2:00PM Water Cooler 10/3/2018

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.


“A Closer Look at the NAFTA Replacement Deal” [Industry Week]. (Authors are trade lawyers.) “The dispute settlement mechanisms of NAFTA, with respect to allegations of unfair trading practices, have not changed in the new agreement (USMCA). Under this system, each signatory country allows member countries to review antidumping and countervailing duty grievances against other members before appointed expert arbitration panels. However, the previous investor-state dispute settlement system, which allows investor companies to bring claims against member-country governments, will be phased out between the U.S. and Canada, while certain industries (such as energy, infrastructure, and telecommunications) will still be able to bring such cases against Mexico.” • ISDS has always been my concern. If it’s truly been gutted, I’m happy.

“The loyalty oath nestled inside the new NAFTA” [Politico]. “Buried within the USMCA deal is a provision that requires any member of the pact to give three months’ notice to its partners if it launches negotiations with a non-market economy, which the United States considers China to be. The stipulation — which bears President Donald Trump’s fingerprints — means that if any of the North American countries enters into talks with China or another similar economy, the new three-way U.S.-Mexico-Canada deal can become a bilateral one. It also means that when it comes to the growing trade war with China, the U.S. is seeking to keep Canada and Mexico on its side.”

“Trade war spurs a shift in seafood supply chains” [Supply Chain Dive]. “U.S. lobster exports to China faced a 25% tariff as of July. The result was a shift in the product’s sourcing networks: China began to buy more lobster from Canada — so much, Eastern Canadian airports added cargo flights to accommodate the demand…. United States based lobster processors are shipping lobster to Canada, but at lower margins. This has added pressure along the entire domestic supply chain, but puts Canada in a strong position. Lobsters are heading north by land and sea to a country not fighting a trade war.” • Well, if Susan Collins wants to trade something for her Kavanaugh vote, there it is.

“Donald Trump tweaks NAFTA and it’s not better” [Editorial Board, USA Today]. • Measured, and worth a read, but very much a two-sides-to-everything piece. For example: “The deal includes a sunset clause that will cause it to end after 16 years. For years, American companies have complained about a tax code that is subject to uncertainty. Now they will have the same fears with trade.” What some might call “uncertainty,” others might call “democratic control” and “national sovereignty.”



“Sen. Sanders wants to break up JP Morgan, Berkshire Hathaway and other large financials” [CNBC]. “Sen. Bernie Sanders introduced a bill on Wednesday that would require the breakup of any financial company that has a total exposure of greater than 3 percent of gross domestic product. Based on that threshold, which is $584 billion, six banks and the four nonbanks would have to split up. The banks are J.P. Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo & Co., Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. The nonbanks are Berkshire Hathaway as well as Prudential Financial, MetLife and American International Group.” • How about Amazon, Facebook, and Google? While we’re doubling down.

A happy dance:

Putting workers first; and also an invitation to other workers in other industries to speak up, possibly in more town halls.

A grudging dance:

“Middle class,” not working class. “Employees,” not workers. And — speculating freely, here — Clinton hates Sanders so much she can’t bring herself to mention him. (Also, of course, Clinton thought $15 was too much, and that $12 would be better.)


33 days until Election Day. 33 days is a long time in politics (as we are seeing right now with Kavanaugh. And what about Rosenstein?).

“FBI has not contacted dozens of potential sources in Kavanaugh investigation” [NBC]. “The bureau is expected to wrap up its expanded background investigation as early as Wednesday into two allegations against Kavanaugh — one from Christine Blasey Ford and the other from Deborah Ramirez. But sources close to the investigation, as well as a number of people who know those involved, say the FBI has not contacted dozens of potential corroborators or character witnesses.” • Quite a lot of detail.

“Kavanaugh warned friends of condo eviction in 1983 letter: ‘We’re loud, obnoxious drunks'” [CNBC]. “The letter, reportedly written by current Supreme Court hopeful Brett Kavanaugh in 1983, described himself and his classmates as ‘loud, obnoxious drunks with prolific pukers among us.'” • Has Kavanaugh never heard of the concept of a “paper trail”? Or was his sense of impunity so strong he didn’t worry?

“Nancy Pelosi Not On Board With Impeaching Brett Kavanaugh” [HuffPo]. • BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA-HA!!!!

“Robert Mueller shedding more attorneys, suggesting parts of Russia probe are winding down” [Associated Press]. “Special counsel Robert Mueller is trimming more attorneys from his office, another sign his team of prosecutors is winding down parts of their investigation into potential ties between Russia and President Donald Trump’s campaign…. But it’s only a limited view into the tight-lipped Mueller’s timetable or possible endgame. Critical investigative strands still remain, such as an active grand jury probe of longtime Trump associate Roger Stone and ongoing negotiations over an interview with Trump.” • So, no report in September?

“Will 2018 Be a Wave Election?” [RealClearPolitics]. “Time and events before November could change these indicators. However, the odds of the generic ballot and party identification shifting to the Republicans between now and Election Day are not good. One group that could affect these results is independents, who vote less than partisans and make up their minds later in the campaign. In the latest poll, independents lean 28 percent to 26 percent for Democrats, with 29 percent saying not sure; if these percentages carry over till November the Democrats’ numerical advantage will prevail.”

“Where to Look on Election Day for Early Signs of a ‘Blue Wave'” [Bloomberg]. • Useful wrap-up, but there are rather a lot of places to look.

“Kansas Democrat Sharice Davids outraises GOP’s Kevin Yoder with $2.7 million haul” [McClatchy]. “Kansas Democrat Sharice Davids outraised incumbent GOP congressman Kevin Yoder by more than $1.6 million over the past three months, a strong sign of Democratic enthusiasm in a race that could determine which party controls the U.S. House of Representatives…. Davids’ record-breaking fundraising total is in line with other big third-quarter hauls by Democrats running in competitive House races, said Nathan Gonzales, editor and publisher of Inside Elections, which provides nonpartisan analysis of campaigns for Senate, House, governor and president. ‘Normally that would be regarded as a good fundraising quarter for a U.S. senate candidate,” Gonzales said, but so many Democratic challengers are raising incredible amounts of money that $2.7 million starts to sound normal.'” • Ka-ching. (I’m assuming that if these were small donations, the story would have said.)

“Two Democrats in House Races Top $3 Million in Third Quarter” [Bloomberg]. “A pair of Democratic House candidates hoping to unseat Republican incumbents raised more than $3 million apiece in the third quarter, a prodigious amount for a challenger. Amy McGrath, running in Kentucky’s 6th district against Representative Andy Barr, raised $3.65 million and ended the quarter with $1.7 million in the bank, her campaign said Monday. In California’s 10th district, Democrat Josh Harder raised $3.5 million in the third quarter, in his campaign against Representative Jeff Denham, a four-term incumbent.” • Ka-ching. (Ditto.)

2016 Post Mortem

“Trump, the 2016 Election, and Expressions of Sexism” (PDF) [Brian F. Schaffner, American Political Science Association]. “In this paper, I examine how the 2016 election influenced the expression of sexist viewpoints among Republicans. Specifically, I find that partisan motivated rea-soning made Republicans more willing to express tolerance for sexist rhetoric when it came from Trump rather than from another source. Additionally, I show that Repub-licans became more willing to endorse sexist statements after the 2016 election, likely due to the fact that Trump’s victory changed their perceptions about the prevalence of sexist attitudes in American society. This increase in expressed sexism has persisted into 2018.”

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Academic Grievance Studies and the Corruption of Scholarship” [Areo]. “We spent that time writing academic papers and publishing them in respected peer-reviewed journals associated with fields of scholarship loosely known as ‘cultural studies’ or ‘identity studies’ (for example, gender studies) or ‘critical theory’ because it is rooted in that postmodern brand of ‘theory’ which arose in the late sixties. As a result of this work, we have come to call these fields ‘grievance studies’ in shorthand because of their common goal of problematizing aspects of culture in minute detail in order to attempt diagnoses of power imbalances and oppression rooted in identity. We undertook this project to study, understand, and expose the reality of grievance studies, which is corrupting academic research. Because open, good-faith conversation around topics of identity such as gender, race, and sexuality (and the scholarship that works with them) is nearly impossible, our aim has been to reboot these conversations. We hope this will give people—especially those who believe in liberalism, progress, modernity, open inquiry, and social justice—a clear reason to look at the identitarian madness coming out of the academic and activist left and say, ‘No, I will not go along with that. You do not speak for me.’ … While our papers are all outlandish or intentionally broken in significant ways, it is important to recognize that they blend in almost perfectly with others in the disciplines under our consideration. To demonstrate this, we needed to get papers accepted, especially by significant and influential journals.” • The prose is dense as a fruitcake, as befits the authors’ immersion in the field. Their method was to get absurdly bad papers published in respectable journals in these fields. For samples, see this thread:

I’m of two minds here. There’s been truly amazing scholarship on these topics in the last few years, especially on race. Then again, I’m very happy to épater les identitarians. And since this is a direct assault on the credentials of personnel in any number of verticals in the liberal Democrat nomenklatura, I’m sure it will generate a good deal of, well, anger. As if there wasn’t enough already.

“Russian Meddling Is a Symptom, Not the Disease” [Zeynep Tufekci, New York Times]. “It is understandable that legislators and the public are concerned about other countries meddling in our elections. But foreign meddling is to our politics what a fever is to tuberculosis: a mere symptom of a deeper problem. To heal, we need the correct diagnosis followed by action that treats the underlying diseases. The closer our legislators look at our own domestic politics as well as Silicon Valley’s business model, the better the answers they will find.” • Follow the money?

“GOP pressure shaped state’s district maps, court records show” [Detroit News]. “[D]ocuments show [redistricting] mapmakers in 2011 gave top party officials the partisan vote history breakdowns of new districts, shared proposed maps with an interest group linked to the DeVos family, entertained suggestions from at least one GOP donor and faced backlash from incumbents vexed at how their districts were redrawn.”

“‘They are actually suppressing votes’: Pa. voters abroad are blocked from state election website” [Philadelphia Inquirer]. “Thousands of registered Pennsylvania voters who live outside the United States are being blocked from accessing absentee ballots on the state’s website in a move intended to beef up election security. Several other states, including New Mexico, Tennessee, Georgia, and Vermont, also appear to be blocking foreign access to their election sites.” • Well done, all.

“California Sees Record Voter Registration Ahead of Midterms” [Courthouse News]. “In his latest voter report, California Secretary of State Alex Padilla says a record 19 million Californians have registered to vote, an increase of nearly 1.5 million from the 2014 midterm election. As of Sept. 7, nearly 76 percent of all eligible voters have signed up to vote – including 3.6 million more Democrats than Republicans…. For the June primary, turnout topped 37.5 percent – the highest in a California gubernatorial primary since 1998 – with a total of 7.1 million ballots cast.”

Stats Watch

ADP Employment Report, September 2018: “higher-than-expected” [Econoday]. And but: “This month the rate of ADPs private employment year-over-year growth is slightly above the tight range seen over this year. Last month’s employment numbers were revised marginally downward” [Econintersect]. “ADP employment has not been a good predictor of BLS non-farm private job growth.”

Institute For Supply Management Non-Manufacturing Index, September 2018: “Led by a record high in employment and a 14-year high in business activity, the Institute for Supply Management’s non-manufacturing composite index easily beat Econoday’s consensus range” [Econoday]. “If there ever was an ISM non-manufacturing report that was consistent with overheating, this one is it.” But: “Declines in gauges of backlogs and supplier-delivery times signal factories are catching up with demand, helping to dissipate price pressures. In prior months, producers’ rush to buy materials ahead of U.S. tariffs and counter-levies by China triggered supply-chain disruptions and a surge in costs” [Industry Week]. But: “Both [ISM and PMI] services surveys are in expansion – and their intensity of growth and general trends are different again this month. Markit shows this sector’s growth rate is slowing whilst the ISM Services growth rate is improving. Pretty hard to draw conclusions when one survey is improving and the other slowing” [Econintersect].

Purchasing Managers Services Index, September 2018: “Easing optimism in the outlook along with concern over the housing market pulled the services PMI to an 8-month low” [Econoday]. “In sum, today’s services report is mixed with concern over housing and the dip in optimism offset by the rise in new orders and hiring.”

Motor Vehicle Sales, September 2018: “Unit sales of motor vehicle proved very strong in September” [Econoday]. “This points to a sharp rise in dollar sales of motor vehicles for the September retail sales report which in prior months had been flat. Note that some of the month’s gain may reflect replacement demand tied to Hurricane Florence.”

Capital Spending: “Strong Gains for Combined U.S. & Canadian Industrial Spending” [Industrial Reports]. “Research by Industrial Reports, Inc. shows combined U.S. and Canadian planned capital spending grew by 37 percent in September compared to August with $64.09 billion in spending for the two nations. August’s planned investment showed $46.74 billion. The research organization reported 218 planned U.S. and Canadian projects in September. Planned U.S. project spending expanded by 44 percent in September with $55.66 billion in planned investment compared to the August total of $38.60 billion.” • Sporty!

Retail: “Takeoff Technologies partners with U.S.-based Hispanic grocer to launch robotic supermarket” [DC Velocity]. “Takeoff Technologies, an e-grocery solution provider, announced today the launch of the first automated hyperlocal fulfillment center, in partnership with one of the largest Hispanic grocers in the U.S., Sedano’s Supermarkets. This technology is expected to be introduced in the upcoming month. Customer orders will be placed via an online app and carried out by Takeoff’s automated micro-fulfillment center, with the support of Sedano’s employees. Robots enabled with artificial intelligence (AI) assemble full supermarket orders of up to 60 items in just a few minutes and are designed to reduce the speed and cost of current manual picking options. Takeoff’s first hyperlocal micro-fulfillment center will serve 14 Sedano’s Supermarkets locations throughout Miami and offer consumers pickup services.”

Shipping: “Drivers continue switching jobs as turnover rate hits 5-year high” [FreightWaves]. “Driver churn continues to plague the industry as the turnover rate at large truckload carriers has reached its highest point in five years. According to the latest data from the American Trucking Associations’ Trucking Activity Report, the annualized turnover rate increased 4 percentage points to 98% in the second quarter.” • Turnover in smaller fleets, however, is down 14%.

Shipping: “Veteran trucking exec Shevell rips ‘absurd’ plan to allow teenage truck drivers” [Logistics Management]. “A pilot program that would allow teenagers to drive an 80,000-pound truck in interstate commerce is one of the worst ideas to solve the driver shortage, [Myron P. “Mike” Shevell, chairman of the Shevell Group ,] a top trucking executive with six decades experience in the industry says…. But it’s not just lack of money that’s driving people out of the industry, Shevell said. ‘It’s also about lifestyle and respect,’ he said. ‘When you’ve been in the industry 60-plus years as I have, you see the difference. I was a truck driver, and they used to be treated like knights of the highways. Now they are treated very poorly as second-class citizens. All this stuff builds up in people and finally it’s like a bubble bursting. I don’t see it (driver shortage) going away with a flick of a pen (legislation). It’s going to take time and a lot of work.'”

Supply Chain: “Shipping’s New Arctic Routes Won’t Thaw Cold Economic Reality” [Wall Street Journal]. “Arctic routes are drawing greater attention as the global climate warms up and polar ice recedes, potentially opening new paths between Asia, Europe and North America. The Northern Sea Route [NSR], a mostly frozen seaway, is considered a likely lane because it already is used in warmer seasons to move part of Russia’s massive energy exports…. The NSR may be a more direct path, but that doesn’t make it smoother. The route has no transshipment ports to allow the efficient transfer of goods, and has other important operating constraints. Parts of the route are too shallow for big container ships and issues such as how to contain an oil spill on ice or where to evacuate the crew in an emergency are unresolved.”

Supply Chain: “Despite high interest in robots, adoption remains low” [Supply Chain Dive]. “Although interest in commercial service robots is “exceptionally high,” just more than 16% of 600 participants — across eight industries — recently surveyed by IDC say they have deployed the technology either enterprise-wide or at the local level…. [However,] industries such as wholesale and distribution that, today, have 0% deployment of service robotics, had more than 50% of respondents say they were piloting the technology within their operations. Those numbers indicate that supply chains at large are on path to adopting more automation.”

The Bezzle: “[Tesla] made 53,239 Model 3s during the three-month period ending June 30, nearly doubling output from the second quarter. But Tesla says delivery and outbound logistics were big hurdles last quarter” [Wall Street Journal]. “Chief Executive Elon Musk has said Tesla is running short of trailers to deliver cars and looking at building its own car carriers to get its inventory moving, potentially bringing the company a whole new set of production challenges.

The Bezzle: “Waymo’s self-driving car crashed because its human driver fell asleep at the wheel” [Quartz]. “[T]he human driver manning the vehicle ‘appeared to doze off’ after about an hour on the road, according to two people familiar with the matter. The safety driver unwittingly turned off the car’s self-driving software by touching the gas pedal. He failed to assume control of the steering wheel, and the [Chrysler Pacifica minivan] crashed into the highway median…. The dozing driver didn’t respond to any of the vehicle’s warnings, including a bell signaling the car was in manual mode and another audio alert, the Information reported. He regained alertness once the car crashed, then turned around and headed back to the Mountain View office. He no longer works for Waymo.” • Why, because he discovered a bug?!

Guillotine Watch

“The Super-Rich Are Stockpiling Wealth in Black-Box Charities” [Bloomberg]. “Donor-advised funds [DAFs]— money that grows tax-free in individual accounts — are reshaping the landscape of U.S. philanthropy. After creating their account, donors choose how it’s invested, and the money compounds until they decide where to dole it out…. A common DAF marketing theme is the ability to leave a legacy of giving for heirs.” • Hmm. Seems familiar…..

Class Warfare

“data for politics #25: What the Hell is Happening in DC?” [Data for Progress]. “In June, residents of Washington, DC, voted to end the loophole that allowed employers to pay tipped workers (like waiters and bartenders) less than other employees…. 53 percent of voters approved the initiative…. Today, however, the DC City Council voted to overturn the initiative passed by voters… But it gets even weirder. It turns out that the council members who voted to overturn the initiative represent parts of the city where voters were more supportive of the initiative. In fact, of the 27 precincts where more than 60 percent of voters approved of the initiative, just two were in wards where there council member didn’t look to overturn it… This is doubly problematic – not only is the city council overturning the decision of DC’s voters, but individual council members are directly contradicting the will of their own voters.”

News of the Wired

“Self-playing pipe organ” [The MagPi Magazine]. “To make it play, each wooden pipe has a valve opened and closed by a solenoid, triggered from an Arduino Due via a power-boosting driver board. The ‘brains’ of the operation is a Raspberry Pi.” • Neat project!

Happy birthday:

UPDATE One more reason to stick with your landline:

* * *

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 (TH):

TH writes: “Aloe Vera in dew drops.”

* * *

Readers: Water Cooler is a standalone entity not covered by the annual NC fundraiser. So do feel free to make a contribution today or any day. Here is why: Regular positive feedback both makes me feel good and lets me know I’m on the right track with coverage. When I get no donations for five or ten days I get worried. More tangibly, a constant trickle of small donations helps me with expenses, and I factor that trickle in when setting fundraising goals. So if you see something you especially appreciate, do feel free to click the hat!

To give more, click on the arrow heads to the right of the amount.


If you hate PayPal — even though you can use a credit card or debit card on PayPal — you can email me at lambert [UNDERSCORE] strether [DOT] corrente [AT] yahoo [DOT] com, and I will give you directions on how to send a check.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
This entry was posted in Guest Post, Water Cooler on by .

About Lambert Strether

Readers, I have had a correspondent characterize my views as realistic cynical. Let me briefly explain them. I believe in universal programs that provide concrete material benefits, especially to the working class. Medicare for All is the prime example, but tuition-free college and a Post Office Bank also fall under this heading. So do a Jobs Guarantee and a Debt Jubilee. Clearly, neither liberal Democrats nor conservative Republicans can deliver on such programs, because the two are different flavors of neoliberalism (“Because markets”). I don’t much care about the “ism” that delivers the benefits, although whichever one does have to put common humanity first, as opposed to markets. Could be a second FDR saving capitalism, democratic socialism leashing and collaring it, or communism razing it. I don’t much care, as long as the benefits are delivered. To me, the key issue — and this is why Medicare for All is always first with me — is the tens of thousands of excess “deaths from despair,” as described by the Case-Deaton study, and other recent studies. That enormous body count makes Medicare for All, at the very least, a moral and strategic imperative. And that level of suffering and organic damage makes the concerns of identity politics — even the worthy fight to help the refugees Bush, Obama, and Clinton’s wars created — bright shiny objects by comparison. Hence my frustration with the news flow — currently in my view the swirling intersection of two, separate Shock Doctrine campaigns, one by the Administration, and the other by out-of-power liberals and their allies in the State and in the press — a news flow that constantly forces me to focus on matters that I regard as of secondary importance to the excess deaths. What kind of political economy is it that halts or even reverses the increases in life expectancy that civilized societies have achieved? I am also very hopeful that the continuing destruction of both party establishments will open the space for voices supporting programs similar to those I have listed; let’s call such voices “the left.” Volatility creates opportunity, especially if the Democrat establishment, which puts markets first and opposes all such programs, isn’t allowed to get back into the saddle. Eyes on the prize! I love the tactical level, and secretly love even the horse race, since I’ve been blogging about it daily for fourteen years, but everything I write has this perspective at the back of it.


  1. Roland

    I think that Canada took a serious beating in the USMCA. The chapter on monetary policy coordination is potentially dangerous for Canada.

    It seems that John Manley, former cabinet minister and an avowed continentalist, had influence over Trudeau.

    I wonder why Trudeau was in such a hurry to make such a bad deal. I thought that he would have prevaricated until 2020 and hope for regime change in the US. But I guess Trudeau feared that if something bad happened to the Ontario automotive sector, it could affect his own prospects in the coming 2019 Canadian federal election.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Why was he in such a hurry?

      When Trump somehow lucked into the White House in 2016, and just now, somehow, against reason or expectation lucked into Trudeau rushing into a deal, for those want to confront him, to defeat him, it may be worth it to stop laughing at him, stop under-estimating him.

      It will take more work than just calling him an idiot.

    2. jonhoops

      Perhaps CIA mole Chrystia Freeland had some influence on matters. Maybe the Americans traded her some Ukrainian bauble in return for pushing Trudeau over the NAFTA 2.0 finish line.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I think we go with the simplest explanation, the one with the fewest number of assumptions.

  2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    “Sen. Sanders wants to break up JP Morgan, Berkshire Hathaway and other large financials” [CNBC]. “Sen. Bernie Sanders introduced a bill on Wednesday that would require the breakup of any financial company that has a total exposure of greater than 3 percent of gross domestic product. Based on that threshold, which is $584 billion, six banks and the four nonbanks would have to split up. The banks are J.P. Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo & Co., Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. The nonbanks are Berkshire Hathaway as well as Prudential Financial, MetLife and American International Group.” • How about Amazon, Facebook, and Google? While we’re doubling down.

    I hope this is not a 'Trump and Bannon can have their causes, and I will mine' thing.

    All of us need to unite on breaking up giants corporations, among other things.

    1. flaesq

      Can we call it a good start? I think you’re right yet I’d hate to have the perfect be the enemy of the good…

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        I agree with Lambert in asking, ‘How about Amazon, Facebook and Google? While we are doubling down.’

        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          I think that the proper attitude after a concession — following a decent interval, which can be measured in days — is “Yes, but what have you done for me lately?” Sanders does seem to be doing this, which is good. But there’s more on the menu….

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      What’s wrong with Sanders adopting this as his cause for the reason you suggest? It gets the cause of breaking these entities up into the public eye.

      Of course so many people love Uncle Warren that including Berkshire Hathaway in there may be an accidental poison pill and hence an accidental own goal. We’ll just see, I suppose.

    3. johnnygl

      Amazon is, for the moment, moving in the right direction. I’m okay with laying off them for a minute and picking a fight with some other dinosaurs. After all, we should reward their good behavior…for at least a little while.

      Divide and conquer…one fight at a time…rome wasn’t sacked in a day… ;)

  3. jo6pac

    Trucking and Drivers
    While driving between Tracy, Calif. and Stockton every day for month almost every truck trailer had ads Now Hiring.

    Oh and I just received my warning from the Amerikan govt. I wonder what color today is?

    1. DJG

      jo6pac: Do you (or anyone else) know why we received said presidential alert?

      Was this another one of those pranks by Kavanaugh and Judge?

          1. Jeff W

            I got one, too. The damn thing woke me up, in fact. I figured it was the mobile version of the “emergency alert system.” (If that’s the first time they’ve done that via mobile, the least they could have done was send an earlier one-time-only text message saying briefly they’re going to do that and what it’s about.)

      1. Glen

        A way for Trump to reach non Twitter followers like me?

        Whoever designs an app to make the warnings go away will clean up.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          The only worry is that if one day, the government announces we’re all moving to Mars, people with old phones will be left behind*.

          *Which could be a blessing?

            1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

              Thanks for that recommendation.

              It would be my first, not again. Looking forward to that.

  4. david lamy

    I announce with great pride that Professor Donna Strickland collaborated with my wife on a Grade 8 science project.
    (Well, my wife freely admits that Dr Strickland directed her efforts ably.)
    Still it it super cool to be one degree away form a Nobel Physics Laureate.
    Go Guelph Girls!!!

      1. david lamy

        My wife and Donna Strickland were classmates from grade 3 to grade 13.
        At that point my wife went on to earn an English degree at Queen’s University and Donna did Engineering Physics at McMaster University.

        I knew upon posting that you (Ms. HotFlash!) would require more explicit phasing. Have a happy Thanksgiving!

        1. david lamy

          I am in a phase where my ability to correctly spell all words in a phrase is simply lacking.

  5. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    “Kavanaugh warned friends of condo eviction in 1983 letter: ‘We’re loud, obnoxious drunks’” [CNBC]. “The letter, reportedly written by current Supreme Court hopeful Brett Kavanaugh in 1983, described himself and his classmates as ‘loud, obnoxious drunks with prolific pukers among us.’” • Has Kavanaugh never heard of the concept of a “paper trail”? Or was his sense of impunity so strong he didn’t worry?


    Was he bragging?

    Born in 1965, that would make him, what, 18 (or 17, depending on which months)?

    Do all young kids today have to be that careful, especially when they post on social media (electronic trail) frequently?

    1. Unna

      That’s why I refused to let my kid join Facebook. Kids are less than witless on their better days. Can you imagine what this Ford vs K show would have been like with their Facebook pages, photos of Ford/K in compromising situations, drunk, partying, passed out, plus comments/photos on their “friends” pages – both of them – from 35 years ago?

      So no Facebook, social media, etc. for the kid. Tell them, “You have a phone, at home, and an email address to waste enough of your time with, so be happy. Besides, you might be nominated for the Supreme Court someday, and that’s when you’ll thank me.”i

      1. Darthbobber

        And when it comes to social media, not just the kids. I’m still amazed at how many people think Facebook is a desirable place to chat about their cunning plans for the forcible overthrow of the government, or to post images of themselves containing evidence of criminal activity on their part.

    2. a different chris

      >Do all young kids today have to be that careful

      No, they just have to freaking grow up & own up at some point. That’s all we ask, seems to be too hard for our betters.

      1. Unna

        As I remember, the Obamas wouldn’t let their daughters do Facebook. I wonder why? Then again, the Obamas are both inner party members and so they made sure their kids’ telescreens were turned off. Of course now he makes his own decisions and is free to do whatever…. But he also is now aware of how Facebook is being used to spy, see comments by Assange et al. including hundreds of newspaper articles.

        And so now, I must express my deep appreciation to the Russians for those tens of thousands of dollars worth of dog videos on Facebook which flipped the election to Trump and brought Facebook into public disrepute and made it socially acceptable once again to not have Facebook.

        1. Tvc15

          Unna said “…made sure their kids’ telescreens were turned off.”

          Exactly! And Big Brother would be proud that we voluntarily pay for our telescreen monitoring devices…
          smart phones.

          The presidential message today was creepy and invasive. I’m worried that they are planning something nefarious.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            As for drinking, smoking and acting badly in general, a visit to clubs in big cities would suggest that it is the same as, if not worse than, the 1980s.

    3. todde

      I just taught mine how to act….

      some people are to busy loving and being loved by money to make that happen

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        There are good parents and there are bad parents.

        Looking at Facebook, Twitter and social media in general, many kids and many adults do not know how to act.

        Some professor was just suspended for life (hard to believe, is it true) on Twitter.

        So, sadly, it will always be with us…money or no money (seems to do with how each individual is).

    4. clarky90

      The Democrats must ask Jesus Christ or “The Theotokos (Mary, Mother of God)” to come forward as a potential SCOTUS!

      I am heartened that the Dems, are finally, spitting on “The Devil. “We demand a wholly innocent, unsullied candidate!”

      Musical Aramaic rendition of the “Our Father”

      Aramaic was the common language of 1 AD Nazareth.

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        One thousand and five or six hundred years later, we had Papal Infallibility.

        Papal infallibility is a dogma of the Catholic Church that states that, in virtue of the promise of Jesus to Peter, the Pope is preserved from the possibility of error “when, in the exercise of his office as shepherd and teacher of all Christians, in virtue of his supreme apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine concerning faith or morals to be held by the whole Church.”[1][2]

        A subtle point – the person before becoming the Pope is not infallible, but once he (or she) becomes one, the doctrine takes over.

        Perhaps the parallel is then that a Supreme Court justice is infallible, but not before becoming one.

        1. clarky90

          “The Great Schism of 1054 AD, was the break between the Roman Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox churches”

          The Bishop of Rome declared himself to be, the “One Pope”, and claimed primacy over the Eastern Bishops and the Eastern Churches, would not have a bar of it.

          Rome and the Eastern Churches mutually excommunicated each other, in 1054.

          “The major Churches of the East were founded by the apostles: Antioch by Peter and Paul, Alexandria by Mark, Constantinople by Andrew, Cyprus by Barnabas, Ethiopia by Matthew, India by Thomas, Edessa in eastern Syria by Thaddeus, Armenia by Bartholomew, Georgia by Simon the Zealot.”

          Roman Catholic compared to Eastern Orthodox? Very different.

          I attend a Greek Orthodox Church, which I love. It is extremely formal and casual all in one. Little kids have toys and books stashed around the church. Parishioners come during the service, lighting many candles during the service

          The Eastern Bishops, individually, do not claim infallibility. They meet at synods, (councils) convened to decide issues of doctrine, administration or application.

          “The Patriarch of Constantinople Bartholomew I is the spiritual leader of well over 250–300 million Orthodox Christians, though the Ecumenical Patriarch is not considered to be the head of the Eastern Orthodox Church. His official rank is primus inter pares (first among equals).

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Thanks for quoting that…one is spoiled to have that in one place (contrasting with, say, a simpler ‘click this’ or ‘click that,’ which could be a whole book, encyclopedia or a 10 hour long Youtube video for all we know), with bolded sections to highlight relevant points.

      2. Unna

        You are right. I was going to suggest recruiting out of a Catholic seminary so at least you could have some reasonable assurance that no judicial candidate would have ever experienced sexual involvement with a woman. Or better still, go all the way and just recruit out of the Sistine Chapel Choir circa 1700.

        And thanks for the music. Feelings evoked by this music take flight beyond words.

        1. ObjectiveFunction

          Ha! I do love me a well-tempered snark! Well played, U.

          Indeed, a lot of purse-lipped high horse moralizing in this normally pragmatic commentariat. And as for my FB feed, it’s a digital lynch mob of Hilbots.

          If Kav indeed climbed on a helpless woman, well that’s one thing, disgraceful and disqualifying. Tori Amos “Silent All These Years” was a hit at the time; even tipsy frat boys knew that behavior was wrong, unchivalric, simply assault.

          But simply echoing the can-you-top this? macho posturings of Kav’s chosen ‘Tom Sawyers Gang of Bloodthirsty Outlaws’ is perfectly normal teen behavior, if tasteless in hindsight, and as old as the hills. It is not elitist Gatsby ‘breaking people and things and retreating into their money’; it’s universal across classes and cultures. Join a group of 19 year old recruits (in any army) on their night off and see what you get. Or seminarians for that matter…

          Frankly, I’d worry more about nominating a judge who had no exposure to any of this behavior. I find Mike Pence denouncing his college girlfriend for immorality vastly more creepy. What’s that guy hiding? I have no wish to be judged by saints prior to meeting St Peter / the Heavenly Messenger Jabril (pbuh) / Shiva / Hermes Psychopompus / Anubis.

          If you’re still feeling all highbrow and judgy, you can go back even further to the 12th century bildungsromans of the Carmina Burana, which in Orff’s brilliant oratorio pour forth all the passions, frustrations and vanity of youth…


          11. Estuans interius

          Burning inside with violent anger;
          Bitterly I speak to my heart;
          Created from matter, of the ashes of the elements….
          Chains cannot hold me, keys cannot imprison me;
          I look for people like me and join the wretches….

          I travel the broad path as is the way of youth;
          I give myself to vice, unmindful of virtue;
          I am eager for the pleasures of the flesh, more than for salvation;
          My soul is dead, so I shall look after the flesh

          (Note that none of this means the Archpoeta actually spent all his time chasing tricks and hoz prior to expiring of plague)

          1. eg

            I didn’t get the impression that it would be bad adolescent behaviour that would invalidate a candidate for a lifetime Supreme Court position. I got the impression that it would be the lying about it.


    5. Hameloose Cannon

      Kavanaugh 83 is acting just as a young heir apparent should be acting. The central dilemma in transferring power by hereditary means is “How do you prepare your son or daughter to eventually rule without the youngsters immediately seizing power and killing you?” The spines of progeny must be spongy enough to necessitate dependence on those grooming him, but overtime, the spines must eventually ossify and toughen in order to take the reins of leadership. One avenue has been substance dependence. Allow a prince a good 20-25 years to overcome addiction, and they end up sobering up just in the nick of time, or dead. The depths of which the prince will plunge will calcify his heart just in time for dispatching adversaries. So it’s booze, gambling, or a crusade for the bros-in-waiting then see how things shake out in 35 years.

    6. Elizabeth Burton

      When social media first started becoming the in thing, people were warned repeatedly to think before they posted. However, it was also commonly noted that being on the internet gives people a sense of invulnerability because they don’t have to look people in the eye when they snarl at them, and there aren’t any disappointed shakes of the head when they post some totally idiotic action.

      I don’t think that’s changed much, and it likely won’t because people need to communicate with other people, and in this time when everyone from toddlers on up have their days scheduled to the quarter-hour most of that communication will be, ipso facto, via social media, text or some other electronic means.

      As for that text message:

      One more reason to stick with your landline:

      . Really?
      For an emergency alert? Who’s going to make all those phone calls, hmmm? And how many no longer have some kind of TV service other than streaming, so won’t get that emergency alert?

      I hope everyone realizes they have just been played by those who’ve been twisting our minds for the last 70-odd years. Thousands if not millions of people reacting to what is essentially the same thing as an Amber Alert or the lightning warnings I get from the Weather Channel as if it actually came from Donald Trump would be hilarious if it weren’t so terrifying.

  6. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    “Robert Mueller shedding more attorneys, suggesting parts of Russia probe are winding down” [Associated Press]. “Special counsel Robert Mueller is trimming more attorneys from his office, another sign his team of prosecutors is winding down parts of their investigation into potential ties between Russia and President Donald Trump’s campaign


    Maybe he will be available to investigate the FBI investigation of Kavanaugh/Ford.

    Who is better equipped to look into the FBI than a special counsel?

    1. polecat

      I think precedence dictates the CLINTONS, their aids and minions, their “foundation”, and WITH HER clandestine use of a ‘homebrew server … be investigated for highly probable corruption, malfeasance, and fraud !

      HeyZeus on a staff, get on with it already !!!

  7. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    “The loyalty oath nestled inside the new NAFTA” [Politico]. “Buried within the USMCA deal is a provision that requires any member of the pact to give three months’ notice to its partners if it launches negotiations with a non-market economy, which the United States considers China to be. The stipulation — which bears President Donald Trump’s fingerprints — means that if any of the North American countries enters into talks with China or another similar economy, the new three-way U.S.-Mexico-Canada deal can become a bilateral one. It also means that when it comes to the growing trade war with China, the U.S. is seeking to keep Canada and Mexico on its side.”


    Straight out of the Art of War.

    Trump needed to get this done, but somehow, see Roland at the top, some people feel that Canada took a serious beating.

    With Europe being relatively calm (having heard much on that trade war front), he can focus all on China.

  8. Carolinian

    Re Google is losing trust–the author doesn’t seem too worried about Google censorship, possible alliance with the Chinese government, “fake news” sites being blocked from Google News whether they are fake or just ideologically unfashionable. But then this is coming from Slate so they may approve of some censorship.

    However the premise is valid, not because of the overblown Chrome modification, but because a Google that takes partisan sides in elections or that blocks websites is a Google that people will simply avoid in favor or some other search engine. The “don’t do evil” motto was not a high minded expression of altruism but a declaration of dispassionate objectivity by a company that is supposedly in the information retrieval business (even if it’s really the advertising business). Once people start seeing Google as propaganda they are done.

    So maybe after some lapses they really aren’t going to do evil. The bottom line may win out over the establishment’s party line.

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      Typing in questions about political collusion regularly get me the robot check. Qwant as well.

  9. fresno dan

    “Academic Grievance Studies and the Corruption of Scholarship” [Aeon].

    There is the paper that labels men who masturbate while thinking about a woman without gaining her prior consent as perpetrators of sexual violence
    I couldn’t get their (adult stars) permission because the adult sites never returned my emails….in time

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      I believe, here, we are anticipating a pan-mind-reading world.

      “What you are thinking regarding me can hurt me, because I can mind-read it.”

      1. JBird4049

        Which is why we need to add the Thought Police to Homeland Security and pass StopThink legislation to prevent Thoughtcrime. We must protect the children from the horrors of abusive thinking!

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Imaginary (anything).

        Sometimes we imagine our adversary to be bigger than he/she/it is.

        Let’s start with map making. With the Mercatur projection, anything north is projected to be bigger than it actually is. So, for example, Russia, being far from the equator than many nations on the northern hemisphere, appears larger than she really is.

        A long time ago, on ancient maps, the top of a map was not always necessarily the north. In Egypt, for example, I believe, the pharaohs saw the east on the top of their maps.

        If you put the left coast on top of your map, using the same Mercatur projection, the left would appear bigger than it really is.

        And so, depending on our mental orientation, and how we project our round world into our flat thinking, the right or the left could be more, bigger, stronger, etc, than they really are.

        But it would be all imaginary.

        1. ObjectiveFunction

          Ssssooo…. if I try to read your comment together with the thread you’re responding to, are you implying your ahem “Southern Hemisphere” looks smaller than it really is?

          (Oh look, maybe this sophomoric humor just DQed me from higher office in the Humorless HR Panopticon of the Future)

          And Alexa is basically our “Ceiling Cat” at this point? (oh, go Google the meme)

    2. Mo's Bike Shop

      I had passing encounters with New Historicism back in college that left me scratching my head. ‘Important’ papers based on easily debunked assertions. One I recall was a reading based on the assertion that since an author called Diogenes a counterfeiter, the author was obviously indicating he was just making things up. Another argued that a Phil Sidney poem was all about him flaunting his male sexual freedom to Penelope ‘Hello Sailor’ Rich.

      So my Criticism courses were a wash. I left with the impression Deconstruction was for people who hadn’t done ‘shrooms. Luckily I learned a lot of useful critical tools on the fly from the old duffers in my area studies.

  10. allan

    Sokal Squared: a graduate student (you know, a worker) who wrote a negative review of one of the hoax papers speaks his mind. The hoaxsters are dining out on his unpaid labor. Nice.

    1. Lambert Strether Post author

      Yes, academia is full of unpaid labor; it would be impossible to have performed the hoax with, as it were, a clean supply chain.

      So what’s your point? It would have been better not do it?

    2. Big River Bandido

      Writing 15 papers in a matter of a few months? That’s a ton of work, too (well, except for the paper they wrote in 15 minutes using the Teenage Angst Poetry Generator). And I appreciated their work, especially given the circumstances under which I was reading it. My flight home yesterday kept getting delayed and I was consumed with annoyance. Reading the study abstracts at least kept me laughing until it was time to board.

  11. neighbor7

    The NY Times article on the Kavanaugh letter glosses his FFFFF signature as referring to his drunken stuttering of words beginning with F. My junior high memories, and Urban Dictionary, account fot the Five Fs differently

  12. clarky90

    ACLU Ad: Kavanaugh Like (equivalent to, the same as) Clinton, Cosby, Weinstein



    NEW: When we said we’re going to use the full force of the ACLU to stop Brett Kavanaugh, we meant it.

    We’re spending more than $1 million to run ads like this in Nebraska, Colorado, West Virginia, and Alaska ?

    7:18 AM – Oct 2, 2018”

    I foreshadowed this in yesterday’s Water Cooler. (I hadn’t heard of this ACLU add)

    “4) DNC operatives accuse Kavenaugh of being a predatory serial rapist, (with the complicity of the MSM) (5) Therefore, Harvey Weinstein is the now same as (equal to) Bret Kavenaugh (6) Call in the FBI (7) The accusations against BKav unravel. But the vote is delayed and BK is smeared.

    Ca-ching! (8) Harvey Weinstein (BK’s equivalence) must be innocent! ……”

    The DNC Bosses have recruited a “plucky band of rescuers”. They are tunneling under the walls of the, so-far impregnable “Sex Fiend Virtual-Penitentiary”. J Epstein’s helicopter is on high alert!. Bill Clinton, Bill Cosby, Matt Lauer, Harvey Weinstein, and Charlie Rose are stripped to their underwear, ready to crawl through the escape tunnel, to Freedom! The Great Escape. Will the searchlights of the “fascist guards” undo “Our Plucky Heroes”?

    Keep watching….!

    1. Daryl

      Organization that supported Citizens United things the Supreme Court is going down the tubes. Hmm.

  13. ChrisAtRU

    “Middle class,” not working class. “Employees,” not workers. And — speculating freely, here — Clinton hates Sanders so much she can’t bring herself to mention him. (Also, of course, Clinton thought $15 was too much, and that $12 would be better.)

    #NailedIt … I will only add this:

    #BernieWouldHaveWon … ;-)

    1. ChrisAtRU

      “Has Kavanaugh never heard of the concept of a “paper trail”? Or was his sense of impunity so strong he didn’t worry?”

      This sense of impunity is endemic is to those at the top of the class structure. Meanwhile, those on the outside are serving multiple-decade terms for marijuana possession (for example).

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          We depend on the (apparent) kindness of a stranger-boss.

          Breaking it up will take away that power.

          It would seem to be a more fundamental struggle, no, senator Sanders?

  14. tokyodamage

    “Academic Grievance Studies and the Corruption of Scholarship” :
    to me the real scandal is how the academic journals charge people 42 dollars, per day, per article, to read the writing. I learned this from clicking the professors’ link to their (fake) article, in the absolutely-real “Fat Studies Journal”.

    Why are none of these complain-about-injustice, constantly-triggered-ass professors. . . why are they not complaining about the academic journal cartels? If they’re so radical, so anti injustice, why don’t they boycott the cartels altogether? If you’re going to fight the power, why not start with the power in your own backyard?

    also, here’s a free link to some of the papers – only the papers that actually got published already. the ones ‘vetted by experts and phds’ and found to be worthy of 42 dollars a day.

    i bet the ones that didn’t get published are even funnier.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      In school, at almost all levels, knowledge descends from above, the way God revealed information.

      It’s easy or tempting for the young, impressionable to err into idol- worshiping, and $42 per day is like giving tithe.

  15. Gary

    I just got the “alert” too. I am getting dizzy from all of this circling the drain…

    I have a Raspberry PI. It’s what I mainly use to watch TV instead of a Firestick or Roku. They are tons of fun. Since they can run from an SD card, all you need to do is swap in another one to repurpose it.

    1. Craig H.

      A couple minutes after the alert and I had clicked past it the thought occurred to me that I forgot to check and see if I could have replied. And I thought of what I could have replied.

      Was that a possibility? Did they get 50 000 000 replies ~ “f___ off and die you slimy piece of s___!!!”?

      1. Randy

        I heard the Alert tones and walked across the room to see what it said.

        It disappeared. I CAN”T FIND IT!!!!! It’s not in my text messages, it’s not anywhere. What did it say!! Should I load my shotgun? Take cover? Kiss my ass goodbye? Kiss my wife goodbye and embrace her and wait for The End? Go to the store and empty the shelves into my carts? I don’t know what to do and I am totally stressed out! Crap!

        Oh, it was just a test.

  16. Mark in Portland

    “Well, if Susan Collins wants to trade something for her Kavanaugh vote, there it is.”

    Besides the $4 billion in suspiciously-timed Bath Iron Works contracts, you mean?

  17. ACF

    Re “the previous investor-state dispute settlement system, which allows investor companies to bring claims against member-country governments, will be phased out between the U.S. and Canada, while certain industries (such as energy, infrastructure, and telecommunications) will still be able to bring such cases against Mexico.””

    Yes, it’s great the ISDS goes away for the US and Canada. But allowing big oil, big Internet/phone, and toll road investors (or whatever Big Infrastructure is about) to sue Mexico just smacks of the Banana Republic dynamic of of ISDS generally–using a legal system instead of an army to subjugate a 3rd World government to corporate interests.

  18. Pat

    As I recall, Clinton didn’t even start with wanting any raise in the minimum wage, the twelve dollar one was a very grudging move to the left. Same with Cuomo who fought but finally realized the best he was going to do was a stepped increase of the minimum wage (the fight for fifteen people were making real inroads in NY):

    For workers in New York City employed by large businesses (those with at least 11 employees), the minimum wage would rise to $11 at the end of 2016, then another $2 each year after, reaching $15 on 12/31/2018.
    For workers in New York City employed by small businesses (those with 10 employees or fewer), the minimum wage would rise to $10.50 by the end of 2016, then another $1.50 each year after, reaching $15 on 12/31/2019.
    For workers in Nassau, Suffolk and Westchester Counties, the minimum wage would increase to $10 at the end of 2016, then $1 each year after, reaching $15 on 12/31/2021.
    For workers in the rest of the state, the minimum wage would increase to $9.70 at the end of 2016, then another .70 each year after until reaching $12.50 on 12/31/2020 – after which will continue to increase to $15 on an indexed schedule to be set by the Director of the Division of Budget in consultation with the Department of Labor.

    Clinton applauded this in April of 2016, but refused to promise to say she would support this nationally as part of her ‘administration’, weak tea though it was.

    She wanted to do right but was really caught in a rock/hard place between those funding her billion dollar campaign and voters./s

    1. Randy

      It will be interesting to see what Bill’s and Hill’s funerals will be like. Oh the anticipation, I can’t wait.

      1. fajensen

        That could be a long time off. Both have all the health care that money can buy plus the care that only special friends close to nation state resources can secure. And countless human sacrifices performed in the ancient places where angels and worse things once roamed.

        All bases are covered for an unaturally long lifespan and restless afterlife. One would be thinking twice about peeing on their grave!

      2. drumlin woodchuckles

        They will both be attended by the Great and the Good, the High and the Mighty, the Rich and the Powerful.

        For Hillary, there will be many hundreds of rich and near-rich Goldman-Sachs feminists in attendance. And pink pussy hats. Endless thousands of pink pussy hats.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Millions of Clinton’s supporters hate Sanders just as much as she does. If Sanders gets the DemPrez nomination in 2020, millions of Clintonite voters will vote for Trump to show the depth of their hatred for Sanders. Enough Clintonite votes to get Trump elected? We’ll see.

      Other millions of Clintonites will vote Third Party or Not Vote . . . not quite voting FOR Trump but still hoping to be “half-as-effective” in getting Sanders defeated.

      I have said before that the Clintonites . . . the Irredeemables . . . . will be a deadly threat and a menace to political progress for decades to come.

      1. ChrisAtRU

        This faction could never deliver Trump a 2nd term. We refer to them derisively as the #H8Percent. A poll of Dem voters revealed that the percentage of such voters who had a very negative opinion of Sanders was around 8%.

        We are many. They are few.

        1. Richard

          They are few. And their voice is amplified. And they are shameless liars. Add those together, and you get a group that is constantly at war with reality. It’s a wonder they can stand up. How on earth do they intend to govern the country?
          The sad answer: They don’t. They don’t care enough to win, why would they want to govern? They just want to rule. And it’s their turn dammit.
          I hope you are right, and they are pushed into irrelevance by our numbers.

          1. Kokuanani

            Just check out Neera Tanden’s constant presence on MSNBC. Bleech. She just can’t get over it.

        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          The 2-time-Obama voters who vote-switched to Trump were very few. And the black voters of Milwaukee who boycotted the election were very few.

          But those few were enough to make the difference that made the difference. The Jonestown Clinties don’t have to be many to be destructive.

      2. Elizabeth Burton

        There only seems to be a lot of them because they’ve hired professionals to ensure no compliment of Bernie goes unchallenged and any criticism of Hillary brings down the wrath of Deity. So, they have algorithms to alert them when to appear, which makes it seem like they are legion.

        The main problem is that all the propaganda about how qualified she was and how she would have implemented a health care program if the nasty right-wing conspiracy hadn’t been constantly attacking her, and that anyone who demurs from the gilded image is clearly a misogynist alt-right redneck moron was very, very effective. It works that way with people who, like the tweeter quoted in today’s Links clutching their pearls that Amazon employees were losing their stock options, are utterly clueless how the majority of people live. The ones I now refer to as The Comfortables.

      3. Darthbobber

        Don’t think its anywhere near as high as the off-their-meds Clintonites might make you think. His approval numbers among rank-and-file registered Democrats are too high for that to be the case. And in the most recent polling I’ve seen his highest approval ratings are among the African Americans formerly known as the Firewall, and among Democratic women. So the Berniebro and racist memes seriously failed to have effect outside the professional political circles.

      4. Big River Bandido

        According to the latest Gallup poll, Clinton’s approval rating is at a toxic 36%.

        That will go down even further as soon as she enters a campaign.

  19. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    From the USA Today article on Trump, NAFTA:

    This deal’s big “win” for the United States is an agreement by Canada to remove some protections for its domestic dairy industry. This might mean a lot to American dairy farmers, but not so much for the remaining 99.9% of the country. What’s more, Canada had already agreed to similar language with other countries in Asia and the Americas as part of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

    Again, we look to China.

    Agriculture is targeted by China – this is one of the ways to address.

    The 99% of the country, in particular, manufacturing, relates to the on-going trade war with China.

    So, looking at a bigger picture, it makes (more) sense, than just looking the way the USA Today editors did.

    And by the way, now, it’s USA-Canada-Mexico agreement (or is it USA-Mexico-Canada, or Canada-Mexico-USA?), and not N(orth)A(America)F(free)…

    Why USA, Canada and Mexico and not North America?

    Is it to preclude the emerging nation of California from being a part of it?

    Is Trump thinking that far?

      1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

        Thanks for pointing that out.

        Luck for them, Cuba, among others, has escaped that free-trade-deal all these years.

  20. Moriæ Encomium

    “Grievance studies”: as an exercise in statistical reasoning, I don’t think it proves much. The sample size is very small (no doubt because it’s genuinely laborious to write even fake papers). Moreover, one crucial piece of information is missing: the background acceptance rates of the journals in question. If the Journal of Radical Inequality accepts everything that comes over the transom, then it’s not surprising that one of the “grievance studies” papers was published. To show in a statistically responsible manner that pandering has an effect it is not sufficient to show that papers that pander get accepted. You have to show that the acceptance rate is significantly higher than the rate one would expect given background acceptance rates.

    One would like to know that basis of the following claim: “We improved this ratio [of reaching the peer-review stage] from 0% at first to 94.4% after a few months of experimenting with much more hoaxish papers”. That last percentage is approximately equivalent to getting 19 of every 20 papers accepted. The sample size on which that claim is based has to be less than twenty, perhaps quite a bit less, unless the sample size is the number of submissions, not the number of papers. (I suspect that they are talking about a trend curve.)

    Furthermore: notice that the acceptance rate at the outset was 0%. Presumably the first papers they wrote had as much “panderingness” as the later papers. Only their degree of hoaxishness changed — it went down. Isn’t it possible that the increase in success rate is owing as much to “academic virtue signalling” as to pandering? After all, that may well have been the only quality that varied through the trials? I’ve seen reviews of papers I’ve submitted from which it seemed very likely that the reviewer hadn’t done much more than look at the abstract and at my credentials. If that’s the case often enough, the system will be easy to fool.

    One could argue that the papers are such that in a best of all worlds none would have been accepted (a hypothetical “prior estimate” of 0); that seven (or 10, as they estimate) were accepted is evidence that we do not live in the best world. If, on the other hand, the noise level is high enough, so that a significant portion of papers are accepted because reviewers are lax and editors not choosy, then again it has not been proved that pandering has an effect, but only that the reviewing process isn’t filtering out enough noise.

    It’s too bad that any of these papers was published, but it’s also too bad that the authors didn’t offer stronger support for their systemic claim, i.e. that large parts of academia are infected with social constructionism.

    1. Moriæ Encomium

      By the way, the venue that “Academic grievance studies” was published in is Areo, not Aeon. Politically they’re quite distinct.

    2. dk

      It’s also unfortunate that the authors, or for that matter most people, didn’t take an interest in information theory, where we can see that all communication channels are prone to error which can only be detected after presence, and by extension that invalid information can be injected for specific effect. Peer-review processes are developed specifically to address these conditions. But of course such review processes are themselves prone to error/loss/injection.

      It’s a grievance study decrying grievance studies. The authors apparent willingness to present this lampoon as a concrete basis for selective elimination of particular structures of inquiry is alarming.

  21. Unna

    From this morning ‘s links:

    “If there’s any lesson to be learned after months of tense negotiations, it’s this: Canada should never again allow itself to be overly dependent upon one trading partner. Canada must diversify its products and services that liberate Canadians from the stranglehold of geography.”

    Canadian Neoliberal Conservatives and Liberals need to get a clue that wealth generation is not just trade deals. It’s also production which assures independence. We’ll see what the NDP has on offer next election.

    So far this doesn’t look too bad (fingers crossed) but Canadians need to heed what the Professor has recommended.


    1. Roland

      The alternet article makes no mention of the Chapter 33 on monetary policy.

      Devaluation was what helped protect Canada from the worst ravages of FTA and NAFTA during the 1990’s (for a while the CAD was below 70 cents US). But now the USMCA partners could take us to dispute resolution over that sort of thing.

      Also under Ch. 33: the IMF gets involved in watchdogging monetary policy in the USMCA. Enter the hitmen!

      A monetary straitjacket could become a fiscal straitjacket.

      Ch. 35 restricts our ability to pursue trade deals with outside parties.

      Bye-bye sovereignty. Hello continentalism. And we all know who’s the continent’s hegemon.

      Trump just absolutely pwned Trudeau!

      And the stupid Canadian MSM are congratulating our fearless leaders on keeping a few things, e.g Ch. 19, that they had already!

      1. Unna

        Thanks very much for this. This resolution maybe is just one big political selfie for Junior. He saved autos to look good for the election, but sold out on the long term important stuff. But are we sure that Trump pwned Trudeau, or that this was all just fake Kabuki between Trudeau, Freeland, Morneau, continentalist-neoliberals, and the Wall Street Trump team, of continentalist-neoliberals. And I agree that the Canadian MSM’s 24/7 tongue bath for Trudeau and friends has been disgusting to the point where it’s hard to figure out anything. So once again, thanks.

  22. JBird4049

    “Academic Grievance Studies and the Corruption of Scholarship”


    “The Super-Rich Are Stockpiling Wealth in Black-Box Charities”

    Coincidence? Beyond giving the children of nomenklatura employment?


    More seriously, I want to note part of the reason eugenics, race “science,” and bogus intelligence tests became so widespread is because very, very wealthy people like Ford, Carnegie, and others either donated directly to or set up charitable foundations that did themselves to advocates of such things. Much better to pay some foundation to support some variety of Social Darwinism than paying taxes to help the current Deplorables. After all you “earned” your money while they are lazy or inferior.

    1. Mo's Bike Shop

      I was thinking about that with the recent run of view-from-nowhere behavior studies in links: that laziness is normal and useful (duh, it’s life versus entropy), humans enjoy helping regardless of personal benefit (however did mammoth hunters survive with such bleading-heart instincts?), or that Dark Core thing (the how-neurotic-are-they spectrum is a simpler rule of thumb for me). For some reason these researchers appear surprised that humans don’t respond like some Calvinist automaton. Perhaps knowledge actually advances one foundation bankruptcy at a time?

  23. Unna

    Concerning Russia’s recent regional elections, see this RT article. https://www.rt.com/politics/440235-pm-medvedev-united-russia/

    Putin’s United Russia Party lost some elections to the real Russian opposition parties: the Communist Party of the Russian Federation and the Liberal-Democrats. The Liberal Democrats, as per RT, backs an “openly populist and nationalist program.” And as far as what I’ve read this is correct.

    So the real opposition to Putin is from the populist nationalist “Right” and the Communist nationalist “Left”; left right whatever. I’ve read commentary that this is a good development for Russia, ie, the coalescence of particular political parties together to form a coherent electoral-political based opposition that people can vote for as opposed to being subject to insider oligarch or Security Services clan rule.

    And I believe the lesson here is that Putin, when he goes, will be replaced by neither by a drunk Boris II, nor a Navalny type Western propaganda instrument, but an economic populist and proponent of Russian Statism with a heavy emphasis on traditional values and religious/ethnic inclusiveness. We’ll see.

    1. Unna

      At least speaking for myself, it’s Strange Times when you find yourself going to both the WSWS and the American Canservative.

        1. Wukchumni

          It was subtle @ first, the invasion. Guy Lombardo didn’t hide his Canadianess as they were the band, and Lorne Greene was the first of the Lornes but not the last, America’s out west widower, never to to wed again in vivid color.

          1. Carolinian

            The Canadians Among US–I believe it was once a skit on SCTV if anyone remembers that (Second City Toronto–John Candy etc).

          2. Unna

            Canadian Bacon, the movie. “All I said was, the beer sucks.” And then the RCMP guy beats up John Candy. Love it. But as for the beer, you still have to buy imported from the European Union.

        2. JBird4049

          Well, neither one is denying reality are they? I might not agree sometimes with WSWS always and very often with the American Conservative, but both have honest writers, and an agenda that is not shilling for the Neoliberal Free Market Capitalism All Wars Forever All the Time of our Meritocracy.

          It was from the American Conservative that I learned about Yemen. They have pounding the drums on the American government’s support of the Saudi’s Yemenese atrocity for years now. They also have done work on the Israeli created apartheid/security state/land grab.. They also hit the Democrats, Republicans, and free trade,

      1. Mo's Bike Shop

        I’ve seen Tucker Carlson doing effective video journalism.

        ‘Dogs and cats, living together…’

  24. flora

    re: “Nancy Pelosi Not On Board With Impeaching Brett Kavanaugh” [HuffPo].

    “That would not be my plan,” she added, saying Democrats are “not about dividing the country. We’re about ‘E pluribus plutocrats unum.’”

    Fixed it for her. ;)

    1. drumlin woodchuckles

      Well . . . Pelosi backed and protected W. Bush when the chips were down. Why would she do any less for Associate Justice Kavanaugh?

    2. pretzelattack

      it’s so inspiring, seeing republicans and democrats working together to support plutocracy.

  25. roxan

    Academic grievance study article–funniest thing I’ve read in a long time! What insanity….

  26. ewmayer

    o Hillary’s “In the face of an administration that doesn’t care about the middle class” is especially galling because it appears to be meant to imply that an HRC administration, by way of contrast, would have cared about the middle/working class. Yah, I’m sure she excoriated the looter elite about gutting the working class in all those ten-grand-a-minute speeches to Wall Street. Lemme guess, “I told them to cut it out”.

    o “Self-playing pipe organ” [The MagPi Magazine]. “To make it play, each wooden pipe has a valve opened and closed by a solenoid, triggered from an Arduino Due via a power-boosting driver board. The ‘brains’ of the operation is a Raspberry Pi.” • Neat project! — Hmmm, coming hard on the heels of Quartz’s WayMo-self-driving-#Fail piece as it does, I’m picturing classic church organs being retrofitted with this tech, and a future followup story along these lines: “[T]he human organist manning the instrument ‘appeared to doze off’ after about an hour into the performance, according to two people familiar with the matter. The safety player unwittingly turned off the organ’s self-playing software by touching the crescendo pedal. He failed to assume control of the organ console, and the [Baroque-period Schnitger organ] emitted a catasrophically loud crescendo and crashed through the church wall…. The dozing organist didn’t respond to any of the instrument’s warnings, including a bell signaling the organ was in manual mode and another audio alert, the Information reported. He regained alertness once the organ crashed, then turned around and headed back to the Ede, Netherlands office. He no longer works for Johannus Orgelbouw.”

    1. ChrisPacific

      “Congratulations on $15, but let’s remember what’s really important here: Trump is awful!”

  27. VietnamVet

    It is chilling the disconnection and increasing separation between the classes and the seven sexes of humankind: Pre-adolescent males, pre-adolescent females, fertile men, fertile women, pregnant women, post-menopausal women, post-child-bearing men. The ideology and politics have become so severe that western society has separated into parallel universes on this earth. No better case than Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation. I see an enraged functional alcoholic in denial who should be at best a corner lawyer. Three women accusers see an adolescent drunken assaulter. Old white males see that their privilege and status under attack.

    In fact, he is the symptom of the decline in governance across the West. The plutocrats have so corrupted the system that it is impossible to get competent civil servants to run society. I am still astonished that Interior Secretary Zinke wants to blockade Russian oil shipments. UN Secretary Haley said the USA will take out Russian Intermediate Nuclear Missiles. C. Christine Fair, former political officer with the UN Assistance Mission to Afghanistan; “We castrate their corpses and feed them to swine.” This is insane. Do they really not know what they are asking for is a world at war?

      1. Wukchumni

        Misfortune Cookie saying:

        May you live in interesting times, and I guess you’re wondering what happened to all the strays in the neighborhood, eh?

        Unlucky Numbers

        42, 43, 44, 45

    1. Darthbobber

      Can’t blame Haley for the missile idiocy. That was Kay Bailey Hutchinson, our NATO ambassador.

  28. John Beech

    What the hell is happening in DC? Same thing as is happening in Florida! I live in FL and am a registered Republican voter. The kind who votes in mid-terms. As background, the Republican controlled state legislature has ignored the will of +70% of Florida-voters who approved a constitutional amendment pro medical marijuana back in 2016. Something about voters didn’t intend for them to smoke it.

    My point? While I don’t smoke pot, I know when politicians are railroading me – as a citizen – and I resent it. What am I going to do about it? Simple! Next month I’m going to vote for the Democrat running for the office of Governor (Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum) instead of the Republican (former 6th District Congressman Ron DeSantis). And I’m going to vote for every Democrat on the ticket.

    Why? It’s because there’s only one message politicians understand – fear for their sinecure. So basically I’m sending them a message . . . and I’ll do it again to President Trump come 2020 if the Democrats field a candidate like Senator Bernie Sanders, who is on the record as being pro-pot simply because a) it’s what the people want, and b) because legalizing it will put tax dollars in our coffers, and c) because that will hold down my taxes, which is all I really care about in terms of marijuana.

  29. allan

    National Archives Confirms Existence of Numerous Kavanaugh Records on Surveillance Programs [EPIC]

    In response to EPIC’s Freedom of Information Act suit, the National Archives has now confirmed that there are hundreds of records concerning Brett Kavanaugh’s role in controversial White House surveillance programs, including warrantless wiretapping and the Patriot Act. The programs were later suspended, curtailed, or modified by Congress. The communication to EPIC revealed that Kavanaugh sent 11 e-mails to John Yoo, the architect of warrantless wiretapping; 227 e-mails about “surveillance” programs and the “Patriot Act;” and 119 e-mails concerning “CAPPS II” (passenger profiling), “Fusion Centers” (government surveillance centers), and the Privacy Act. The National Archives has processed roughly 300,000 pages of Judge Kavanaugh’s records between 2001 and 2003. These records will be released this month pending White House approval. EPIC has warned that Kavanaugh, both as a top-level White House aide and then as a federal appellate judge, has shown little regard for the Constitutional privacy rights of Americans.

    Weirdly, or not, this conflicts with Kavanaugh’s 2006 confirmation testimony:

    Sen. Patrick Leahy Verified account @SenatorLeahy

    THREAD #4: A point-by-point breakdown of Judge Kavanaugh’s claims about his work on a controversial wireless wiretapping program. …

    Even in the absence of any assault allegations, BK should not be on SCOTUS, or any court for that matter.

    1. marym

      Here are the links to the other threads in the series.

      THREADS AHEAD: Here are POINT-BY-POINT breakdowns, accompanied by exhibits and organized by topic, explaining numerous instances where Judge Kavanaugh misled the Senate under oath.

      THREAD #1: A point-by-point breakdown of Judge Kavanaugh’s claims about the Manny Miranda email theft scandal.

      THREAD #2: A point-by-point breakdown of Judge Kavanaugh’s claims about his work on Judge Pryor’s nomination.

      THREAD #3: A point-by-point breakdown of Judge Kavanaugh’s claims about his work on Judge Pickering’s nomination.

      THREAD #5: A point-by-point breakdown of Judge Kavanaugh’s claims about his work on a Bush administration detention and interrogation policies.

    1. Pat

      I did have the thought that for any employee not making a starting wage, this might not be a winner. The person behind the tweet was apparently making $14/hour and in a position where there was monthly attendance and productivity bonuses. So they probably will take a hit, where a large number of others won’t
      The real winning move on Amazon’s part would be to take the hit on the pay raises, and keep the incentives they thought were necessary for various employee groups before the new company minimum. But I am guessing that figure everyone will miss the follow up reports of stiffing somr employees in other manners.

  30. allan

    Trump administration abruptly ends key law enforcement program at wildlife refuges [The Hill]

    The Trump administration is abruptly ending a decades-long program that trained national wildlife refuge managers with law enforcement capabilities to police often remote spots of public land.

    The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) announced to employees on Sept. 21 that refuge managers who were also trained to police the area would no longer be able to act in any enforcement capacity and would be stripped of their firearm, according to an internal FWS email shared with The Hill.

    Sources said the decision came as a shock to many of the people who have worked in the position, known as dual-function officers, including retirees who had spent decades in the role at their respective refuges.

    Critics argued it would lead to new violations in the refuges.

    “It means there will be lots of violations, wildlife violations as in over-bagged hunting areas, damaged fences, signs, roads and all kinds of damage to the environment. If there is no one there to enforce the law, that would spread like wildfire,” said Kim Hanson, who retired from FWS in 2008 after more than 30 years at the agency. “It’s an extreme disservice to the American people because they expect us to take care.” …

    Critics say the rollback of law enforcement officers in any capacity seems like odd timing.

    “It doesn’t make any sense,” said Lloyd Jones, who retired from the FWS in 2013 after decades of working at multiple refuges across South Dakota as a dual-officer.

    “The dual functions that have been there for decades have been extremely effective in compliance, and now it’s being taken off the table almost over night,” Jones said.

    Jones spent a lot of his time at refuges in North Dakota policing neighbors to make sure they were not draining the wetlands on or near the public land.

    In that capacity, he sometimes had heated or dangerous encounters with economically anxious angry landowners. …

    The best way to rob a country is to run one.

  31. Pat

    While the ISDS in TPP was a nightmare, other issues included items now accomplished with the Nafta update. Spreading our ridiculously generous copyright and patent protection standards meant to rip consumers off as long as possible is practically a religion for our “leaders”.

    I actually remember some talking head going on and on about how the movie “Sound of Music” would go into public domain in some countries of TPP wasn’t passed because it was going to be fifty years old. Now I would fill bad for some of the artists who would lose the partial pennies on the dollar they might receive from the studio’s income for streaming and broadcast, but my attitude was fifty years is long enough, it should be public domain in America too.

    But forget entertainment products, that this would included truly stupid drug protections where our government bends over backwards to delay or eliminate generic and biosimilar drugs and allow price gouging as the norm is truly disgusting and appalling.

  32. Wukchumni

    Well he was just seventeen
    You know what I mean
    And the way he drank
    Was way beyond compare

    So how could he have a dalliance with another,
    Oh, when he saw her standing there
    Well she looked at he
    And he, he could see
    That before too long
    He’d try and fall in love with her

    She wouldn’t have sex with another
    Oh, when he saw her standing there
    Well her heart went into doom
    When he crossed that room
    And she claimed he held her down for a time

    Oh he drank through the night
    And she says he held her down tight
    And before too long
    He gave up on her
    Now he claims to have never advances with another
    Oh, when she claims he saw her laying there

    Well the Senate turned into loons
    When she addressed that room
    And she told about her minute in time

    Oh he danced around the charges
    And he perjured himself with all his might
    And before too long
    I fell in love with her
    Now he’ll never advance to the Supremes
    Oh, when he saw her laying there
    Oh, since he saw her laying there
    Yeah, well since he saw her laying there


  33. tegnost

    independents lean 28 percent to 26 percent for Democrats, with 29 percent saying not sure; if these percentages carry over till November the Democrats’ numerical advantage will prevail.”
    They’re going to toss kavanaugh to the wolves. He probably deserves it…

  34. Darthbobber

    Good day for reading The Baffler. Aaron Timms up with a fairly long piece on what he refers to as the “blip thinkers”, firm believers in the Whig theory of history (spiral staircase of Gradual Progress, essentially), who invariably perceive departures from their paradisiacal interlude as inexplicable glitches and feel that the only appropriate course is to get the damn people back on the right path, as opposed to questioning the path at all. Worth the read


    These people are not simply being disingenuous, though they do plenty of that as well. Their thinking is almost literally incapable of seeing any other possibility. (TINA in their minds, as opposed to in reality.)

Comments are closed.