2:00PM Water Cooler 10/18/2018

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

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Trade

“Trump Is Right About China’s Postal Subsidy” [Bloomberg]. “Arcane rules established by the 144-year-old Universal Postal Union make it possible for a Chinese e-retailer to send a package across the Pacific to a customer in the U.S. at a cost lower than what an American competitor would spend to ship the same item to a neighboring state. This is because the union, which determines what national carriers can charge to deliver small packages and first-class letters originally sent from abroad, allows poor nations to pay lower rates than wealthy ones. That makes sense. But, insensibly, the union still places China, the world’s second-largest economy, in the same category as Bosnia, Botswana, Cuba and other developing countries. (India also gets some degree of preferential treatment.) These steep postal discounts add to the considerable cost advantages Chinese manufacturers already have over American firms. And they hurt the United States Postal Service — which delivers packages that originate from China at a loss — and put private shippers like FedEx and UPS at a disadvantage.”

“The three NAFTA countries are looking for a way to lift the steel and aluminum tariffs and retaliatory duties, potentially through some sort of quota. Also, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross’ harsh comments in Brussels have pushed the U.S.-EU trade truce to a breaking point, and the yuan is tumbling after Treasury issued China a warning about the relative weakness of its currency” [Politico].

Politics

2020

“Joe’s gonna go (probably)” [Chris Cilizza, CNN]. • Never change, Democrats. Never change.

“Joe Biden says Trump impeachment should wait until Mueller investigation finishes” [The Independent]. “I think it should be issued when they finish the investigation,” he said. “I’ve been around a long time. You wait until the investigation’s finished. You don’t put an arbitrary end to it. You wait until it’s finished, and let’s see what it has to say.”

“Elizabeth Warren’s Native Ancestry Response Is A Complete Disaster” [Current Affairs]. “I like Elizabeth Warren a lot. She’s probably my second-favorite elected official. It’s only thanks to her that we have the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the best agency in the U.S. federal government. She is gutsy, smart, and she cares about the economic well-being of ordinary people. Which is why I am so frustrated that Warren has so badly mishandled this native ancestry issue…. I don’t understand why Warren would go to the trouble of taking the test and having a sleek professional video made if she hadn’t first consulted with the Cherokee Nation itself to see what she ought to do.”

“Bernie Sanders Is Quietly Remaking the Democrats’ Foreign Policy in His Own Image” [Politico]. Sanders: “In order to effectively combat the forces of global oligarchy and authoritarianism, we need an international movement that mobilizes behind a vision of shared prosperity, security and dignity for all people, and that addresses the massive global inequality that exists, not only in wealth but in political power. Our job is to reach out to those in every corner of the world who shares these values, and who are fighting for a better world.” • And Sanders was out front on Yemen, too, which turns out to be good positioning, given the (truly bizarre) MBS flap.

2018

18 days until Election Day. 18 days is a long time in politics. And remember that October is the month of surprises! (I have to say I’ve been expecting Trump to pull some sort of rabbit out of his hat to really drive turnout. It’s getting pretty late for that to happen.)

“The Drive for 25: An updated seat-by-seat analysis of the House” [Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball]. “A race-by-race analysis of Democratic House targets shows the party is close to winning the majority, but they do not have it put away, in our judgment, with Election Day less than three weeks away. Barring a big, positive late change in the political environment in favor of Republicans, the bare minimum for Democratic House gains is in the mid-to-high teens. The needed 23-seat net gain is not that far beyond that and there are many different paths Democrats can take to achieve it. So the GOP is still at a disadvantage overall. There are 11 ratings changes this week, seven in favor of Democrats and four in favor of Republicans.”

“Stop Calling 2018 ‘The Year Of The Woman'” [Inside Elections]. “[D]espite the record number of women candidates this year, electoral dynamics limit room for net growth in the number of women serving in Congress. Thirteen congresswomen are not seeking re-election, and women candidates are positioned to win fewer than half of those open seats. And of the districts where men aren’t running for re-election, only four feature races including women nominees from both parties. Another eight women are heavily favored to win, and eleven are running competitive races against men. There are also four woman incumbents fielding credible challenges from male nominees. At this point in the cycle, it’s possible— though unlikely — that the number of women in the House could actually remain at 84…. ‘I really don’t like the term [‘Year of the Woman’] because it implies in some way you’ll have this year and suddenly women will achieve gender parity,’ said Debbie Walsh, director of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. ‘This is not a problem that will be solved in one election cycle,’ she added.”

GA: “Early Voter Turnout in Georgia Leads to Hours-Long Wait at Polls” [Courthouse News]. “Wait times to vote in Cobb County have varied between one and three hours since early in-person voting began on Monday…. A new poll from the Reuters/Ipsos/University of Virginia Center for Politics released Wednesday shows that the two candidates are currently locked in a neck-and-neck race with [Republican Brian Kemp] leading [Democrat Stacey Abrams] 47-46…. Early voting has become popular in Georgia because it gives voters the freedom to decide when they want to cast their ballots and usually allows voters to avoid long lines.” • So, we limit capacity and then incentivize people to make up their minds before the whole race is run, reinforcing partisanship. Well done, all.

GA: “Georgia Voters: Here’s How to Legally Vote Even if You’re on Brian Kemp’s Can’t-Vote List” [Yahoo News]. “So, if you’re one of the Georgia voters whose driver’s license doesn’t have the exact same name as their voter registration card, show up to the polls anyway with whatever photo ID you have lying around that does. Don’t let them silence you.” • Eesh. Not everyone has a photo ID (and Clinton’s 1.4 billion would have bought a lot of photo IDs, if liberal Democrats were actually interested in expanding their base.

GA: “Black senior citizens ordered off Georgia bus taking them to vote” [Politically Georgia]. T”he bus, run by the group Black Voters Matter, was preparing to depart from a senior center operated by Jefferson County when the center’s director said they needed to disembark, said LaTosha Brown, a co-founder of Black Voters Matter. A county clerk had called the senior center raising concerns about allowing the bus to take residents from the senior center in the city of Louisville, south of Augusta.”

NV: “Dead brothel owner will win Nevada election, says manager” [Guardian]. • The race in one headline?

2016 Post Mortem

“Hillary Clinton’s defense of Bill Clinton is why women don’t come forward” [Vox]. “As one of the most visible women in the world, Clinton has a rare opportunity to send a message of support to survivors everywhere. But by getting defensive about her former employee, and denying that her husband abused his power when Lewinsky has said that he did, she’s done the opposite. She’s become one of the many, many people showing survivors that, too often, people in power will be protected by their powerful friends.”

“How long will Democrats keep on letting Hillary Clinton dominate the party?” [Salon]. “[Clinton] has every right to believe that her husband should not have been forced to resign over a personal failing — that’s certainly what most Americans thought at the time. But the fact that Hillary Clinton refuses to evaluate the incident from a new perspective, however, undermines her credibility in speaking about anything related to #MeToo. It doesn’t help that she also denied that she had ever ‘criticized the character of Bill’s accusers.” • Workplace abuse is not a “personal failing.” Interestingly, more articles like this lately.

“Hillary Clinton seemingly unharmed in car crash” [Politico] “The former secretary of state and first lady was headed to a fundraiser for Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) in Jersey City on Tuesday night. The vehicle pulled into a parking garage, made a left turn and hit a concrete column.” • Seemingly?

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Bob Bland, Linda Sarsour, and Tamika Mallory Built the Women’s March ‘Mob’ With Nice, Suburban Women” [New York Magazine]. “When Harvard University’s Theda Skocpol and University of Pittsburgh’s Laura Putnam set out to document ‘the resistance’ that has sprung up in the last two years, they found that ‘college-educated, middle-aged women in the suburbs’ had most changed their political practices under Trump, now making up about 70 percent of participants in local progressive movements. The Women’s March leaders are constantly driving their members toward intersectionality—the idea that the liberation of women, people of color, the LGBT community, and other oppressed communities are all tied together.” •  Nice to have that clarified. Note the complete erasure of economics and class.

“Resistance Is the Right Strategy for Dems, Even If It Costs the Senate in 2018” [David Atkins, Washington Monthly]. “If doing the right thing and channeling the anger and resistance of young people, women, the educated and people of color costs Democratic Senate seats in North Dakota or Missouri, that is unfortunate. But it’s a small price to pay over time for securing the House with its fearful investigative power over Trump, and even more importantly the loyalty of the people who constitute America’s majoritarian future.” • This is warmed-over Ruy Teixeira, the “coalition of the ascendant” (the so-called Obama Coalition). Never change, Democrats! Never change! (Maybe if Obama hadn’t deported so many Latinx voters and set up the apparatus Trump is now abusing, they’d have been more “loyal”? Just a thought.)

The centrist paradox. Thread:

And the conclusion:

(“The Centrist Paradox: Political Correlates of the Democratic Disconnect” (PDF) [David Adler, SSRN]. From the abstract: ” In this article, I use the World Values Survey and European Values Survey to examine the relationship between democratic discontent and the left-right political spectrum. I find that, contrary to much contemporary commentary, hostility to democracy is strongest not at the political extremes, but in the center. Respondents at the center of the political spectrum are the least supportive of democracy, least committed to its institutions, and most supportive of authoritarianism. I refer to this surprising finding as the ‘centrist paradox.’ Recent research has advanced our understanding of extremist parties. We know far less, however, about moderates. The centrist paradox points to this lacuna.” • Ah, centrist “problem solvers.”

“Not Just Georgia’s Brian Kemp: Other Secretaries of State Accused of Abusing Elections Power” [Governing]. “‘There is a fundamental conflict of interest for an official to administer an election at the same time that he is running for office,’ says David Kimball, a voting expert at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. ‘The tension around this conflict is raised because issues around election laws and voting rights have become more divided and partisan.’ In most countries, Kimball notes, elections are overseen by independent bodies. The role of secretary of state in overseeing elections was once viewed as purely technical, much like their other responsibilities, such as issuing business licenses. That’s changed….Secretaries of state have started serving as campaign cochairs for their parties’ presidential nominees, while super PACs and other outside groups have sprung up specifically to give partisan secretary of states a boost in elections.” • The article notes problems in AZ, IN, KS, and KY.

“Vermont hits record 92.5 percent voter registration ahead of election” [VT Digger]. “Data from the secretary of state’s office shows the uptick in registered voters has been driven largely by the state’s new automatic voter registration system, which took effect in January 2017. The system allows voters to register automatically when they receive or update their driver’s licenses, or other forms of identification, at the Department of Motor Vehicles.”

“The Unintended Consequences of Enshrining Norms in Law” [Bob Bauer, Lawfare]. “The inevitable if regrettable result is a chief executive who will devote careful attention to appointments to limit his or her legal or political exposure in operation of this norm-enforcement machinery. After all, the best way to mitigate the risks of a special counsel, and to overcome the limits of removing one, is to choose an attorney general who is highly unlikely to appoint one in the first place….. Here is where an altogether different set of norms, binding on the Congress in the advice and consent process, comes into play. Congress normally scrutinizes a president’s nominations to judge core qualifications and personal fitness—but except for clear questions on those measures, it deems presidents entitled to their preferences for high-level appointments. This presumption may apply in most cases…. Congress would have to devote heightened attention to those appointments most critical to the defense of the norm of independence.”

“‘We can be the medicine that each other need’: The 19th US surgeon general on ending loneliness” [Quartz]. “[W]hat is true, even though there’s variation in studies, is that there are millions and millions of people in the United States, millions of people in Europe and in other parts of the world, who are in fact struggling with loneliness. There is no study of loneliness has come out and said, “No, this isn’t an issue.” It’s prevalent, it’s common, and the studies Julianne and others have done have shown a robust association with illnesses that we actually care about, including heart disease, dementia, depression and anxiety, and very importantly, longevity.” • DSA has a lot of social events, which is smart.

Stats Watch

Leading Indicators, September 2018: “The index of leading economic indicators is pointing to strong growth going into 2019” [Econoday]. “The strongest positives in September were consumer expectations and ISM new orders with manufacturing hours and building permits the only negatives of the report’s 10 components.” And: “September 2018 Leading Economic Index Economic: Economic Growth could exceed 3.5% For 2H2018” [Econintersect]. But: “Because of the significant backward revisions, I do not trust this index.”

Philadelphia Fed Business Outlook Survey, October 2018: “Much like the Empire State report released earlier this week, the Philly Fed report for October shows strong growth in new orders and a welcome working down of backlog orders” [Econoday]. “This report points to solid conditions going into year end, both on the demand side and the supply side, for a factory sector that may well be, along with employment, the central strengths of the 2018 economy.” But: “Consider this a weaker report than last month as key elements declined – and backlog now is in contraction” [Econintersect].

Jobless Claims, week of October 13, 2018: “Hurricane effects are not evident in weekly jobless claims which point squarely at solid strength” [Econoday]. “Labor is hard to find and employers are holding on like never before to the employees they have which are central reasons why the Federal Reserve, seeking to avoid overheating in the jobs market, is raising interest rates.”

Retail: “Most burger chains fail on annual antibiotics report card” [CNN]. “Twenty-five of the top US burger chains were graded on their antibiotic policies in a collaborative report released Wednesday. Only two chains received As, Shake Shack and BurgerFi; the other 23 got a D minus or F.”

Supply Chain: “Supply Chain Risks Come from All Sides” [Industry Week]. “most efforts to outpace disruption are ultimately limited by the physical and financial constraints inherent to moving goods around the globe. Whether it is a hurricane or factory fire, new trade regulation or an unexpected supplier bankruptcy, much of how products are made and moved happens outside of our control…. However, in a world where most of the information about a supply chain exists outside of the enterprise, visibility is a fundamental part of managing risk. Businesses that have end-to-end visibility of their supply chain are able to react to change more quickly and reduce the harmful effects of a breakdown somewhere along the way. Doing so takes more than simple point systems; it requires all parties involved in the supply chain to interact and share information in real time. Connecting all parties of a supply chain as a business network helps ensure that when something does happen, each stakeholder can adapt to the situation. And then if a factory runs out of materials or a ship cannot make it to a port, companies can dynamically shift inventory or production somewhere else, or find an alternate berth for that ship stuck out at sea.”

The Bezzle: “The last days of Theranos — the financials were as overhyped as the blood tests” [Francine McKenna, MarketWatch]. “Holmes’s tragic error was touting financial projections that never materialized based on technology that she never delivered.” • That’s two errors. More: “MarketWatch reported early this year that none of the Theranos investors, who invested more than $700 million with Holmes between late 2013 and 2015, had ever requested audited financial statements or asked whether the company even used an outside accountant to verify the financial information that was distributed.” • Stupid money. “Getting a handle on the numbers was less important than publicity to founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes, until she was forced to mortgage all of Theranos’s assets to Fortress Investment Group in return for a desperately needed $100 million loan in December 2017. The terms of the loan agreement included the requirement to finally produce audited financial statements, something that had not been attempted since at least 2009, according to Theranos’s last chief financial officer.” • Call me crazy, but wouldn’t it make more sense to insist on the audit before loaning the $100 million, and not afrer? More stupid money. And more terrible capital allocation decisions, too.

The Bezzle: “How Uber Quietly Raised $2 Billion” [Bloomberg]. “Uber Technologies Inc. has found a way to tap debt markets when burning through billions of dollars of cash: Keep financial details closely guarded and hire former Goldman Sachs bankers to oversee the deals. The ride-hailing company this week sold $2 billion of bonds in what’s known as a private placement. The secretive approach, bypassing Wall Street’s broader bond market, allowed Uber to limit the financial information it disclosed — and then only to a small and select group of buyers. That kept prying eyes away from the books of a firm that is still losing money as it expands globally. And, while a lack of transparency generally can make it difficult to gauge creditworthiness, it seemed to work…. The unorthodox deal…. also reflects a dearth of junk-rated debt, a supply shortage at its biggest in 10 years.” • Oh, come now. Our financial markets are capable of producing junk to any degree required.

The Bezzle: “Moody’s suggests that autonomous vehicle startups have inherent disadvantages” [Freight Waves]. “Moody’s released a white paper on Monday, ‘Autonomous driving efforts pick up pace; GM ahead with Honda investment in Cruise,’ that suggests [autonomous vehicle (AV)] startups have inherent disadvantages compared to incumbent vehicle manufacturers. The white paper emphasizes that winning in the AV space will be predicated on an intricate orchestration of a whole suite of still-developing technologies including surrounding environment sensors, computing, external connectivity, and standard vehicle controls. Building a business that depends on bringing new technologies together is capital-intensive and risky.” Importantly:

We think that autonomous vehicles will have to be nearly perfected before widespread adoption takes place due to safety concerns. Even the trained contractors testing autonomous vehicles today have trouble maintaining the appropriate amount of attention (both visual and manual) while riding in Level 4 and Level 5 vehicles. It’s unrealistic to expect consumers to operate autonomous or semi-autonomous vehicles correctly because drivers today do not operate their cars ‘by the book’, whether the issue is regular maintenance or driving safely. Therefore, when truly autonomous vehicles are ready to be released, the product will be in the last flat stages of Christensen’s S-curve, which marks a mature product where further improvements will be marginal.

Our view meshes with Moody’s: because AVs will be released at an unusually late point in the product development cycle, risk-sharing joint ventures between incumbents make sense, and disruptive startups will burn through mountains of capital building products that may never make it to consumers.

No such thing as a “minimum viable product” in the AV space.

Tech:

Health Care

“Maine Could Make Health-Care History, Again, on Election Day” [Governing]. “The measure, Question 1, would create a state-run program that provides free at-home services for anyone in need of long-term care, largely the elderly and disabled. To pay for it, the proposal would enact an extra 3.8 percent income tax on residents making more than $128,400 a year… There has been no formal polling on the measure, but if it passes, it could face some pushback from politicians. All four gubernatorial candidates oppose the measure.”

“Democrats are embracing a radical change to US healthcare, and it could be the defining political fight for years to come” [Business Insider]. “Medicare’s strong brand is likely a reason why the proposal is so popular. Polling by the progressive policy group Data for Progress found that support jumps from 51% to 60% when the term Medicare for All is used, rather than single-payer, to describe a universal healthcare system.” • Which is why liberal Democrats consistently hijack and pollute the brand.

Our Famously Free Press

“About 1,300 U.S. communities have totally lost news coverage, UNC news desert study finds” [Poynter Institute]. “About 20 percent of all metro and community newspapers in the United States — about 1,800 — have gone out of business or merged since 2004, when about 9,000 were being published. Hundreds more have scaled back coverage so much that they’ve become what the researchers call “ghost newspapers.” Almost all other newspapers still publishing have also scaled back, just less drastically… About 70 percent of the newspapers that have died since 2004 were in suburban areas of metropolitan areas that historically offered many news choices, the researchers say, but counties with no coverage at all tend to be rural. State and regional papers have also pulled back dramatically, and this “has dealt a double blow to residents of outlying rural counties as well as close-in suburban areas.” • I guess they didn’t “pivot to video” fast enough….

Gaia

“People who have a good sense of smell are also good navigators” [Science News]. “A sense of smell may have evolved to help people find their way around, an idea called the olfactory spatial hypothesis. More specific aspects of smell, such as how good people are at detecting faint whiffs, could also be tied to navigation, the researchers suggest.”

Class Warfare

“‘It was like hell’: California hotel workers break their silence on abuse” [Guardian]. “Included in the lawsuit is a text message Harrington sent to Sanchez in August 2016 after taking her cellphone number from a staff bulletin board. ‘My dick keeps getting hard thinking about it, I’m gona have to beat it off again in the ballroom restroom,’ the text read after Harrington told her that he watched her on the security cameras as she worked. Sanchez reported the text messages to human resources, who she claims brushed them off. A few days later, Harrington cornered Sanchez in a room and sexually assaulted her for reporting him, according to the lawsuit.” • Classy. And a little gift for the cleaners in the ballroom restroom, too.

“There’s a problem at the heart of #MeToo — here’s how to solve it” [Quartz]. “A culture reluctant to be disrupted will only transform when women say #MeToo not about abuse but our right to rule, and say #FuckYou to anyone who refuses us opportunities. We have to work our way into the powerful positions where the dominant narrative is written, and create a new kind of script.” • “Create a new kind of script” why?

News of the Wired

“Daily low-dose aspirin is not a panacea for the elderly” [Science Daily]. “A trio of papers based on a large-scale clinical trial finds that the drug doesn’t help to stave off heart attacks, strokes, dementia or physical disability. In fact, those in their golden years who took a low dose of aspirin daily were more likely to suffer serious internal bleeding than those who took a placebo.” • Dang. Maybe I should just find a really good placebo.

“Printer Makers Are Crippling Cheap Ink Cartridges Via Bogus ‘Security Updates'” [Motherboard]. • Still not seeing the IoT-enabled safety razor, but surely it’s only a matter of time…

“Growing Up Surrounded by Books Could Have Powerful, Lasting Effect on the Mind” [Smithsonian] (original). “Growing up with few books in the home resulted in below average literacy levels. Being surrounded by 80 books boosted the levels to average, and literacy continued to improve until libraries reached about 350 books, at which point the literacy rates leveled off. The researchers observed similar trends when it came to numeracy; the effects were not as pronounced with information communication technology tests, but skills did improve with increased numbers of books.”

* * *

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 (CZ):

Colorful!

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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.

90 comments

  1. Carey

    Dmitry Orlov is interesting today, contending that the elites’ plan is indeed to engineer
    cultural and social collapse, while leaving the financial system more or less intact.

    Teaser, subscription required for his Thursday posts:

    “The goal of the 0.01%, therefore, is to keep the financial-commercial scheme functioning at a sufficient level to adequately serve their own needs, never mind anyone else, and to keep the politicians in their pockets to make this possible. As to the rest of humanity… well, they are problematic. If culture and society remain intact, then, once they realize that the whole system is rigged against them and in favor of the 0.01%, they might organize and start a revolution. If, on the other hand, society and culture have been undermined and destroyed beforehand, then they will lack the social cohesion and the public spirit needed for such an endeavor, and will simply wander around pushing a shopping cart filled with their meager possessions, digging around in the garbage and sleeping rough.”

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      I was nursing as much wi-fi as I could out of a dollar ice cream cone @ Mickey D’s the other day, when across the way, the most feral human i’ve laid eyes upon up close sat down. There was calloused layers of filth where in theory shoes would be, his clothes were so dirty you could shake them out and start a garden with the proceeds, and he was also eating an ice cream cone.

      We aren’t so different, the 99% & 1%’ers.

      Reply
      1. JTMcPhee

        Did you offer to buy that feral human a meal, or anything? Or just move away from the smell? That’s what I would have done.

        Reply
        1. ambrit

          s/ Both? How centrist of you! /s
          Sorry for the snark, but Phyl and I can no longer afford to dispense largesse. I have threatened to stand on the ‘Beggars Corner’ near the in-town WalMart dressed in long sleeve shirt and tie holding a sign reading: “Please Help!” “Attempting to maintain lower middle class lifestyle!” “Your contributions not tax deductible.” Also, if you possess more than one change of underwear and socks in Mississippi, you don’t qualify for very much.
          Mississippi! The Home of “Barefoot and Pregnant!”
          Yesterday I was driving away from the WallyWorld and noticed a clump of Ultra Deplorables bedding down for the night in an alcove in the rear of a strip mall. The three or four individuals were tucking themselves into a pair of bed comforters. This sort of sight is now normal around here.
          As the Sages say: “The Road to Perdition is paved with Increased Stockholder Equity.”

          Reply
      2. perpetualWAR

        Do you consider yourself the 1%?
        Or are you describing the 99% as “the most feral person I’ve ever laid eyes on”?

        Please elucidate.

        Reply
        1. ChiGal in Carolina

          Well, we know a lot about Wuk cuz he “talks” a lot. For one thing, he and the fam have two homes and he seems to have been everywhere on the planet.

          Maybe the 9.9%?

          Reply
          1. Wukchumni

            Most went to college or university, but the world was my alma mater, and I caught it at a good time before the internet came along and this orb was a giant unconnected place for the most part. I remember being in Auckland in the 80’s and going to the US Consulate in order to read a few days old newspaper, fresh off the 747. Information flowed like molasses.

            I’d missed the Europe on $5 a day gig in the 60’s, but my era of travelling was interesting in that I caught the last glimpse of national dressing, as it greatly varied from country to country, we pretty much all dress alike now in developed countries.

            Americans tend to not travel much overseas, or if they do, it’s when they’re old and set in their ways, but I was lucky to be able do quite a bit and see the world for what it was when a young adult, with an entrepreneurial bent and arbitrage opportunities up the ying yang, the whole key being, ya gotta be there.

            To have missed out on going to all of the cultural & historical (in particular) possibilities whilst abroad, was not in the cards for me, I saw everything I could, and have fond memories of oh so much.

            …and i’m probably a 22%’er

            Reply
              1. Wukchumni

                The average price of a house in Toronto is C$936k, versus about $300k here, now where were all those 9.9%’ers? ha!

                I’m very well off when it comes to memories, i’ve got quite the hoard.

                Reply
      1. Carey

        What the Few are planning for us and what actually happens could be two different
        things, I agree. Given what has been in our newspaper of record™ lately, as well
        as the Bezos Post and the rest of the MSM, they’re giving it a helluva try.

        Reply
        1. clarky90

          “The love of money is the root of all evil”.

          Slavery and the Gulag Archipelago were similar. Both groups of perpetrators, argued that their victims were sub-human. Being sub-human, they were merely “beasts”. Being “beasts”, they could/should be exploited to create “wealth”. The death, destruction of cultures, separation of families, disease, psychological trauma, were therefore, “the unfortunate (but necessary) cost of doing business”.

          When “human capital” is an abundant, inexhaustible resource- and the people in power, love money above all……….

          THE GULAG ARCHIPELAGO full text, book 1
          AN EXPERIMENT IN LITERARY
          INVESTIGATION
          SOLZHENITSYN

          https://archive.org/stream/AleksandrSolzhenitsynTheGulagArchipelago/Aleksandr_Solzhenitsyn_The_Gulag_Archipelago_djvu.txt

          (BOOK 1 OF 3)

          I dedicate this to all those who did not live to tell it.
          And may they please forgive me for not having seen it all
          nor remembered it all, for not having divined all of it.

          Author’s Note

          For years I have with reluctant heart withheld from publication this already completed book: my obligation to those still living outweighed my obligation to the dead. But now that State Security has seized the book anyway, I have no alternative but to publish it immediately.

          In this book there are no fictitious persons, nor fictitious events. People and places are named with their own names. If they are identified by initials instead of names, it is for personal considerations. If they are not named at all, it is only because human memory has failed to preserve their names. But it all took place just as it is here described.

          PARTI

          The Prison Industry

          “In the period of dictatorship, surrounded on all sides by enemies, we sometimes manifested unnecessary leniency and unnecessary softheartedness.”

          KRYLENKO……

          Reply
    2. Oregoncharles

      Maybe Orlov should ask John Michael Green about that. I think it’s exactly backward – that the .01% would be in much more danger in a social collapse scenario. After all, protecting them is one of the main functions of the police and court system. Nor would the financial system, which is entirely dependent on government fiat and contract enforcement, survive such a collapse. JMG, in his Archdruid series on going back to prior technologies, offers vivid retrospective views of such a collapse: mansions full of skeletons, for instance. The story is that their security people turned on them.

      If the very wealthy actually think that, they’re taking a terrible risk as well as pulling the rest of us down with them.

      Reply
        1. jonhoops

          Orlov doesn’t really understand Macroeconomics from an MMT perspective, so he usually spouts a lot of nonsense about the collapse of the US dollar and the usual deficit spending hysteria. But he is an entertaining read with a good jaundiced view of the world’s elites.

          Reply
        1. Oregoncharles

          “And what rough beast, it’s hour come round at last,
          Slouches toward Bethlehem to be born.”

          One of my favorite poems. Didn’t really think I’d live to see it.

          Reply
          1. witters

            And, afterwards, a long time afterwards, this:

            I met a traveller from an antique land,
            Who said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
            Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand,
            Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
            And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command, Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
            Which yet survive, stamped on these lifeless things,
            The hand that mocked them, and the heart that fed;
            And on the pedestal, these words appear:
            My name is Ozymandias, King of Kings;
            Look on my Works, ye Mighty, and despair!
            Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
            Of that colossal Wreck, boundless and bare
            The lone and level sands stretch far away.”

            Reply
      1. Isotope_C14

        They certainly aren’t going to lift a finger to prevent the 450 Fukushimas from blowing, and they certainly aren’t going live very long after even 10 or 20 of them get flooded.

        I wonder if they plan to train their security forces to also safely decommission a nuclear plant? It only takes 50 years or so to do it completely.

        Wonder what happens if there is a carrington event and their underground bunker isn’t *completely* shielded?

        I’m sure they can call a contractor, oh wait.

        Reply
      2. Amfortas the Hippie

        That’s my feeling,too.
        The elite sit atop a gigantic incredibly complex ziggurat…made of all the rest of us and the things we do.
        By directing one faction of the lower orders to dig out the foundations, they’re undermining their own support systems.
        The more feral part of me looks forward to finally having some rich folk over for dinner

        Reply
  2. Wukchumni

    “Trump Is Right About China’s Postal Subsidy” [Bloomberg].
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    For what it’s worth dept:

    Charles Ponzi’s scheme was all about the arbitrage possibilities between different postal rates around the world, not that his moniker couldn’t describe most financial goings on currently.

    Reply
      1. Wukchumni

        Ponzi was a little bit more colorful than the various crooks in $5k suits nowadays. I like the ‘job’ in jail part.

        Eventually he walked into the offices of a former Zarossi customer Canadian Warehousing and, finding no one there, wrote himself a check for $423.58 in a checkbook he found, forging the signature of a director of the company, Damien Fournier.

        Confronted by police who had taken note of his large expenditures just after the forged check was cashed, Ponzi held out his hands wrist up and said “I’m guilty.” He ended up spending three years at St. Vincent-de-Paul Federal Penitentiary, a bleak facility located on the outskirts of Montreal. Rather than inform his mother of this development, he posted her a letter stating that he had found a job as a “special assistant” to a prison warden. (Wiki)

        Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I can’t find anything googling, but my guess is that something like that happened in China long before Ponzi invented his scheme.

      As for the story,

      And they hurt the United States Postal Service — which delivers packages that originate from China at a loss — and put private shippers like FedEx and UPS at a disadvantage.”

      Was Trump right? Do we make a distinction, here, that before, if I recall correctly, the discussion was whether the USPS lost money delivering for Amazon, and this new report concerned the USPS losing money delivering for Chinese factories?

      Reply
  3. flora

    re: “If doing the right thing and channeling the anger and resistance of young people, women, the educated and people of color costs Democratic Senate seats in North Dakota or Missouri, that is unfortunate. ”

    Missouri Dem. Sen McCaskill’s latest campaign ad touts her almost near Republican status. It headlines GOP senators’ favorable words about McCaskill and how bi-paritsany she is, or as the ad frames it, “she’s an independent”. So, if being a ‘near’-Republican is good, wouldn’t voting for a real Republican be better? sheesh….

    Reply
    1. foghorn longhorn

      The near Republican issue is the Dems main problem and accounts for the 60% non-voting super majority.
      Beto, here in Texas, is going to face the same problem.
      While he seems like a breath of fresh air, his policies are Repub-lite.
      Why bother when you can vote for the real jackboot.
      If he came out for medicare for all, decriminalization of the evil wacky tobacky, and other progressive issues, it might actually inspire people to get to the polls.
      On the positive side, his campaign signs are the first dem signs I’ve seen in this deep red area, in the last 20 years.

      Reply
      1. Richard

        I thought he did support med4all? Am I misinformed?
        Is he sneaking into “universal coverage” or some other bs dodge? God I am heartily sick of that shit. If they aren’t med4all or better, no vote from me.

        Reply
        1. foghorn longhorn

          Beto believes that healthcare is a right, not a privilege. He is working for universal healthcare coverage so that all Texans who need to see a doctor are able to. Beto has made this a top campaign priority and you can read more here: https://betofortexas.com/issue/healthcare/

          This is direct from a text exchange I had with his campaign

          Reply
          1. Richard

            Hmm. Had a look at things. It seems like a network of patches, and bits and compromises. Every one of them to be violently opposed by the Texas right anyway, now and forever. Why not come at them with the real thing, and have them violently oppose that? I mean, if you’re a man of the people and all that.
            Vote for him if you wanna. I draw the line on this. I hear the word “coverage”, you’ve lost my vote.

            Reply
    2. Big River Bandido

      I think it will be fortunate, actually. Hard as it is to replace a sitting Senator in a general election, it’s almost impossible to do so in a primary.

      Reply
  4. diptherio

    Lambert, I have a friend who makes the best placebo ever. It’s good for treating literally everything. He uses all the best non-active ingredients and he’ll even give it away, although the shipping tends to be a little pricey. Let me know if you’re interested.

    Reply
      1. Synoia

        It’s called “water”. Many ailments are symptoms of dehydration.

        The luxury version is called “beer”

        Historically beer was efficacious, much water was polluted.

        Reply
    1. Darius

      I’m 56 and have been taking baby aspirin since a bout of a fib 13 years ago. I have noticed cuts and scratches take a lot longer to heal than they did before I took aspirin daily.

      Reply
  5. Summer

    The Clinton Machine won’t die, it has to be laid off. A large group of people have “Clintonism” as a career.

    Reply
    1. Steve from CT

      Agree that it won’t die so how does it go away. I think it will be thrown in our faces until Bilary die. Definitely a career for the consultant class and the DNC.

      Reply
  6. Synoia

    Our Famously Free Press

    About 1,300 U.S. communities have totally lost news coverage,

    Imho, newspapers had a fundamentally dishonest business model. They made no money on their supposed product, “news.”

    Reply
    1. Wukchumni

      If it wasn’t for the fact that public notice ads have to be published in an actual physical newspaper, a bunch more would fold toot suite.

      Reply
    2. Mark in Portland

      Two excellent Canadian “online newspapers,” the Halifax Examiner and the Cape Breton Spectator, are keeping adversarial journalism alive in their corner of the globe. Both require a subscription to read the work that requires actual shoe leather to produce, pay their contributors promptly and well, and suffer no advertising. I’ve never been to either place, but the quality of the reporting and writing is so good that I subscribe to the Examiner just to support the effort, and hope against hope someone will find a way to establish something similar where I live.

      Reply
  7. Lee

    The Bezzle: “The last days of Theranos

    Marketwatch criticizes the stupid money, rightfully so. But what about the stupid and/or unethical science? Was there no peer review, clinical trials, FDA scrutiny? How odd.

    Reply
    1. prx

      The book (Bad Blood) is well worth a read. Holmes perpetuated fraud for roughly a decade. Several scientists / lab techs quit under her watch once she pushed back on their questions, and one killed himself while under legal pressure from the firm. Others were just willfully blind or bought in enough to look past ethics & the law.

      As far as “stupid money..” Fortress probably knew what it was getting into with the $100mm loan, secured by IP. It’s a shady fund, and they have lots of experience with distressed / garbage assets like Theranos was.

      The truly stupid money in the story is one of the original VC investors in the company, Tim Draper, who continues to defend Theranos to this day: http://fortune.com/2018/05/11/tim-draper-theranos-elizabeth-holmes/

      Reply
          1. witters

            On Pissed (I’m Australian):

            “In Australian English there has always been a distinction between “pissed” (intoxicated) and “pissed off” (angry, irritated).

            Reply
    2. Rosario

      True, true, and this doozy of a sentence only a few paragraphs in.

      Holmes’s tragic error was touting financial projections that never materialized based on technology that she never delivered.

      Jeez, let me pull that sentence off the rack. It is screaming in pain. I rewrite it for them.

      Holmes’s scam was touting financial projections that couldn’t materialize because the technology didn’t exist.

      I guess they could have been a teeny bit (sarc) more straight forward on what Holmes really was/is, a scam artist. I guess they did eventually mention the fact that she is under criminal investigation. Though the article reads like this kind of behavior is just a sequence of poor decisions (tragic) rather than a stream of fraud and criminal manipulation. Then again, if they called it what it was they would be implicating a whole lot of tech ventures funded by stupid money.

      Reply
  8. Wukchumni

    We were in a relative’s home a month ago, and not one book was to be seen gracing the walls, tables, or anywhere visible.

    They did have an Alexa~

    Reply
    1. Geo

      That’s depressing. I’ve seen similar situations and just want to bring books from home and leave them there. Heck, even if it’s just decorative maybe they’ll open it in a fit of boredom one day and discover the magic inside.

      Reply
    2. False Solace

      The supposed link between owning physical books and kids’ educational outcomes smells pretty fishy to me. Books are extremely heavy and take up lots of space. If your family has books it means your life situation is pretty stable. When you have to move, you have the means to take all those books with you, and you have a large enough home to store and display them. If your living situation is chaotic that’s not likely to be true. Books are a proxy for income, stability, etc.

      Besides that, books are expensive and serve little practical purpose. In other words, it’s easy to view them as a kind of status symbol. Sticking them in your house like a talisman to improve your kids’ brains is probably not going to do much, for anyone inclined to try.

      That said I own about 1200 and cherish them like close personal friends :)

      Reply
  9. pjay

    Re the Politico article on Bernie

    Wonder why the likes of establishment foreign policy “liberals” like Jake Sullivan and Van Jackson are now feeling better about Bernie? Well, the Johns Hopkins speech for one thing. I can’t say that this article is very reassuring. Here are some more quotes:

    From Dan Nexon, Georgetown prof and informal foreign policy advisor to Bernie: “With what we started to understand about Russia late in the campaign, you saw very quickly that while Sanders was someone who ran on a balanced foreign policy toward Russia, and who still isn’t interested in going to war, [that attitude] shifted after what we’d understood Russia had done. With the way in which those strands became highly salient and highly visible, we had more information by early 2017, and it came together quite naturally for someone concerned with domestic inequality, capital mobility and how they undermine liberal values,”

    Further:

    “Sanders 2.0 made his debut in a much-heralded speech last September at Missouri’s Westminster College in which he called for a foreign policy that would extend his progressive form of altruism across the globe to those under the yoke of more restrictive societies. He went as far as addressing Vladimir Putin directly:

    “Today, I say to Mr. Putin: We will not allow you to undermine American democracy or democracies around the world. In fact, our goal is to not only strengthen American democracy, but to work in solidarity with supporters of democracy around the globe, including in Russia. In the struggle of democracy versus authoritarianism, we intend to win,” Sanders thundered.”

    How about another color revolution?

    One more hint at why Bernie might now be attractive to the liberal FP establishment:

    “…the authority and progressive credibility Sanders brings to his vision of a Democratic foreign policy have put him in a position to which he’s not accustomed, building a rare and tentative consensus between the progressive and the “establishment” spheres.”

    Sheep herding anyone?

    I’m ready to hear how paranoid I am. (Damn Lambert. Every time I think I’m out you pull me back in.)

    Reply
    1. nippersdad

      Well, you may be paranoid but you are not alone.

      I have been seeing the same thing and am beginning to wonder why we wasted all of that money on his last campaign. Sheepdog me once, shame on you. Sheepdog me twice….?

      Reply
      1. Richard

        Well, to play devil’s advocate:
        in ’16 he seemed to be planning to lose from the beginning
        vowing to Support Clinton before he even got used to beating her
        felt like sheepdog Kucinich type campaign early on
        I don’t think he expected to do so well…
        and I don’t have any way to finish this thought that argues against sheepdog scenario next time out.
        Sorry, I tried.

        Reply
        1. nippersdad

          His underdog position was understandable in ’16. I wasn’t wild about how he never took the fight to Hillary Clinton when he had the chance, but working the inside track does have its’ disadvantages; I cut him a lot of slack for that.

          The past two years, however, he has spent Red Baiting his own constituencies; he has conformed to the establishment narrative that it is Trump who is undermining the trustworthiness of the very Press that blacked his own campaign out and is presently working to censor the outlets that purveyed his message; that it is Trump who is undermining the credibility of the intelligence services that have so clearly manufactured all of the wars that he ran against, and that it is Trump, alone, who consorts with the very authoritarian governments that have been a prime constituency of all of the Administrations for at least the past couple of decades. He is working very hard to eliminate any of the credibility he once had.

          At some point he has to recognize that one often gets what one asks for, and rejection of the kinds of centrist narratives that he is presently espousing are exactly why he had the support that he did. If he wants to throttle his own “revolution” in its’ infancy then he is succeeding, with people like myself anyway.

          Reply
          1. UserFriendly

            FWIW, he does still have to win the Dem primary before he can become president. And since Rachel Maddow and the rest of the MSM have turned the whole party into Mccarthyite wackos coming across as soft on Russia could hurt him a lot in the primaries. So it could just be the minimum amount of bellicosity he thinks he can get away with. I could be wrong too, but it’s a possibility.

            Reply
    2. Carolinian

      Gad. Maybe he can get Nikki Haley to be his running mate. She’s available.

      It’ll be quite the kick in the head if the only 2020 candidate who doesn’t want to go to war with Russia is Donald Trump.

      Reply
  10. Big Tap

    So Hillary Clinton is doing a fundraiser for Bob Menendez probably the most ethically challenged, criminal (allegedly) senator in Congress. His opponent, Bob Hugin, has been running ads targeting Menendez on ethics issues. They have been effective as Hugin is only down only by a few points in a largely Democratic state. His latest ad says Menendez is possibly also a pedophile. Still think Menendez will win but not by much.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x412sfTmQuc

    Reply
  11. Rojo

    The Centrist Paradox is interesting. And it rings true. One thing I notice from Center-Left Dems and Center-Right Republicans is that they are contemptuous of the populi.

    Reply
  12. Geo

    RE: The Centrist Paradox….

    I similar finding came from a psychologist imprisoned in Nazi concentration camps:

    The non-political middle-class prisoners were a small minority among the prisoners. They were least able to withstand the initial shock. They found themselves utterly unable to comprehend what happened to them. In their behaviour became apparent the dilemma of the politically uneducated German middle classes when confronted with the phenomenon of National Socialism. They had no consistent philosophy which would protect their integrity as human beings. They had obeyed the law handed down by the ruling classes without questioning its wisdom. And now the law-enforcing agencies turned against them, who always had been their staunchest supporters. They could not question the wisdom of law and police. Therefore what was wrong was that they were made objects of a persecution which in itself must be right, since it was carried out by the authorities. Thus they were convinced that it must be a “mistake.”
    These prisoners resented most to he treated “like ordinary criminals.” After some time they could not help realising their actual situation. Then they disintegrated. Suicides were practically confined to this group. Later on, they were the ones who behaved in an antisocial way; they cheated their fellow prisoners; a few turned spies. They lost their middle-class sense of propriety and their self-respect; they became shiftless and disintegrated as autonomous persons.

    Members of the upper classes segregated themselves as much as possible. They seemed unable to accept what was happening to them. They expressed their conviction that they would be released within the shortest time because of their importance. This conviction was absent among the middle-class prisoners. Upper-class prisoners remained aloof even from the upper classes. They looked down on all other prisoners nearly as much as they despised the Gestapo. In order to endure life in the camp they developed such a feeling of superiority that nothing could touch them.

    http://www.brown.uk.com/brownlibrary/BET.htm

    The whole piece is worth reading.

    Reply
    1. anon y'mouse

      the quote
      “After some time they could not help realising their actual situation. Then they disintegrated. Suicides were practically confined to this group. Later on, they were the ones who behaved in an antisocial way; they cheated their fellow prisoners; a few turned spies. They lost their middle-class sense of propriety and their self-respect; they became shiftless and disintegrated as autonomous persons.”
      reminds me of what has happened repeatedly to the lower classes in this country. in the ghettos. with the crack and now “opiods” addictions. people see personal failings, and i see societal evil coming to bear on a group of peple. they are the scapegoats. not too many humans can stand intact in front of this kind of assault.

      Reply
  13. Geo

    “Vermont hits record 92.5 percent voter registration ahead of election”

    But he’s not even a Democrat!?! (Because he believes in democracy)

    Reply
  14. ewmayer

    Re. 18 days until election day and Trump pulling a turnout-rabbit out of his hat — OK, here’s a possible scenario, based on the “Mueller Ready to Deliver Key Findings in His Trump Probe, Sources Say” link over in today’s Links: Mueller releases a bunch of RussiaRussiaRussia stuff he figures will be damaging to Trump/GOP in the midterms. Trump pulls a classic political jiu-jitsu move – not dissimilar from the way he used l’affaire Kavanaugh – to fire up the base. “If you want to keep this political witch hunt from overturning your election 2016 votes, get out and vote!” Something like that.

    Reply
    1. Geo

      Agreed. Dems keep looking for magical fixes like demographics, scandals, and “return to normal” for their strategies so they don’t have to talk about actual policies.

      Reply
    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      The thing about jiu-jutsu, judo or aikido is that the more you practice, the more proficient you become (also true in general – not sure about eating junk food…you don’t get better eating more often there).

      So, the D’s here are really improving Trump.

      Reply
  15. ambrit

    Something for the Zeitgeist Watch.
    Our area has a ‘shopper’ mini-paper that gets delivered every Wednesday with the mail. A big part of the ‘product’ are the sales sheets from the local businesses. We’re now poor enough to peruse these sheets for ‘real’ bargains.
    This week’s Fred’s sales sheet has a very telling self promotion banner ad at the bottom of the first page. It promotes “Fred’s Rewards Club.” The graphics are reminiscent of the old line Mario Brothers or Legend of Zelda animation styles. Well laid out design. The “Fred’s Rewards Club” fills the left third of the banner. The middle third explains the scheme. “$5 off of every $50 you spend!” Pre-enroll at local store or online. The right third of the banner has a graphic of two human figures flanking a piggy bank, preparing to put big oversized gold coins in the bank. The figure on the left is a representation of a younger male ‘Person of Colour.’ He has light brown skin, wavy black hair, and a smile. He holds two coins to his chest with one hand and prepares to insert a third coin in the pink piggy bank. On the right is a representation of a female ‘geezer.’ She is shorter than the male, has close coiffed grey hair, wears large glasses, also holds two coins to her chest while preparing to insert a third coin into the bank. She is smiling too.
    A more direct representation of the target demographics of the ‘Dollar Store’ industry I cannot think of.
    Be ye of good cheer.

    Reply
      1. ambrit

        LOL squared!
        We’re finding now that places like Fred’s, Winn Dixie and the smaller local emporia are beating WalMart on price for many items. The big marquee ‘Sales Prices’ are for items the average family not only doesn’t need, but no longer can afford, when they think logically about budgeting available resources. Basics however have become somewhat of a ‘Price War’ category.
        On the ‘Deplorable Economics’ front; there is now a major competitor to the ‘Chicken Palace’ in town in the salvage merchandise category. It is called ‘Ollies,’ and is corny, packed full of ‘remaindered’ goods, and has the same deceptive price structure as the old Palace. It too is part of a chain. The store set up in the location that previously housed the ‘Toys R Us.’ This trend is an indicator that the poor Canary down the coal mine has expired. Not just taking a rest, but defunct.

        Reply
  16. Geo

    This one?
    https://goo.gl/images/v1LSeN

    Really does say a lot doesn’t it? Kinda like driving through the Midwest and east coast seeing large box stores with the name “Pawn America” on them.

    Yesterday I saw a banner for one of those pay-as-you-go mobile phone companies offering an Amazon Prime service for their phone plans.

    “I sold my soul to the company store”

    Reply
    1. ambrit

      Yep, just rearranged into a narrow banner ad format. The degree of synergy in corporate endeavours is breathtaking. I did ‘like’ how the ‘cartoon’ people were designed to evoke memories of playing popular video games in the ‘long ago.’ Those coins look just like the tokens one would accrue while running the mazes in Mario Brothers. Around here we have Title Pawn stores abounding.
      It’s getting to where the “Company Store” is the only game in town.
      Linked to this phenomenon is the fact that burglaries are on the rise in this town.

      Reply
  17. Unna

    Here’s a good example of drug money finding it’s way into the private Girl Guide cookie business!

    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/edmonton/girl-guide-cookies-cannabis-lineup-1.4868520

    **As Edmontonians lined up to buy legal cannabis from retail stores on Wednesday, Elina Childs saw a business opportunity.

    The nine-year-old Girl Guide and her father showed up at Nova Cannabis just south of Whyte Avenue, pulling a wagon filled with top-shelf munchies: sandwich cookies and mint thins.

    She sold all 30 boxes in less than 45 minutes, earning $120 for Girl Guides.

    “It amazed me how quickly they went,”…..**

    Reply
  18. audrey jr

    My millennial son just “won” something from Microsoft. He opened the box and there sat a “Cortana” home invader spy system given to him for free.
    He has already put it up for sale on Craigslist: $75.00.
    I am sooo proud. He never plugged it in and he’s gonna monetize it. I raised him well.
    On the books front, my books are the only material possessions that I care about. Have about 500 of them, mostly hardcover, some with original dust-jackets, even. First editions, here and there, and most inherited through three generations.
    We take reading books real seriously round here.

    Reply
    1. Fiery Hunt

      Former book dealer, current book junkie here…

      Books, in hardback, are my only prize possessions. Been collecting since I was a kid starting with the Hardy Boys. Can’t imagine a kindle.

      Reply
  19. Unna

    Two more cents from me on this Warren thing. It’s time to shift from questions about whether what she did was “appropriate” or “hurtful” to Native Peoples, or “harmful” to affirmative action programs – which it was – and so on. All these issues are legitimate.

    But more importantly for being president, what she did was stupid:

    First, from the time she first began to hold herself out as some kind of Cherokee, she left herself open to attack by whatever enemies (professional-political) she might at some point have in the future. It was a vulnerability she inflicted on herself for really no good reason.

    Second, she allowed herself to be baited by the likes of Donald Trump, a master at this, with the Pocahontas taunt. He successfully emotionally and politically rattled her and she was sufficiently conventionally unimaginative enough to be unable put it to rest.

    Third, she made by now the almost universally acknowledged stupid move of getting the DNA test which enraged the Cherokees. She was so “Cherokee” she had no idea they would take it like this? Or was she just so imperious and self absorbed it never occurred to her to ask? And she only managed to hold herself up to a level of public opprobrium that she ruined any chance she might have had of running for president.

    How does a person like this deal with the likes of Putin (The in the Room Alone with Putin Test), or worse, President Xi, or some highly skilled cut throat operator like Erdogon, or even a relatively unskilled cut throat operator like MbS? Since she has no foreign policy interests of skills, and seems to behave like a kitten who was never taught by its mother how to hunt, she’d likely fall into the tender mercies of the deep state and we’d have a recapitulation of Obama deep state capture all over again.

    In my opinion, Sen. Warren, who, I am glad, is in the senate, should not be president.

    Reply
    1. Late Introvert

      Agree that this was self-inflicted, and damaging. Even worse it hands another win to the bully.

      Senator Warren is effective and should continue in that role.

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        I have no problem with Warren as a legislator or a department head in a Sanders administration (ha). But I don’t think she’s up to running a Presidential campaign. I mean, this little episode isn’t even spring training and it’s turned into an enormous and self-inflicted clusterf*ck.

        That means she probably will run, will fail, but do enough damage to the left that a centrist slips in (I’m picturing a brokered convention where the Superdelegates make the decision on the second ballot, because that’s the ugliest and most horried scenario.)

        Reply
  20. marku52

    I hate to say Trump is doing things I approve of. Things the Dems would never, ever do. Like fixing the postage thing. That’s pissed me off forever, in my small business, it costs me at least $15 to ship anything less than 15oz to even Canada. But you can order ebay stuff all day long from China/HK for free, or maybe a dollar shipping.

    And contrary to Obama, he did renegotiate NAFTA, and perhaps improved it. He killed the TPP, contra HRC who was only “against it to get labor off my back. I’ll change my position when I’m elected.”

    And he is pressing China hard on unfair trade practices. When I was a design engineer at HP, and our manyfacturing went to Asia, we were told to stop focusing on automation, and design for automation. Our new assumption (and I am not making this up) was to simply assume that labor was FREE.

    I kid you not. FREE. There is something wrong, wrong wrong, with “Labor is Free”.

    Reply
  21. Stillfeelinthebern

    https://projects.propublica.org/miseducation/

    Amazing interactive database on racial disparities in educational opportunities and dicipline in American public schools. Couldn’t stop looking last night.

    From N Hannah Jones. Short video on sending her privileged daughter to school with not so priviledged kids. I have great admiration for her writing and conviction.
    https://twitter.com/NYCLU/status/1052715678942339073?s=19

    One lasting burn from the Clintons was their sending their kid to an exclusive private school. Still respect the Carters greatly for having Amy go to public school.

    Speaking of the Cs. Tarana Burke gives a beautiful call out of the Big Dog. I’m so glad she did this. These two women lifted my crappy day.

    https://youtu.be/byNsbNHbPVY

    Reply
    1. Eclair

      Whoa! I clicked on the Tarana Burke link and thought it was a powerful and reasonable take on the situation. Yes, it was an abuse of power. Should Clinton have been impeached for it? Probably not, given that ‘every body does it.’ HRC, should just acknowledge this and move on … and maybe help redress the imbalance of power in subsequent similar situations.

      But, then, I looked at the comments! Good grief! Comment after comment saying Lewinsky was an adult, she could have walked away at any time, etc., etc.

      Do people really not comprehend what ‘power’ is? What it allows the powerful to do? How it messes up the lives of the non-powerful? (Or maybe the comments were all from a pro-Clinton troll farm.)

      Reply

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