2:00PM Water Cooler 10/19/2018

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

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Trade

“Delta A220 introduction breaks with sworn statements” [FlightGlobal]. “Delta Air Lines is preparing to introduce its first Airbus A220-100 in January, a year after a US trade commission ruled that the aircraft did not compete with Boeing’s 737 line… Atlanta-based Delta is preparing to take delivery of its first A220 in the coming weeks….Both the delivery and initial service plan, however, differ from Bombardier and Delta’s sworn testimony to the ITC in 2017…. Neither Bombardier nor Delta have held to their statements to the commission… Statements to the ITC are made under oath making false testimony a potential criminal offense. However, few such cases are pursued as the commission must refer them to the US Department of Justice to investigate before any charges can be brought. ‘From a practical perspective, there’s not the means to chase these things,’ a lawyer active in ITC cases tells FlightGlobal.”

“American Steel Downgraded As Trade War Escalates” [Safe Haven]. “Any investors in the American steel industry who were celebrating Trump’s tariffs jumped the gun a bit. If you follow this scenario through to its logical conclusion, there’s no happy ending—only the threat of oversupply. That threat led Deutsche Bank to downgrade U.S. Steel earlier this month to ‘Hold’ from ‘Buy’, slicing its price target from $47 to $35. And then Monday, Credit Suisse followed suit, saying it expected steel prices to fall due to oversupply thanks to tariffs on Chinese imports…. Domestic steel production has already hit a four-year high, and new capacity is slated to come on line, while prices continue to slide, Woodworth noted.”

“Uncertainty surrounds fine print of new, trilateral North American free trade deal” [Logistics Management]. “The USMCA is still far from a done deal. All three countries must sign the deal, and their legislatures must ratify it. If Democrats retake the House or the Senate in the midterm elections, the treaty would require bipartisan approval, which is hardly a given considering the House and or Senate could flip Democratic next month.”

Politics

2020

“Clinton aide: Chances ‘highly unlikely’ but ‘not zero’ Hillary will run for president again” [The Hill]. “Philippe Reines, who served as a senior adviser to Clinton at the State Department…. thinks it is ‘unlikely’ that Clinton would mount a 2020 bid, but cautioned that it was not an impossibility. ‘It’s somewhere between highly unlikely and zero,” he tells in the interview, ‘but it’s not zero.’ Reines goes on to argue that Clinton remains a viable 2020 candidate due to her support base, pointing to the tens of millions of people who voted for her in the 2016 presidential election. Her support, he argues, remains higher than other potential Democratic contenders including Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)” • Kill it with fire. But see below on Indivisible….

“Booker stirs South Carolina Democrats in pre-midterm debut” [Associated Press]. “Cory Booker had hundreds of Democratic activists nodding, applauding and eventually roaring — complete with a sermon-style call-and-response — as he entertained the Orangeburg County party barbecue to put the exclamation point on his first day in South Carolina as a potential presidential contender….. [W]hether Democrats nominate Booker or someone else, South Carolina will be key. It’s the first state, and the only one of the first four to cast primary or caucus ballots, to feature a significant number of black voters. South Carolina went heavily for Obama in 2008 and for Hillary Clinton in 2016, previewing Southern sweeps that propelled each to the nomination.”

Not bad turnout for a non-Presidential year:

“Cuomo pushes Trump for Gateway funding with Hudson River tunnels tour” [AM New York]. “Cuomo wants Trump to make good on the deal to pay half the Gateway cost. Why does Cuomo believe that a video would convince the president? Cuomo’s an optimist, he says. ‘I’m an eternal optimist; I have to be,’ Cuomo said. ‘I’m governor of New York.’* The US DOT said in a statement that the [Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)] for the tunnel replacement project is progressing, but didn’t seem to be any closer to accepting split funding responsibilities. ‘There is no ‘50/50′ agreement between USDOT, New York, and New Jersey and the respective project sponsors,’ the agency said in a statement. ‘We consider it unhelpful to reference a non-existent ‘agreement’ rather than directly address the responsibility for funding a local project where 9 out of 10 passengers are local transit riders. Additionally, it is important to note that a 50 percent contribution would be considerably higher than existing precedent for past ‘mega projects.'” • It’s amazing to travel to Asia and see enormous public works projects. And The Greatest Country On Earth™ can’t replace a tunnel that it knows is going to fail, and that its ruling elite rides through every day on the train. What do they think will replace the train? Scooters?

2018

17 days until Election Day. 17 days is a long time in politics. And remember that October is the month of surprises!

“8 Female Veterans and Federal Agents Appear Together in a Powerful New Campaign Video” [Cosmopolitan]. • How excellent. (Note by “Federal Agents” is meant Federal CIA agents Spanberger and Slotkin. The future is female war criminals, apparently; as Gina Haspel, who tortured her way through the glass celing at CIA, shows.

“For a Change, Democrats Seem Set to Equal or Exceed Republicans in Turnout” [New York Times]. “A wide range of evidence indicates that Democratic voters are poised to vote in numbers unseen in a midterm election in at least a decade. Democrats have largely erased the turnout deficit that hobbled them during the Obama presidency, according to results from more than 50 New York Times Upshot/Siena College polls of the most competitive House battleground districts. Democrats may even be poised to post higher turnout than Republicans, a rarity, in many relatively white suburban districts on Nov. 6. But it’s not clear if this blue turnout surge will extend much further, particularly among young and nonwhite voters. Whether Democrats turn out broadly could make the difference between a fairly close fight for control of the House and sweeping Democratic gains of 40 or more seats.” • Well, I’m sure two years’ solid focus on Putin with a sudden pivot to MBS will bring those voters out. More: “Democrats have not enjoyed a particularly strong turnout among young and nonwhite voters in most of the special and general elections since Donald J. Trump won the presidency…. Democratic enthusiasm among white college-educated voters has helped the party pull ahead in several predominantly white well-educated suburban districts where Hillary Clinton won in 2016.” • Thomas Frank keeps being right. Never change, Democrats! Never change.

“A Shift in GOP Fortunes” [Cook Political Report]. “Not long ago, the most likely outcome for the Senate was either no net change at all, or a shift of one seat, so the Senate would remain under GOP control, with the majority holding 50-52 seats. Today, a Republican net gain of a seat or two seems most likely, moving the GOP up to either 52 or 53 seats, though a gain of three seats or no net change are entirely possible…. In the House, Democrats remain heavily favored to capture a majority; the change is that their chances of blowing the House wide open with a gain of 40-50 seats or more have diminished. In the suburban-oriented districts where most of the competitive House races are, things remain extremely challenging for Republicans. A large gender gap driven by suburban, college-educated, and younger women remains a very strong dynamic. But the more rural- and small-town-oriented districts—those with substantial numbers of Republicans, conservatives, and Trump backers—are now fully awake and engaged, moving some of those districts back away from the edge of competitiveness…. Today, Democrats seem more in line to score a net gain of between 20 and 40 seats. Democrats need a pickup of 23 seats, so a continued Republican majority is possible, just fairly unlikely.” • After an enormous deluge of third quarter cash!

CA Legislature: “Democratic Socialist Jovanka Beckles Could Upset Buffy ‘the Bernie Slayer’ Wicks in CA” [In These Times]. • Good profile, but no polling data at all. Buffy Wicks (in a must-read from Down with Tyranny), however, is awful.

UPDATE CA Legislature: “Meet the Pro-Kavanaugh Republican Running the Newest Buffy Wicks PAC” [East Bay DSA]. Voters in AD15 received a deluge of political mailers this week, so one in particular probably didn’t stick out. It’s a glossy sheet 8.5″ x 11″ sheet with a huge picture of a frothing Donald Trump and a small picture of a smiling Buffy Wicks. The cover says, ‘With the Right Leaders, CA CAN DO A LOT TO STOP DONALD TRUMP.’ You can’t tell from looking at it, but this mailer, suggesting that Buffy can protect us from Trump, was conceived in an elite Republican law firm in Sacramento and paid for by an unholy alliance of right-wing billionaires, anti-public education crusaders, and big healthcare PACs. The whole process was overseen by Ashlee Titus, president of the Sacramento Federalist Society, who recently signed a letter in support of accused sexual predator Brett Kavanaugh.” • Holy moley, that’s good oppo. They don’t mess around over there!

CA Senate: “Feinstein and de León debate in lopsided forum” [CalMatters]. “The divergent approaches to the ‘conversation,’ as it was billed, were in part a result of the format. Rather than the response/counter-response structure of more traditional campaign debates, this was a mediated discussion between the two candidates. This made for a fairly staid and largely amicable hour of policy discussion. That certainly favors Feinstein, who leads in the polls and name recognition.” • Funny how “conversations” work.

GA: “Claims of Dirty Politics Fly in Georgia As Election Grows Closer” [Courthouse News]. ” Secretary of State and current GOP candidate for governor Brian Kemp,… who has refused to step down from his position as Georgia’s top election official during his campaign for governor, is in a neck-and-neck race against Democrat Stacey Abrams. A new poll released Wednesday showed Kemp one point ahead of Abrams. With Kemp on the campaign trail, multiple lawsuits a day have been filed in Atlanta federal court bringing various allegations of voter suppression against his office.” • Not only would I fail an exact match test for a ballot, I’d fail a signature match test: I consciously revised my handwriting to be able to use an Apple Pencil on my iPad — important part of my workflow, another topic — and after I did that my signature changed.

2016 Post Mortem

I get mail:

Nice to have Indivisible’s role cleared up. At least at the national level, it’s Clintonism, rebranded.

Liberal Democrats Have Lost Their Minds

Words fail me:

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Democratic Consulting Firm Teams Up With Hospital Industry to Battle Nurses Union” [The Intercept]. “DEWEY SQUARE GROUP, a prominent political consulting firm that often works with Democratic candidates, liberal groups, and labor unions, is leading the opposition campaign. Consultants from the firm have been paid over $800,000 since April for their efforts, according to state campaign finance data.” • Because of course they are. Liberal Democrats hate working class people, and unions.

“Philly is ground zero in the Trump administration’s war on sanctuary cities” [Philadelphia Inquirer]. “But the Inquirer and ProPublica found that the city’s resistance to ICE’s agenda comes with some surprising caveats: On two dozen occasions, police, probation officers, and even one of Kenney’s top deputies have quietly provided tips to ICE about undocumented immigrants who were charged with crimes. Other forms of information-sharing still continue, which shows that even the most extreme of sanctuary cities eventually bend to comply with a federal law that says local governments cannot restrict sharing immigration status with ICE.”

“All of the Above? The Ancient Voting Method One City Might Adopt” [Governing]. “Next month, Fargo voters will decide whether to adopt a ballot measure that would create a system known as “approval voting” for local elections. The idea is simple: Everybody can vote for as many candidates as they’d like. If there are four candidates for the city commission, you could choose to vote for one of them, or for two, or for the whole lot. Unlike the other multiple-choice method known as ranked-choice voting, which is gaining favor in some places, each vote would count the same. The person with the highest total would win.”

Stats Watch

Existing Home Sales, September 2018: “Housing demand is flat at the very best with demand for resales clearly going into reverse” [Econintersect]. “Rising mortgage rates, now over 5 percent for 30-year fixed loans, are not helping the housing market, though the enormous strength of the labor market and the stock market along with very strong consumer confidence should all be positives for home sales. The lack of wage gains, however, is a negative for home buyers not to mention a great mystery of the 2018 economy given the increasing scarcity of available labor. And another great mystery of this year’s economy is the lack of interest in home ownership.” And: “The rolling averages have been slowing since the beginning of 2017. This month the rolling averages have slipped deeper into contraction. Housing inventory is historically low for Septembers – and if you do not have enough houses for sale – then that means home sales cannot improve. Combine this with higher mortgage rates – and home sales are declining” [Econintersect]. And: “This is a small YoY decline in sales to-date – it is likely that higher mortgage rates are impacting sales, and it is possible there has been an impact from the changes to the tax law (eliminating property taxes write-off, etc)” [Calculated Risk].

Retail: “Sears’s Edward Lampert Was a Wizard. Now He’s Coming to Terms With Failure.” [New York Times]. “Thanks to his early successes, Mr. Lampert is still very, very rich; his fortune today is estimated at $1.1 billion, according to the latest Forbes survey. He will likely emerge from the Sears collapse with many more assets than most people realize. He owns lavish homes in Greenwich, Conn., and Indian Creek, Fla., just off Miami Beach. But he no longer makes the cut for Forbes’s 400 richest Americans. His net worth has plunged by $3 billion since peaking at $4.5 billion in 2007, the magazine estimates. At Sears, all of his compensation was in stock. He never sold a share. The stock is now all but worthless.” •˜Could be. But with all the self-dealing Lampert had going on, it makes you wonder if Sears was some kinda laundry. Speculating freely, of course.

Retail: “Walmart gains patent to eavesdrop on shoppers and employees in stores” [CNN].

Shipping: “UPS to hire 40K employees in one day” [Supply Chain Dive]. Interesting anecdote: “Tales of “ghosting” haunt recruiters and a recent survey revealed that candidates believe the practice is acceptable, with 40% saying it’s perfectly fine to accept an offer then vanish. For recruiters, that may mean overstaffing to compensate for some hires that won’t report on day one.” • Why would not people find this “pefectly fine,” given the givens?

Apparel: “Your Clothes Could Be Made in the USA Again” [Bloomberg]. “[A]s lead times gain importance, shortening them compensates for some of the labor cost disadvantage by increasing the share of clothes sold at the full price. Raising it by 6.1 percent for a garment that takes 60 minutes to produce would justify the transfer of production from China to the U.S., McKinsey calculated…. Eighty-two percent of the sourcing managers surveyed by McKinsey say the production of simple garments will be fully automated by 2025. If they’re right, production is coming back — but the jobs aren’t. And China isn’t likely to fritter away its current advantage even as it becomes more expensive: Chinese garment companies are building factories in cheap labor countries closer to Europe such as Ethiopia. With these caveats, it’s likely that the buyers of mass market clothes, not just expensive designer threads, will be dressing in garments from geographically closer countries soon.”

The Bezzle: “Tearing Apart Teslas to Find Elon Musk’s Best and Worst Decision” [Bloomberg]. “The trick now is turning this established technological advantage [in software and electronics] into consistent profits—and to do that Musk needs to hire executives with experience in the nuts and bolts of carmaking. If he does, Munro said, “he’s not far away from making money.” See, if you’re going into the automobile manufacturing business, you’ve got to be able to manufacture automobiles at a profit. Interesting article.

Mr. Market: “Dow up triple digits as stock market marks anniversary of 1987’s ‘Black Monday’ crash” [MarketWatch]. “U.S. stocks traded higher Friday, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average up more than a 100 points, as a rebound in China’s main equity benchmarks assuaged dread about waning global growth, even as Beijing reported the worst rate of economic expansion since 2009…. China’s central bank governor and banking and securities regulators said recent volatility in Chinese stocks didn’t reflect the nation’s economic fundamentals and a ‘stable financial system.'” • Rational actors, every one.

Health Care

“Uwe Reinhardt, 80, Dies; a Listened-to Voice on Health Care Policy” [New York Times]. Of sepsis. “In 2015, the Republic of China awarded Professor Reinhardt its Presidential Prize for having devised Taiwan’s single-payer National Health Insurance program. The system now provides virtually the entire population with common benefits and costs 6.6 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product (about one-third the share that the United States spends).” • Of course, Taiwan is a First World country, and we’re a Third World country, so we can’t afford a program like that.

The 420

I went straight on to Nancy Drew from the Hardy Boys. How right I was:

Gaia

“First Evidence of Sleep in Flight” [Nautilus]. “For the first time, researchers have discovered that birds can sleep in flight. Together with an international team of colleagues, Niels Rattenborg from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology in Seewiesen measured the brain activity of frigatebirds and found that they sleep in flight with either one cerebral hemisphere at a time or both hemispheres simultaneously…. By carefully examining the movements of the frigatebirds, the researchers discovered clues to why they sleep unihemispherically in flight. When the birds circled on rising air currents the hemisphere connected to the eye facing the direction of the turn was typically awake while the other was asleep, suggesting that the birds were watching where they were going.” • I wonder if the waking hemisphere can access dreams in the sleeping hemisphere… Assuming birds dream.

Water

“In the Heart of the Corn Belt, an Uphill Battle for Clean Water” [Yale Environment 360]. “‘Health trumps politics,’ said Iowa State Senator David Johnson before taking the stage at a raucous rally in Des Moines last winter to support strengthening the state’s water quality. In the marble rotunda of the state capitol, he rose to denounce the nitrogen and phosphates that have been flowing in ever-increasing quantities into Iowa’s public water supplies — and was cheered by the small crowd of family farmers, concerned mothers, and his new political allies, the legislature’s drastically outnumbered Democrats. Johnson had been one of the longest-serving Republicans in Iowa until he left the party to become an independent in 2016 after defying it repeatedly on one of the most divisive issues in Iowa — the integrity of the state’s water.”

Class Warfare

“Updated: Teamster Brass Overrule Member ‘No’ Vote at UPS” [Labor Notes (updated version)]. “Exploiting a constitutional loophole, Teamsters brass have declared that the controversial tentative agreement covering 243,000 workers at the package giant UPS is ratified, despite members voting it down by 54 percent. Package Division Director Denis Taylor weirdly claimed that he planned to keep negotiating to improve the deal—but also that members wouldn’t get a chance to vote on any further changes. Local 413 driver Nick Perry, one of several rank-and-file observers who attended the vote count, engaged Taylor in a “spirited debate” about this doublespeak moments after the news broke.” • Always important to attend to vote count. More: “Hoffa himself has been quiet, letting Taylor take the fall. Days after the vote count he and top staffers jetted off on a 10-day trip to a conference in Singapore.” • Ouch!

Francis Fukuyama interview: “Socialism ought to come back” [New Statesman]. Fukuyama conflates socialism and social democracy. More: “Fukuyama added, to my surprise: ‘At this juncture, it seems to me that certain things Karl Marx said are turning out to be true. He talked about the crisis of overproduction… that workers would be impoverished and there would be insufficient demand.’ Yet the only plausible systemic rival to liberal democracy, Fukuyama said, was not socialism but China’s state capitalist model. ‘The Chinese are arguing openly that it is a superior one because they can guarantee stability and economic growth over the long run in a way that democracy can’t… if in another 30 years, they’re bigger than the US, Chinese people are richer and the country is still holding together, I would say they’ve got a real argument.’ But he cautioned that ‘the real test of the regime’ would be how it fared in an economic crisis.”

“”As if the Last 30 Years Never Happened”: Towards a New Law and Economics, Part 1″ [Law and Political Economy]. • A really good piece; this paragraph jumped out: “[W]e ask that ‘economics’ as a whole not be conflated with the 1970s University of Chicago economics department – any more than legal scholarship as a whole should be conflated with the University of Chicago Law School faculty during that era.”

“Too socialist for the suffragettes: the left’s forgotten women” [New Statesman]. “For those unfamiliar with the period, it will be eye-opening to learn how heroines of women’s suffrage – such as Emmeline and Christabel Pankhurst – reacted with fury to the insistence of their socialist colleagues on campaigning for universal suffrage no matter a man or woman’s wealth or status, rather than the less threatening and more achievable goal of enfranchising older, propertied women alone.” • Sounds eerily familiar….

News of the Wired

“How the Finnish survive without small talk” [BBC]. A whole country like the quiet car. Sounds ideal!

No:

“Kickstarting the Makerphone: an open-source hardware phone kit, programmable with python and Scratch” [Boing Boing]. “$94 gets you a kit and the tools to assemble it; $99 gets you an assembled phone. The project’s runners have previously delivered on kickstarted open source hardware kits, which bodes well for getting something for your money. The Makerphone is a pretty sweet-looking gadget, and it comes ready to be programmed with Scratch and python, providing a good progression from a fully graphic programming environment to a command-line language that’s still beginner-friendly.” • Hot diggity. This could solve some problems…

* * *

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 (WB):

WB writes: “First frost.” Gorgeous!

And a bonus plant from Iowa politics blogger Bleeding Heartland:

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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.

138 comments

  1. Carolinian

    Neocons stick to their principles.

    –Muslims are bad
    –Russia is bad
    –Assad is bad
    –Iran is very bad
    –we’re an Empire now
    –making your own reality is good
    –might makes right

    I may have left off a few.

    Reply
    1. Alex morfesis

      Tovarich is confused…term “neo-con”
      is so amerikanski…better to use proper Russian descrpitive…

      Neo-Lysenkoism….

      Reply
  2. Roger Smith

    Re: Krugman

    And many people like Paul Krugman have revealed their moral emptiness under Trump as well. He himself is lost in the hysterics and on more occasions than one in the last two years has written off swathes of people of as neanderthals. I’d like to offer this and an example in the discussion of the question posed by Yves post on why we can’t address climate change. Whatever real problems we have are almost infinitely buried under the scum of the “fake-reality” that has been constructed on top. Upper echelon forces are driven by this nonsense, Krugman’s career, the Kardashians and their advertisers and cable networks, politicians who use drama to maintain their power and influence, etc… The more true nature of reality needs to be rediscovered and implemented in our social structure before we can solve its problems.

    Reply
    1. Carey

      “…Whatever real problems we have are almost infinitely buried under the scum of the “fake-reality” that has been constructed on top. Upper echelon forces are driven by this nonsense, Krugman’s career, the Kardashians and their advertisers and cable networks, politicians who use drama to maintain their power and influence, etc… The more true nature of reality needs to be rediscovered and implemented in our social structure before we can solve its problems.”

      ___

      Thanks for this fine comment.

      Reply
    2. Donald

      In 2016 Krugman brushed off Clinton’s support of the Iraq War when he was Clintonsplaining to his readers why Bernie couldn’t be trusted. So this is nothing new for Krugman.

      Reply
      1. Another Scott

        Being anti-Bernie was a real coming home moment for the few liberals who opposed the Iraq War (Krugman was one). It really showed to me that presenting them as leading voices for progressives/leftists was misguided. Their views are far closer to Romney and Ryan than to Sanders.

        Reply
        1. WheresOurTeddy

          Bernie Sanders is a perfectly normal 1950s New Deal Democrat. It’s not his fault the Overton Window has been dragged to the right for 60 years, and especially the last 40.

          Krugman always reminds me of that old Pearl Jam lyric from 2003’s “Bushleaguer”:

          “and the aristocrat choir sings
          what’s the ruckus?”

          Reply
    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Not so. My issue was only ISDS, because I never had any expectation that renegotiating NAFTA would improve lives for workers on either side of the border. ISDS was gutted. That’s a win, no matter how partial, and no matter who produced it.

      We can’t get to a place where government is provisioning universal concrete material benefits if corporations can sue in international tribunals and get those programs stopped. So it was important to claw back our national sovereignty from the ISDS system. Now we have, at least with NAFTA (rebranded), TPP (dead) and TTiP (dormant).

      Reply
      1. wilroncanada

        Lambert, re ISDS suits under NAFTA.

        ISDS has been a wet dream for US companies, versus its NAFTA so-called partners. From a 2015 article: of 77 suits up to that time under ISDS, Canada has been sued 35 times, Mexico 22 times, and the US 20. Canada has paid out to US companies over $200 million in “damages” with more than $6 billion more under claims. The US has “won” 11 decisions, while paying out nothing under ISDS to either Canada or Mexico in damages. Most of the claims paid so far have been from challenges to Canada’s environmental protection laws.
        I guess the new “Son of a NAFTA” will further colonize Canada and Mexico, forcing us to live by only US laws and regulations, as the negotiation over dairy seems to indicate. Power to the Powerful, indeed.

        Reply
    1. Lee

      If they block out people yapping on their cell phones, they can’t be all bad. Also, they could serve as a way to make kids pay attention in class—an alternative to Ritalin perhaps. Given the number of people walking around and even driving wearing ear buds and staring at their phone screens, maybe the blinkers would enhance public safety.

      Reply
      1. Hepativore

        Just wait until many companies become infatuated with them and start pushing them at the office or in the work environment. I bet Amazon would jump at the chance to make its warehouse workers wear these.

        If this takes off, it might even become part of the dress code required of its workers by management. Even if they actually hinder productivity, it might be seen as a way to let the serfs know where they stand in terms of the hierarchy of the workplace.

        Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          They still look like upgraded horse blinkers like used in the old days. Sitting at a desk using one? Maybe. Outside walking along streets and maybe crossing then? Not so much.

          Reply
    2. WheresOurTeddy

      hoisted from comments on original article for horse, er, I mean human blinders:

      “counterpoint to buying these:

      maybe have the mental discipline to focus on the task that is most important? if someone wore one of these at my office I’d assume they are mentally weak child.”

      Reply
  3. Unna

    Instead of red-baiting Bernie, let me try right-baiting Bernie for once. So here are a few specific questions for Bernie. I’m not interested in politically correct answers, just some specific answers.

    Dear Bernie:

    1. Are you prepared to recognize Russian sovereignty over Crimea either outright or through a UN or Carter Foundation type supervised referendum? If not, what concrete steps are you willing to take, including naval blockade or war, to return Crimea to Ukraine? What concrete steps will you take to end the simmering war in Eastern Ukraine, or alternatively, end the existence of the separatist entities? To what extent do you see military force, aid, or intervention playing a role in either?

    2. In Syria, are you willing to pull out all US troops and end American involvement there? If not, what level of military involvement do you support in Syria, for how long, and with what specific objectives? Do the Syrian people have the sole right to choose their head of state, including Assad?

    3. Do you support or oppose the building of a rail link between North and South Korea? If you oppose a rail link, what concrete steps are you willing to take to prevent a rail link from being built? Are you willing to diplomatically recognize the government of North Korea and sign a peace treaty? Are you willing to pursue not just denuclearization of the peninsula, but demilitarization of it including the withdrawal of US forces?

    4. What are your specific objectives in Afghanistan? For how long are you willing to continue combat operations in that country?

    5. If the government of Iraq asks America to pull out all of its military forces from that country, will you honour that request?

    6. Are you willing to end all economic sanctions against Venezuela?

    7. What more or less specific dollar amount are you willing to spend on defence spending?

    8. What is your position on the continuation of mass surveillance of the American people by government spy agencies? Will you pardon Julian Assange or do you believe he should be extradited and prosecuted?

    9. What specific steps, if any, will you take to end the war in Yemen? What dollar amount, if any, of arms will you sell to Saudi Arabia, apart from which prince rules it?

    10. What is your position on China’s Belt and Road initiative? Do you consider it a threat to American security? If so, what specific steps will you take against it? In what specific operations will you employ Afri-com?

    11. Will you sanction German companies for building Nord Stream 2 & 3? Will you continue to maintain US missiles in Poland? Will you permit an energy corridor to be built from Turkey to Greece through Macedonia (or whatever it calls itself these days) up to Austria?

    Sorry for this imposition, Bernie, but non trusting enquiring minds, which otherwise kinda like you, want to know.

    Reply
    1. nippersdad

      Excellent questions! I would love to see his response to them. Nailing him down on Iran and Israel would be helpful as well.

      As you say: “…non trusting enquiring minds, which otherwise kinda like you, want to know.”

      Reply
    2. Quentin

      He will never, can not every, answer any of these questions in a straightforward way because he is a Hillarybot. Yes, you read that correctly.

      Reply
      1. Geo

        Name one elected official who would answer any of those questions honestly. The only ones I can think of who would do that would offer answers that are the opposite of what any of us would like to hear.

        Reply
        1. paul

          …and that is the secret of success, reduce;institutionally,academically and economically the overton window to an arrow slit.

          Reply
        2. drumllin woodchuckles

          I wonder if a single officeholder or officeseeker even knows about all of those areas and situations in much detail.

          Still, it would be fair to ask Bernie these questions if every other Federal-level officeseeker were asked these questions as well.

          At the very least, if PrezNom wannabe Sanders is to be asked these questions, every PrezNom wannabe should be asked these questions.

          Reply
          1. wilroncanada

            Lambert, re ISDS suits under NAFTA.

            ISDS has been a wet dream for US companies, versus its NAFTA so-called partners. From a 2015 article: of 77 suits up to that time under ISDS, Canada has been sued 35 times, Mexico 22 times, and the US 20. Canada has paid out to US companies over $200 million in “damages” with more than $6 billion more under claims. The US has “won” 11 decisions, while paying out nothing under ISDS to either Canada or Mexico in damages. Most of the claims paid so far have been from challenges to Canada’s environmental protection laws.
            I guess the new “Son of a NAFTA” will further colonize Canada and Mexico, forcing us to live by only US laws and regulations, as the negotiation over dairy seems to indicate. Power to the Powerful, indeed.

            Reply
    3. lambert strether

      This is very good. I bet if Sanders held a foreign policy town hall, he’d find people are far more open to deflating The Blob than he thinks

      Reply
      1. SteveW

        I found this video of Sanders introducing Noam Chomsky at Burlington City Hall when he was Mayor back in the 80’s. I’m sure that at some time in the past he thought people were open to “deflating The Blob”.

        I wonder if he thinks that things have changed and people are less open now.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uiVC6Hmrl9k

        Reply
        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > I wonder if he thinks that things have changed and people are less open now.

          One of the indexes for Trump support is battlefield casualties (higher). So that’s where Sanders should hold his town hall on foreign policy, IMNSHO. Sanders is also insulated from attack as a member of the Veterans Committee (smart move). I think people there are open; it’s why Trump could say (correctly) that Iraq was a debacle and get applauded for it.

          I think Sanders’ concern on this is not the voters but the Beltway, given that The Blob and the intelligence community — you know, #Resistance Heroes of The Republic like Brennan (torturer), Clapper (perjurer), and Mueller (entrapment artist) — are about as vicious and ruthless a cohort as you are likely to find anywhere. 1968 wasn’t only the Summer of Love, after all….

          Reply
          1. Oregoncharles

            The Summer of Love was a year or two before. 1968, the year RFK was assassinated after winning the Dem nomination (literally, in the next few minutes), was just about the opposite. It was also the first year I could vote – 21 in those days. I had a choice between Nixon and Humphrey, so I voted for Pigasus.

            Reply
      2. Elizabeth Burton

        I suspect he’d find people are interested in exactly what he’s been saying for the last four years. I understand that foreign policy matters to most people here, because we understand how it affects everything else. However, right now, what the majority of the voters care about is what’s happening in their own back yards. Trump won by playing on that as Hillary kept talking up those moderate Republican talking points to the 10%. No one with any sense actually believed he’d do anything he said he would, but people are that desperate they were willing to try anything that might make a crack in the wall keeping them from what everyone else seemed to have.

        As for all those questions, I’d be more disturbed if Sanders did have detailed plans for all of those situations, for the simple reason he lacks the kind of deep knowledge that would enable him to do so. He could express his personal opinion on them, and anyone who knows his history could probably guess that. He also knows that’s not what the people he’s appealing to care about right now.

        Reply
        1. Carolinian

          I’d be more disturbed if Sanders did have detailed plans for all of those situations

          Yes.

          I don’t think Sanders would really be an aggressive overseas intervener but his conventional wisdom take on foreign policy problems just adds to the sense of TINA. This sense that the elites are living in a parallel universe applies to many things–perhaps for Sanders just this one thing. FP doesn’t seem to be an area he’s investigated very thoroughly even if lately he does give speeches about it.

          Reply
        2. Jeff W

          I understand that foreign policy matters to most people here, because we understand how it affects everything else.

          I agree but I think, for Bernie, domestic policy affects everything else more. Domestic policy is higher leverage than foreign policy.

          If you have a populace that doesn’t have to worry about medical bills or student loan debt or financial crises leading to home foreclosures, if you have a political system that acts more in the public interest, and if you have a populace that is more engaged and mobilized politically, then you’ve set up a situation where the foreign policy issues are more likely to be addressed in ways we’d like all our “public servants,” not just Bernie, to address. Bernie’s emphasis on domestic issues is, to me, a recognition of that systemic approach.

          Reply
        3. scarn

          However, right now, what the majority of the voters care about is what’s happening in their own back yards.

          Americans certainly care about their own self-interests more than that of nameless people overseas. Part of that self-interest is the well being of ourselves and our families. Much of that well being is tied to healthcare, wages, education and retirement. This country provides a pathway to “improve” those aspects of well-being through service in the armed forces. For some time now, that service has meant that many foreign places become our “own back yards”. It seems to me that there are lots of Americans who are all in on nationalism and who have fought and bled for it but who are long past believing the neocon/neolib line about what happens in the colonies. Trump promised them no new stupid wars and so far he has mostly delivered that. He’s as peaceable an Emperor (at least in action) as we have had in a while. Not sure if the hope of the ones who wanted less wars and who voted for the Tangerine Nero were misplaced, but I guess time will tell.

          I don’t agree that people who thought Trump would do what he said were without sense. He seems to have done quite a lot of what he promised. What he hasn’t done, well, people do have their hopes. Hope doesn’t make a person senseless, just naive.

          A lot of people hope that more social democracy at home will mean less mischief overseas. The future is not the slave to the past, but I don’t remember a past USA being less awful overseas even though it exhibited a lot more social democracy than it does now.

          I’d place a good bet on Sanders being next up for the throne if his health holds. That’s a much better path for all of us than what we are walking today, and I’ll fight for it. But I will also fight for a Sanders who pushes even harder than he does now against the empire he wants to lead.

          Reply
      3. Unna

        Not looking for any particular “correct” answer from Bernie. I’m just trying to be the annoying little kid at the family wedding who asks all the embarrassing questions, until the kid gets hauled off by the parent into the next room to be talked to. I think people are hungering for honest answers from politicians – not just virtue shrouded generalities. Bernie might well be pleasantly surprised at the positive reception he might get.

        Reply
        1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          This assumes that our members of congress know politics, i.e the Rules of the game, People and Plays, and Substance of the debate.

          Im thinking 50% of our Corporate Subsidized Congress Critters know whats going on in the streets n around water coolers.

          Reply
    4. Synoia

      Here’s the answers from the Washington Consensus:
      1.No
      2.No
      3 No, Sanctions, No, No
      4.Silk Road Disruption, Eternity.
      5.No.
      6.No.
      7.It’s a jobs program.
      8.Keep Looking. No, Yes
      9.Look the other way. Any, don’t care.
      10. Darlek Strategy. Yes. Look at out work in it ME terminus lately? As in Iran, Iraq, Syria and Israel. Yes.
      11. Yes. Yes. No.

      Reply
    5. dcrane

      1. Are you prepared to recognize Russian sovereignty over Crimea either outright or through a UN or Carter Foundation type supervised referendum? If not, what concrete steps are you willing to take, including naval blockade or war, to return Crimea to Ukraine?

      The framing of this question bothers me. Why are these the only two options? I would rather we stated that we don’t think Russia’s move on Crimea was just, but also recognize that attempting to force a reversal is probably not in our interests, at least not now and perhaps not ever.

      Reply
      1. jo6pac

        Who do you mean “we”. I have no problem with Russia having control over Crimea and neither do it’s citizens.

        Reply
        1. WheresOurTeddy

          To paraphrase the great Ali

          “ain’t no Ukrainian or Russian ever called me deplorable or white trash”

          the ruling class in America, however…

          Reply
        2. dcrane

          We meaning the US (to whatever extent “we” can agree).

          My complaint is with the implication of the post that the US is faced with only two choices – legitimize the Crimean situation or dedicate the resources of the US toward reversing it. There are far more important problems facing Americans, most of them at home.

          Reply
        3. Big Tap

          Crimea should never of been part of the Ukraine in the first place. That was a decision made by Khrushchev in 1954 to cede Crimea from Russia to the Ukraine. He didn’t think that would matter since Russia and the Ukraine we’re both Soviet and would remain that way. Because the Soviet Union ended and both became separate Nations the issue has reared it head. Most of the population is ethnic Russian.

          Reply
      2. nippersdad

        The people of Crimea had a referendum in which over eighty percent of the voters elected to return to Russia. That the United States and its’ coalition of the bought fail to recognize that doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen.

        That is why it would be nice to hear Bernie express his views on the topic; it would tell us exactly who is in his ear. If it turns out to be Victoria Nuland, that would answer a lot of our questions right there.

        Reply
      3. Lambert Strether Post author

        > Are you prepared to recognize Russian sovereignty over Crimea either outright or through a UN or Carter Foundation type supervised referendum? If not, what concrete steps are you willing to take, including naval blockade or war, to return Crimea to Ukraine?

        I like this list as a list of topics. I’m not sure I like it so much as a list of diplomatic tasks. For example, I think a policy of masterful inactivity on Crimea would yield the same beneficial result without instigating Beltway yammering (and remember, even if Sanders did win the Presidency, liberal Democrat warmongers would still control the high ground of the media and a good chunk of the foreign policy establishment). Another alternative would be to put somebody really, really incompetent on the Crimea Desk….

        Reply
    6. Plenue

      The first two are already settled issues. Russia is never giving up on Crimea. They won’t give up their Black Sea ports, period. That’s the end of it, short of starting WW3 over the issue. I’ve also never seen any evidence that the majority of the population of Crimea isn’t perfectly happy to be back with Russia. It’s a cliche to just dismiss the referendum as fake, but at least there actually was a referendum. Russia’s case for and continued support for Crimea are substantially stronger than what the US did in regards to Kosovo.

      As for Eastern Ukraine, Kiev is never getting that back. Contrary to conventional ‘wisdom’, Russia never committed their regular military to the Donbass. Covert aid, yes, but the bulk of the fighting was done by the Novorossiyans. If the Ukrainian military couldn’t win in 2014 when it was in far better shape, it isn’t going to win in the future either, no matter how many fancy weapons or how much training they give the fanatical skinhead amateurs they now have to rely on as fodder.

      Reply
      1. BobW

        Crimea was Russian since the Turks lost it in 1783 until it was transferred to Ukraine in 1954. I don’t really think there are many Ukrainians there pining for Kiev to take over. When the Russians took it back, I recall telling a co-worker not to look for any “good guys,” there were none. Including the US.

        Reply
      2. The Rev Kev

        Agreed with you Plenue. America is more likely to give Texas back to Mexico than Russia give up Crimea – especially if it meant handing over the people to the tender mercies of who is running the Ukraine these days. Crimea has been part of Russia longer than the United States has been a country.

        Reply
        1. Wukchumni

          America is more likely to give Texas back to Mexico than Russia give up Crimea

          I heard we’re negotiating, and the initial demand is a million cases of ‘Meskin soda made out of real cane sugar, if they’ll take it back.

          Reply
  4. Matthew G. Saroff

    Dropped Krugman from my blog roll a while ago, but I think that you are being unfair here.

    I think that Krugman is being sarcastic here.

    I think that the whole, ” the people responsible for the Iraq war”, phrase is suggesting that their core value is the indiscriminate killing of brown people.

    Reply
    1. Geo

      Possibly. But Abby Martin said it well recently on this subject: “They still hate Ralph Nader but have forgiven George W. Bush”.

      Reply
    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > I think that Krugman is being sarcastic here.

      Nonsense. Krugman retweeted Chait on Max Boot’s book because he agreed with Chait’s views. There’s no hint of sarcasm (or irony).

      Reply
  5. Wukchumni

    Free trade, there’s no need to feel down
    I said, exports, pick yourself off the ground
    I said, imports, ’cause you’ve got a new acronym sound
    There’s no need to be unhappy

    Exporter, there’s a place you can go
    I said, importer, when you’re short on your dough
    They can stay there, and I’m sure you will find
    Many ways to pay on time

    It’s fun to be renamed USMCA
    It’s fun to be renamed USMCA

    They have everything for corporations to enjoy
    You can hang out with all the big boys

    It’s fun to be renamed USMCA
    It’s fun to be renamed USMCA

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mMPSyOB2qNo

    Reply
  6. Brindle

    Lambert gets the line of the day: “The future is female war criminals.”

    Why not teachers or scientists or even plumbers as candidate bios?

    Reply
    1. nippersdad

      Were we to read their actual CV in a locked room at an undisclosed location….we would likely find that they had posed as each and every one of those at some point in their careers. With a particular emphasis on their Nixonian plumbing skills. Posing as Congressmen should be right up their street. /s

      But, seriously, that would have been nice to see.

      Reply
    2. Geo

      Agreed. Great line. These are women Madeline Albright can be proud to support. Not like those dirty commie ones that will burn in hell for refusing to genuflect before the queen.

      Reply
  7. Hameloose Cannon

    It’s either “Boeing v Airbus” or “Airbus v Boeing” / –USITC’s thinking, “Scrivener, please. Commercial aerospace is a duopoly. *Losing tuba, then horn sting.* What’s the point in ruling? We just overturned [2018] a 292% trade tariff against Bombardier. Maybe we were going somewhere with that? You never know!”

    Reply
  8. Carl

    Re: Uwe Reinhardt

    Of course, the NYT doesn’t include my favorite Reinhardt quote describing the US healthcare system: “a system designed by the devil.”

    I’ll miss him. He was a major truth-teller.

    Reply
    1. Left in Wisconsin

      Seems related: “”As if the Last 30 Years Never Happened”: Towards a New Law and Economics, Part 1″ [Law and Political Economy]. • A really good piece; this paragraph jumped out: “[W]e ask that ‘economics’ as a whole not be conflated with the 1970s University of Chicago economics department – any more than legal scholarship as a whole should be conflated with the University of Chicago Law School faculty during that era.”

      Suresh Naidu, who seems like a genuinely good person doing good work, is trying to convince us that (mainstream) economics has more to offer the neoliberal UofChicago-ness:

      Econ-101-ism takes too seriously the simplistic supply-and-demand view of the market—guided by the benevolent invisible hand—that was dominant in economics in the 1970s and 1980s (i.e., Chicago Price Theory). Meanwhile, the broader economics community has moved far from these themes. It has become normatively more pluralistic, admits the importance of many other social institutions besides “markets”, and has a rich vocabulary for criticizing soi-disant laissez-faire.

      I have no idea what broader community he is referring to. He says he will let us know in his next post.

      I say seems related to Reinhart because UR was always seen as a respectable mainstream economist. Not that it did any of us any good.

      Reply
      1. Amfortas the Hippie

        Whenever I think about the rise of the Chicago school (as handy shorthand for the whole “free market uberalles”)and it’s artificially enforced take over of economic mainstream, I’m reminded of Eusebius, et alia and the Constntinian Shift…wherein a palliative religion of slaves was reformulated into a supporting infrastructure of Empire.
        The simplistic version, employed by every other local bidnessman in Texas to justify his rapine nd cruelty, and by legions of Randian Libertarians, is very much a folk religion at this point.
        I am much relieved that that particular economic faith seems to finally be losing its stranglehold

        Reply
        1. Jonathan Holland Becnel

          I was thinking about a FREE MARKET CULT protest where whenever Business rapes and kills in New Orleans, a group of people dress like druids and ‘praise’ the FREE MARKET as a kind of god.

          “Oh, FREE MARKET, we sacrifice our daily newspaper, the Times-Picayune, to you! Let us burn and pray, for we new orleanians bind our soul and spirit to the ONE TRUE MARKET!”

          Reply
      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        > UR was always seen as a respectable mainstream economist. Not that it did any of us any good.

        He saved a lot of lives in Taiwan, though. Money, too. That’s a lot more than most “respectable economists” can claim. For some reason.

        Reply
    2. Summer

      The root of the problem is that people have absorbed the belief system of psychopaths that have made a religion out of punishing people for lacking wealth.
      How do you solve that on paper?

      Reply
      1. The Rev Kev

        It is either them or us! Reading that article has just confirmed all that I have read about their beliefs. For the Chicago University there is only one possible answer. I say we take off and nuke the site from orbit. It’s the only way to be sure!

        Reply
  9. Wukchumni

    My political leadership that could care less about me is better than your political leadership that could care less about you, and that’s all there is to it.

    Reply
  10. Wukchumni

    I was more into the Encyclopedia Brown, and who would have thought somebody named Nancy Drew had problems drawing?

    Reply
  11. ChiGal in Carolina

    Finns: the ultimate “white” people.

    Sounds like suburbia to me. It wasn’t until I started hanging in the hood that I absorbed the notion of community embodied in the fact that most Blacks not only greet strangers but are happy to shoot the shit.

    Makes the world a friendlier place!

    Reply
    1. Fiery Hunt

      Definitely not my experience. But maybe it’s because I’m a white male (not a ChiGal).
      YMMV :)
      (BTW have lived in Oakland)

      Reply
    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Finns: the ultimate “white” people.

      The essay (oddly, I can’t find now) that brought Ta-Nahesi Coates to my attention was a long piece extolling the Quiet Car (and IIRC defining the term assh*ole).

      And I dunno about friendlier. Grateful silence in a yammering world + long intimate conversations sounds like a pretty good definition of friendship to me.

      Reply
  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    ’ Reines goes on to argue that Clinton remains a viable 2020 candidate due to her support base, pointing to the tens of millions of people who voted for her in the 2016 presidential election. Her support, he argues, remains higher than other potential Democratic contenders including Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)” • Kill it with fire. But see below on Indivisible…

    Tangentially related…since Warren’s name is mentioned.

    Is her Native American status a blood/DNA issue, or is this, like gender, also about the social construct of it?

    And if people can’t tell from her outer appearance alone, and she looks like an average European American, can we ask if she has ever suffered as a Native American (if she hadn’t mentioned her self-declared ethnicity or if others are unaware of it)?

    Should questions like this one be based on DNA or one’s deeds?

    Is Ms. Doubtfire (played by Robin Williams) less female than those proven by DNA?

    Are one’s adoptive or foster parents not parents?

    Reply
    1. Elizabeth Burton

      The Warren DNA issue was just another distraction manufactured by the non-Fox corporate media to provide another opportunity to keep the mind-controlled focused on Donald Trump. It was exacerbated by the introduction of the head of the Western Cherokee who chose to address negatively a claim Sen. Warren never made—that she was Cherokee.

      She never claimed Native American ethnicity. That this seems to have become the accepted narrative is a compliment to those running the propaganda machine. If anything, she simply eliminated one thing the GOP (and any Democrat primary opponents) could use against her should she throw her mortarboard into the ring. Sadly, I fear she underestimated just how virulent the opposition was from both sides. If she’s smart, she’ll use that should she still choose to run and has the courage to confront the kind of vicious misinformation and outright falsehoods the MSM used against Sanders.

      I believe the old phrase is “a tempest in a teacup.” I suppose it could be considered the whole circus was intended to undermine Sen. Warren’s ability to be a candidate in ’20, especially given how fast people began declaring it had done exactly that. It appears that, despite the hint HRC isn’t done yet, the Hero being groomed for the job is Cory Booker, with likely Gillibrand or Harris as the VP to cover all the identity politics bases. On the other hand, I just read one of the Castro brothers from San Antonio stated he wasn’t averse to the idea of running, either.

      Warren, despite her being actually quite middle-of-the-road, is still too far left for the Democrat establishment, which is exacerbated by the fact her ongoing war with the financial industry makes her persona non grata with the Big Money crowd. It’s telling that even a politician who’s pretty much a real centrist is still too far left for the party establishment.

      Reply
      1. cocomaan

        She never claimed Native American ethnicity.

        This is not true. Harvard’s communciations office was stating that she was a woman of color on their faculty. She wrote a recipe in a book called Pow Wow Chow and there stated that she was Cherokee. So did her husband, for some bizarre reason. She was listed as a faculty of color in her professional organization’s roster when she was at Penn.

        She was out there using identity politics for professional advancement and professional brownie points. Harvard was using it for PR purposes with her permission. She was definitely claiming ethnicity.

        Why she did that is really only known by her. My guess is that she didn’t think she was special enough without it. It’s definitely deranged behavior from someone who should know better.

        If she hadn’t of come with this DNA test none of this would have happened. It was the dumbest move possible.

        It’s such a dumb move that I wonder if the Clintons cooked it up to get her out of the way for 2020.

        Reply
        1. dcrane

          “Deranged” is pretty strong. I think that a person who lives in the academic bubble could easily come to be convinced that her historical links (as supposedly conveyed within her family) were worthy of recognition. That’s unfortunate for her as a potential presidential candidate, given how isolated the academic world is from the thinking of most Americans.

          Reply
          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Why did she try to prove something (NA ethnicity), via a DNA test, that she did not claim (NA ethnicity)?

            Reply
        2. Unna

          I want to know Warren’s recipe for Fry Bread, not that recipe of hers for Native American Green Mold Jello with canned pineapple bits like they serve in Utah. And what’s her strategy, when she goes to the Pow Wow, of winning at that gambling game they play after dark when the old people throw “bones”.

          OK, that’s kinda harsh. I’ll pour a libation to the god and ask him to restore to me a measure of moral purity. Warren’s had a rough week.

          Reply
          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            She could offer high school classmates as witnesses of her identity, of being discriminated because of it, etc.

            Reply
            1. Unna

              So that’s why she doesn’t have a Fry Bread recipe! I admit, I’m only familiar with “First Nations” people in the inter mountain West and Canada and they all seem to have some version of Fry Bread. Tasty but deadly. But “poor folks” from European backgrounds also cook Fry Bread. Cut off some rising bread dough and toss it in an iron skillet with oil or some shortening and then sprinkle on some sugar. I have it on good authority that my friend’s Grandma from North Carolina used to do it with lard. The Sicilian family I knew growing up, the grandma used to fry pieces of bread dough in olive oil plus sugar and give it to the hungry impatient kids to keep them quiet. Oh, and then there was the family who used Crisco… My personal favorite was the bread dough fried in olive oil. How can you resist a semi crispy outside with a deep olive oil flavour ( Fry Bread has plenty of calories because if you’re poor you need them), plus soft inside, and then covered with sweetness?

              Reply
  13. ChiGal in Carolina

    In re Manne

    I don’t think this was linked here before.
    https://www.counterpunch.org/2018/10/17/before-the-law-2/

    Basically (if I understand it) the author argues that our concept of law is rule-based to a fault, explicitly excluding social context and rendering the SC a profoundly inegalitarian and conservative institution. A couple excerpts:

    “…Marx and Engels sought to discredit completely any notion of an autonomous or egalitarian legal realm capable of transcending or resolving the discord, unfulfillment and subjugation of everyday life or (most importantly) of restraining the oppressive social power of class society.” And it was Marx who formulated the concept of base/superstructure. For the total reality (base) of life is found in the total of its relations of production — on top of which a superstructure of political and legal institutions is built.

    So it is hard to muster much outrage over another uptight white guy becoming a supreme court justice. The higher courts are the expression of an illusory coherence and imaginary neutrality that it is alleged, stands above the merely political. But in fact it is at its core political. The courts adaptation of a rarified positivist grammar, one that carries with it a kind of scientific precision (and it is precise, if one allows it to frame itself. Precise and even beautiful) are in fact neither neutral nor precise. But this distance, this hermetic emotionless rationality is really in the service of removing social trauma and human suffering from the rulings, and to hide the class mediated selectivity at work.

    Reply
  14. Stomcrow

    Indivisible Groups as Clintonism Rebranded
    Complete with another rightward pointing blue arrow.
    Repetition compulsion is not dead.

    Reply
  15. marym

    Georgia purged an estimated 107,000 people largely for not voting, an APM Reports investigation shows

    Even by Georgia standards, the voter purge of late July 2017 was remarkable. In a single day, more than half a million people — 8 percent of Georgia’s registered voters — were cut from the voter rolls.

    …For an estimated 107,000 of those people, their removal from the voter rolls was triggered not because they moved or died or went to prison, but rather because they had decided not to vote in prior elections…

    APM Reports found that at least nine states — most of them with Republican leadership, including the key battlegrounds of Georgia and Ohio — have purged an estimated hundreds of thousands of people from the rolls for infrequent voting since the 2014 general election. States with these policies are removing voters at some of the highest rates in the nation, no matter the reason.

    Reply
  16. chuck roast

    This tunnels/gateway project was originally called Access to Regions Core (ARC) and was a Federal Transit Administration (part of DOT) responsibility. In the early ‘oughts, FTA was cautiously on board with this project despite it’s huge cost. FTA gets a pot of cash every year to dole out amongst its many recipients. It ain’t rich like the federal Highway Administration.

    The project was proceeding apace during the Bush years and was viewed favorably because Twin Towers. While the article is incorrect in stating that DOT (meaning FTA) never pays more than 50% for mega-projects, exactly how much FTA was going to shell out for ARC was up in the air while FTA was on-board with major funding for the 3rd Avenue Subway and Lower Manhattan Recovery – $20+B alone. Christie and Coumo began arguing over the local funding share. A large chunk of change.

    Eventually, ARC ground to a halt because of the two pols, but not before Christie got almost $300M from FTA in the form of an early funding agreement (the Draft EIS wasn’t even completed) which he used to by locomotives and other rolling stock for local commuter rail. Of course FTA got screwed. They could have used this cash for more deserving projects. FTA eventually got $95M back, but ARC was bogus from the get go.

    Reply
  17. cocomaan

    I forget when I posted that I thought Hillary was going to run again, Lambert, maybe a few months ago? Maybe even longer. I know I’m not the only one but I feel like a broken record, too.

    Even though everything is turned upside down in politics, let’s look at what losers did when they lost the presidential election, based on nothing more than my imperfect memory:

    * Al Gore – went into public intellectualism, did not run again
    * John Kerry – went back to senate, then into state, did not run again
    * John McCain – went back to senate, did not run again
    * Mitt Romney – didn’t run again, not sure what he was up to, didn’t run in 2016
    * Hillary – ran in 2008, lost, went to state, ran again in 2016, lost

    You know what none of them did except for Hillary? Wrote a book about losing, then went on talk shows like they were still campaigning, then continue to put out memos of a grandstanding nature, op eds, etc, then start to float the idea of running again using surrogates.

    I’m not saying she will win the Dem primary, but she has no greater desire in life than to be in that White House. Nothing else will satisfy her.

    She’s been in a slow campaign since 2016, testing the waters, figuring out a message. The fact that she still has advisors on the payroll like that quoted guy means she’s still going for it.

    Reply
  18. JerryDenim

    Krugman, neo-cons, principles- ‘wowsers’ as you might say Lambert. I guess Krugman is flaunting his principles again if there ever was any doubts.

    I read the NY Mag article about Max Boot, which was utterly banal and stupid, except in one regard. Mr. Boot the celebrated CFR fellow, editorialist, and academic admits his success was due to his ability to maintain a steadfast commitment to partisan ideology while behaving with utter contempt for facts and scientific rigor. Mr. Boot reveals he was given his start in fancy-pants conservative culture at the Wall Street Journal not because of his knowledge of economics but rather his total lack of economic credentials and understanding. Unsurprisingly the elites want their think tanks, universities and newspapers staffed with silver-tongued dilettantes blindly dedicated to elite idealogical causes.

    Boot himself seems wholly unremarkable. He claims to be ill at ease with Republicans these days as he himself is pro-LGBT, pro-immigration, pro-Free Trade while being as belligerent and as hawkish as they come on foreign policy and deficits. No wonder he hates Trump, but wow, this guy sound perfect for Hillary Clinton’s orbit.

    Reply
  19. ewmayer

    o “American Steel Downgraded As Trade War Escalates” [Safe Haven]. “Any investors in the American steel industry who were celebrating Trump’s tariffs jumped the gun a bit. If you follow this scenario through to its logical conclusion, there’s no happy ending—only the threat of oversupply.” — Wait a minute, note the false equivalence: the article is essentially saying that US steel firms ramping up domestic production and thus leading to a short-term supply glut is a worse-or-no-better outcome for the US than simply continuing to buy steel from China. That ignores (or, less benignly, deliberately omits) that ramping up domestic production means hiring and paying more workers HERE. Predictably, the article is entirely through the financialized lens of Wall Street: lower steel prices mean lower prawfits for the execs and investors, thus even though the increased domestic production is good for the US working class, lower prawfits make it bad, bad, BAD for the [Wall Street] economy! IOW, ‘health news brought to you by the same fvcking parasites who bled the host to near-death’.

    o The Bezzle: “Tearing Apart Teslas to Find Elon Musk’s Best and Worst Decision” [Bloomberg] — By way of a nuts-and-bolts companion piece, see Autoblog’s Tesla Model 3 dismantled: It’s needlessly complicated to build, says analyst:

    ‘An earlier analysis of the Tesla Model 3 saw Munro critical of an early car’s fit and finish, but appreciative of its electronics. Now, in an article by Bloomberg, Sandy Munro picks apart a black Tesla Model 3, with a few key points to note. The main issue is with body design, said to be engineered by people with no previous experience on car development.’

    But I’m sure that’s quite ‘disruptive’ – to the assembly line.

    o “First Evidence of Sleep in Flight” [Nautilus] — Talk about sleeping with one eye open!

    Reply
  20. Synoia

    Nice to have Indivisible’s role cleared up. At least at the national level, it’s Clintonism, rebranded.

    Clinton is, was and will be indivisible – from the power and glory, for ever and ever….

    Reply
  21. ewmayer

    So I’ve been mulling over this inane #believewomen Twitter hashtag, and it occurs to me the hashtag which is really needed (and which would nicely generalize to other MSM/establishment propaganda campaigns such as RussiaRussiaRussia) but would likely yield the Twitterverse equivalent of crickets because it doesn’t lend itself to self-righteous postering and partisan ranting is

    #believeevidence

    Reply
    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      There are some really serious people and so, we don’t know if they are joking or they mean it when they say, I could tell you, offer you classified evidence, but I would have to kill you.

      Usually I just laugh it off, but the last guy who said that to me (maybe this was a dream), I thought he meant it.

      So, #believeevidence, while a good idea, on paper, could have serious limitations.

      Reply
    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Not sure what this comment was in answer to, but here’s the last part of that link:

      Categorizing every misstep or badly chosen word as a form of abuse is inhuman and reactionary nonsense, which, if taken at all seriously, will do tremendous harm to the psyches of countless young women and men in particular.

      Meanwhile the daily struggle to earn a living, clothe and house a family and navigate an unstable social and political environment preoccupies the vast majority of working class people, female and male. On top of that, a larger and larger number are coming to realize that a radical change in the entire social order is necessary.

      But the #MeToo witch-hunters are not part of and are fiercely hostile to that struggle.

      Reply
      1. Carey

        My previous comment was meant to be in reply to this:

        “So I’ve been mulling over this inane #believewomen Twitter hashtag, and it occurs to me the hashtag which is really needed (and which would nicely generalize to other MSM/establishment propaganda campaigns such as RussiaRussiaRussia) but would likely yield the Twitterverse equivalent of crickets because it doesn’t lend itself to self-righteous postering and partisan ranting is

        #believeevidence”

        Thanks for posting that essential section from the WSWS piece.

        Reply
  22. Jeff W

    Assuming birds dream

    They do.

    But the awake hemisphere probably can’t access the dreams of the sleeping hemisphere because birds lack a corpus callosum, that bundle of nerve fibers that facilitates communication between the two brain hemispheres in placental mammals. So they have two (largely but not entirely) separate “brains,” in a sense.

    Reply
    1. knowbuddhau

      Thanks. I was thinking, since dream state is a rhythm thing, probably couldn’t access it all that well anyway.

      Reply
      1. Jeff W

        Well, I was thinking that, on an evolutionary basis, it probably wouldn’t be all that advantageous for a bird’s awake hemisphere to access the sleeping/dreaming hemisphere—the awake hemisphere has enough to do. (And we can’t access our dreams after the fact, when we’re awake, all that well so that access doesn’t seem like it would confer an evolutionary advantage, anyway.)

        I kind of get where lambert is coming from—it might be “cool” if the waking self could have real-time, conscious access to the dreams of the sleeping self. But in birds, despite the simultaneity of wakefulness and dreaming, it just seems physiologically unlikely, whatever the evolutionary advantages or drawbacks might be.

        And, actually, I’m more surprised by the fact that birds lack a corpus callosum than by the finding that they can sleep in flight.

        And, in fact, cetaceans such as dolphins also exhibit unihemispheric sleep (as do other mammals such as eared seals, manatees, and, to a small degree, us)—they’d drown if they went fully, bihemispherically to sleep—and they, being placental mammals, do not lack corpora callosa, so we really can wonder whether their awake hemispheres access the dreams of their sleeping hemispheres. (I, unfortunately, do not have an informed answer.)

        Reply
  23. Wukchumni

    Gun money was an issue of coins made by the forces of James II during the Williamite War in Ireland between 1689 and 1691. They were minted in base metal (copper, brass or pewter), and were designed to be redeemed for silver coins following a victory by James II and consequently bore the date in months to allow a gradual replacement. As James lost the war, that replacement never took place, although the coins were allowed to circulate at much reduced values before the copper coinage was resumed.

    The name “gun money” stems from the idea that they were minted from melted down guns. However, many other brass objects, such as church bells, were also used.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gun_money
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    You’d think this would be a whet dream for hand cannon fanciers, eh?

    Reply
  24. flora

    In no particular order:

    War –

    The anguish of the earth absolves our eyes
    Till beauty shines in all that we can see.
    War is our scourge; yet war has made us wise,
    And, fighting for our freedom, we are free.
    –Siegried Sassoon (WWI)

    Love –

    “Truth must be integrated with love; morality is not whole without it. Love is the greatest strength of the powerless. Unity founded on love will never be coercion; power guided by love will never be violence. Love is all-powerful and will even overcome hatred. And only love can do this!”
    ― Václav Havel

    Hope –

    Hope is the thing with feathers That perches in the soul, And sings the tune without the words, And never stops at all,

    –Emily Dickinson

    ~

    Happy Friday to NC commentariate.

    Reply
  25. 4corners

    Other forms of information-sharing still continue, which shows that even the most extreme of sanctuary cities eventually bend to comply with a federal law that says local governments cannot restrict sharing immigration status with ICE.”

    Is it “compliance” or a basic commitment to public safety? Sanctuary policies are dysfunctional. Pockets of local govt at odds with federal govt isn’t good governance, regardless of where you come down on the immigration issue.

    Reply
  26. Oregoncharles

    “Monster crowd in Bloomington, IN for Bernie and @LizForIndiana”

    Nice, but Bloomington isn’t Indiana. I grew up about 40 miles from there. It’s a university city of about 50,000 and prime Bernie territory. The rest of the state? Not so much.

    Reply
    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      “Bloomington isn’t Indiana” is supposed to indicate that “the rest of the state” is clearly not “Bernie Country”. That may well be. By the same token, the rest of the state is clearly not Green Party Country either.

      Senator Bernie has received a respectful hearing at gatherings in deeply Red zones. He may not change many minds there, or even any at all. But he receives a respectful hearing. Would the Green Party’s Jill Stein be able to receive the same kind of respectful hearing by groups of people in deeply Red zones?

      Reply
      1. Oregoncharles

        I intended to suggest (heck, I know) that Bloomington is anything but typical.

        I have no idea how Jill Stein would fare in Indiana, outside Bloomington. But she would have some advantages: not a Democrat, and saying things that are new and directly address their problems – essentially the same advantages Bernie has, when he isn’t pretending to be a Democrat (“not a Democrat” is emphatically an advantage in my eyes.)

        Reply
    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      A question arises about Spanberger of CIA. Was she part of the Covert Ops division? Was she part of the Torture division? Or was she part of one of the Intelligence Gathering divisions? Or was she part of the Analysis division?

      Agent Valerie Plame was also CIA in her day, after all. But she was not in the Torture division. Given that at least some of the CIA candidates this election are clearly some of Brennan’s Flying Monkeys, someone should ask her ( and hopefully will) what she thinks of the Putin Diddit narrative, the Prime Assad-Must-Go Directive, and other such things.

      Reply
  27. Chris

    Francis Fukuyama interview: “Socialism ought to come back”

    So that wasn’t ‘the end of history’ after all, then?

    Reply

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