant and that doesn’t accurate reflect the present dynamics of the Democrats. This potential misunderstanding is what happens when you have dissident radicals without any basis of political understanding and/or history.

    Reply
    1. Swamp Yankee

      I take your point re: Boston Brahmins and the current “if exactly 10% of the people running the world-destroying machine of capitalism are LGBTQ, then all’s right with the world!” Democratic leadership –, but the term “Brahmin” itself precedes petite-bourgeois by several millennia, no?

      I think the priestly connotations are actually quite useful in the description of Liberal 10%ers and their strategic use (paging Prof. Nietzsche!) of bad conscience as their chief political weapon.

      I also think that the petite bourgeois, at least in essays like Marx’s “Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon,” constitute a social stratum that is different than today’s Dems — shopkeepers, for instance, whereas today’s 10%ers are often in the very classically bourgeois professions like lawyers or professors, as Tom Frank points out. Granted, they are not the owners of the factories, (or the algorithms, today) but they are not what I would think of as a classic petty bourgeoisie — today I’d say that role is filled by wealthy but uncredentialed contractors-cum-developers who drive the big aggressive Trump pick up trucks in my neck of the woods.

      Of course, others may see it differently.

      Reply
      1. Andrew Watts

        I’m not saying my criteria is any more relevant beyond the general classification of individuals, I just don’t see the point in inventing new terminology that could potentially obfuscate any issues and the so-called term “Brahmin Left” definitely qualifies.

        I also think that the petite bourgeois, at least in essays like Marx’s “Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon,” constitute a social stratum that is different than today’s Dems — shopkeepers, for instance, whereas today’s 10%ers are often in the very classically bourgeois professions like lawyers or professors,

        The petite bourgeois of Marx’s era didn’t rely solely on the sale of their labor. They usually held small amounts of capital and that’s where I’m pointing out the various similarities. I spelled it out further down below in another comment in this thread.

        Reply
      2. Big River Bandido

        Professors are no longer bourgeois, and haven’t been for quite awhile due to the heavy use of adjuncts and the pressure tactics colleges make toward keeping salaries low for everyone except administrators and higher-level staff.

        And for that matter, things haven’t been so great for a huge sector of lawyers. A lot of temps in that profession, too.

        Reply
      3. Observer

        YES! 10%ers as petty bourgeoisie, structurally — Very interesting point.

        I’ve seen a working paper on the 10%ers, and the difficult position they’re in re —
        their bosses (the .01%),
        the shortage of 10%er positions (defined a little differently), etc.

        So yes, they’re between a rock and a hard place, getting squeezed all the time. Not that there’s any pity, because, like the petti Bs in olden days, they’re too frequently choosing the wrong side.

        Reply
    2. Michael Fiorillo

      That’s why, for lack of a better term, I prefer the 10% – rounded up from 9% – denoting the managerial, technical and professional that enables predztions znd parasitisms of the 1/10 of the 1% , along with the vast deflating empire.

      Reply
      1. Andrew Watts

        I view it less as a occupational/vocational distinction and mathematical abstraction then as a question of how they earn money. That’s where the economic dividing line in politics will inevitably be drawn. If they earn money solely through the sale of their labor they’re members of the proletariat. If they earn some investment income to supplement their labor they’re petty bourgeois. If you have a net worth above $50 million, or whatever entry level rich is, you’re a member of the bourgeoisie.

        We need to get to the point in political education and indoctrination where people understand that different power centers and classes will pursue their own self-interest at the expense of others. Especially in a declining empire and a world that’s going to be wrecked by climate change.

        Reply
  26. marym

    At Immigration Argument, Justice Kavanaugh Takes Hard Line

    The question in the case was whether federal authorities must detain immigrants who had committed crimes, often minor ones, no matter how long ago they were released from criminal custody. Justice Kavanaugh said a 1996 federal law required detention even years later, without an opportunity for a bail hearing.

    “What was really going through Congress’s mind in 1996 was harshness on this topic,” he said.

    But Justice Gorsuch suggested that mandatory detentions of immigrants long after they completed their sentences could be problematic. “Is there any limit on the government’s power?” he asked.

    The plaintiffs include people who entered the country illegally, tourists or students who overstayed their visas and lawful permanent residents. Among them are immigrants who arrived in the United States legally as infants, committed minor crimes like possessing marijuana and were detained years after completing their sentences.

    Reply
  27. SerenityNow

    A minor point, but it kills me that “reach out” seems to have been accepted completely as a synonym for contact….they are not the same! They have different meanings!

    Reply
  28. flora

    So many good links, hard to know where to start. I’ll limit this comment to 2 links:

    While Buchanan isn’t wrong – “The Democrats’ Little Bighorn” [Patrick Buchanan] –
    he also isn’t quite right, imo. The good read “Portrait of a Campaign” [Idle Words] points out the Dem estab engineers these “narrow losses” for the estab’s benefit, if not for their voters’ benefit.

    “While claiming to seek victory, the Democratic leadership has instead created a consulting and fundraising complex that incentivizes narrow defeat.” -Idle Words.

    Buchanan’s comparison to The Little Bighorn for the K vote would more aptly be compared to the 1919 World Series when the “Black” Sox* threw the World Series in US baseball for money, imo. And beyond that comparison, the Dem estab is happy with the neoliberal status quo and works to preserve it and extend is reach. I think the Dem estab was happy with the outcome of the K vote. So, not quite the crushing defeat that Buchanan believes, except for the Dem party base of course. So there’s that.

    *Chicago White Sox throwing the 1919 World Series. See:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Sox_Scandal

    Reply

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