2:00PM Water Cooler 10/8/2018

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Readers, I’ve gotta say it seems weird not to sit down at the computer and figure out what to say about the Kavanaugh hearings. –lambert


“Benefits of the US-China Trade War” [Valdai Discussion Club]. “[T]he ‘benefits’ of the trade war are manifold. First, it enables us to see that during the unprecedented era of international transition, the United States, as the No. 1 hegemony [sic], still has the capacity to exert maximum pressure and deterrence on catch-up countries. Immanuel Wallerstein once said that the decline of international hegemony is far from a straight downward trend. Often the country will maintain its hegemony for quite a long time and still retain dominance over other countries in many ways. Wallerstein’s judgment, at least in the US-China trade war, has been verified. This tells those radicals, who could hardly wait to change dynasties, that various predictions such as, so-called ‘No. 2’ to replace the ‘No. 1’ is far from the reality in the near future. The ‘benefits’ of this trade war, in particular, lie in rendering the Chinese better aware of their country’s development status quo and its role on the world stage. On the one hand, please don’t have any illusions that China will recoil in this trade war. ‘Fighting to the end” is probably most Chinese unswerving attitude. Objectively speaking, China’s total economic volume is 82 trillion RMB and the foreign trade just accounts for about one-tenth. For the 8 trillion foreign trade, Sino-US trade only accounts for about one-third. The impact of this war for China’s overall national economic growth rate is about 0.2% to 0.5%. The Chinese are able to manage this zheteng, which means ‘much ado about nothing.’ On the other hand, the Chinese are better aware that first, China’s economy is still “developing”, leaving a big gap with the international cutting-edge technology. For the core industry, there is still much to do as well. In addition, there are many tasks, including poverty alleviation, to accomplish. To tell the truth, China cannot have the slightest sense of complacency.

“European and Asian automotive manufacturers are considering moving more manufacturing to North America following the recent U.S. trade deal with Canada and Mexico” [Wall Street Journal] “[T]he companies are weighing shifts in their supply chains as they grow increasingly nervous that more restrictions could emerge as the Trump administration turns to trade talks with Japan and the European Union. BMA AG, Daimler AG and Mazda Motor Corp. are among those that say they may struggle to meet the higher North American content requirements on cars.”


Please Kill Me Now

“Join President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton as they participate in live events with audiences across North America” [An Evening with the Clintons]. “Experience a one-of-a-kind conversation with two individuals who have helped shape our world and had a front seat to some of the most important moments in modern history. From the American presidency to the halls of the Senate and State Department to one of the United States’ most controversial and unpredictable presidential elections, they provide a unique perspective on the past, and remarkable insight into where we go from here.” CNN: “While the events were billed as a chance for an “intimate conversation” with the former first lady, Live Nation booked arenas — including the United Center in Chicago — for the tour… Ticket prices run the gamut based on each location, but top tickets at the couple’s events in Texas cost $699. The least expensive tickets at some of the events were around $70.” • Grifters gotta grift.


“Trump’s Secret Weapon in 2020” [Bloomberg]. “Tax reform has provided a needed boost to the economy, and the oil and gas boom has increased the demand for manufacturing and construction workers. It’s just that rising oil prices mean that majority of Americans have seen little improvement in their daily finances, which is what matters most when they go to the polls next month. Look more long-term, however, and the outlook for workers is more positive. Industry investment in infrastructure is projected to allow for strong increases in oil production growth in late 2019. Those increases will bring not only more jobs but also lower prices. Which brings us to 2020. Today’s cost-of-living increases in inflation will probably reverse themselves in 2020, giving an extra boost to most working families. That boost could redound to Trump’s benefit as he seeks re-election.” • I dunno. Sounds like a Rube Goldberg device, to me.

UPDATE “$15 and a union” isn’t a bad sound-byte:

UPDATE The Attorney General who wants to be President:

This is Schneiderman-level flaccidity. Pounding the table after the deal goes down! The Democrat Senators, instead of interrogating Kavanaugh, focused on demanding an FBI investigation. The Republicans gave them one and — as a child of six could have predicted — rigged it. Where were the Democrats when the the investigation was organized? Silent, of course!


28 days until Election Day. 28 days is a long time in politics. And remember that October is the month of surprises!

For Monday, another horse race analysis, besides Inside Elections and the Cook Report, except that RealClearPolitics has a chart:

Sure, just one poll, but one narrative leaps out: The Kavanaugh nomination moved toss-ups into the Republican column. It will be interesting to see if we get confirmation for that elsewhere.

“How Kavanaugh Could Boost Turnout” [Cook Political Report]. “The only real change from the Kavanaugh saga could be in voter turnout, but it’s not clear what difference it will make. Democrats, liberals, and certain segments of women were already pretty energized, and I’m not sure they could get much more so….. Still, one can make a case that this blue Democratic wave is actually a pink wave, as we are seeing surging numbers of women voters, donors, and candidates this year….. Since there was, at least up until the past few weeks, a pronounced energy and intensity gap between the two parties, with Democrats and liberals considerably more torqued up than Republicans and conservatives, Kavanaugh might narrow that gap a little bit. There are some indications in polling that such a narrowing has happened. There had been considerable complacency among many Republican voters, particularly those in the Trump base. Now many view Kavanaugh as being treated unfairly, and they may be lured off the sidelines and onto the field.”

“Gender, Supreme Court, and the midterms” [YouGov]. “A rise in enthusiasm, however, is clear among Republicans, although the increase is limited to GOP men. Last week, 60% of Republican men said they were more enthusiastic than usual in voting in this year’s congressional elections. This week the percentage has risen 11 points. There was little change among Republican women.” • The Democrats, of course, are trying to appeal to Republican women…..

UPDATE “Anger vs. elation: Parties scrap for Kavanaugh edge in midterms” [Politico]. “‘Anger always lasts longer than happiness,’ said Celinda Lake, a veteran Democratic pollster. ‘Our side is going to be angry. We know anger lasts. What we don’t know is, does winning lead to energy or does it lead to complacency? That’s going to be the challenge they’re going to face.'” • Interesting explanation of the liberal Democrat preference for “fighting” (anger) over winning (happiness). But I think the Republicans are angry, too.

UPDATE “Survey of battleground House districts shows Democrats with narrow edge” [WaPo]. “The survey of 2,672 likely voters by The Post and the Schar School at George Mason University shows that likely voters in [69 battleground House districts] favor Democrats by a slight margin: 50 percent prefer the Democratic nominee and 46 percent prefer the Republican. By way of comparison, in 2016 these same districts favored Republican candidates over Democratic ones by 15 percentage points, 56 percent to 41 percent.”

“After flap, Trump says he has no plans to fire Rosenstein” [Associated Press]. “Trump told reporters at the White House that he had ‘a very good relationship’ with Rosenstein and was eager to speak with him aboard Air Force One on a flight to Florida for the International Association of Chiefs of Police conference…. Besides the meeting with Trump, Rosenstein has also agreed to a private meeting with House Republicans who want to question him about his reported statements on the president.” • No October surprise there, then?

2016 Post Mortem

UPDATE “Did the Fed accidentally help Trump win in 2016?” [The Week]. “[T]he central bank’s decision to finally start raising interest rates in late 2015 likely hit American sectors like energy, agriculture, and manufacturing hard. The result was a ‘mini-recession,’ as Neil Irwin termed it in The New York Times. ‘Severe in certain places, but concentrated enough that it did not throw the overall United States economy into contraction.’… That mini-recession dragged down key industries in rural areas that ultimately swung for Trump, just in time the for the 2016 election.” • I’d like to see this worked out at the district level. For example, Mosler consistently pointed to low capex in the oil patch as a recessionary indicator throughout that period. But I don’t think the districts that flipped to Trump were in the oil patch.

Realignment and Legitimacy

UPDATE Take out any idea. Compare ideas, with the one idea left we are left you have no doubt and without a doubt we have enthusiasm:

UPDATE “Could America’s Democrats be ‘Corbynised’?” [Ruy Teixeira, Unherd]. “Nor is it the case that incumbents and moderates are being thrown out wholesale and replaced with candidates much farther to their Left. Across the country, only two Democratic incumbents in the House lost primaries, and none in the Senate did. A Brookings study found that self-described “progressive Democrats” did well in primaries this election season but establishment Democrats actually did somewhat better. Thus, the change in the party is less a Leftward surge featuring new politicians (though this is happening to some extent) and more a steady party-wide movement to the Left… If there is a wild card here, it is less likely Sanders than an increasing Leftism on ‘identity politics’ issues around race, gender, LGBT issues and so on. It is possible that the Democrats could embrace these issues so thoroughly that it would come to define the party to the exclusion of economic and policy issues, however big. My sense is that Democratic politicians are aware of this possibility and will strenuously seek to avoid it out of sheer electoral self-interest. But we shall see.” • Holy moley, what an incoherent piece. Teixeira’s “coalition of the ascendant” is built on identity politics! Note also the utter lack of class analysis in the piece — not even weak tea like “working families” — along with the general sense of passivity. The party just… moves left (“One thing that did happen is time”). Rather like demographic change… brings victory.

“data for politics #27: Same Day Registration Can Increase Voter Turnout” [Data for Progress]. “Our analysis of census data is clear: relative to two other popular voting reforms—early voting and absentee voting—same-day registration (SDR) is great at boosting voter turnout. SDR has been adopted in 17 states, plus the District of Columbia…. Why is SDR so effective at boosting turnout? For starters, it makes a complicated process much simpler…. SDR also has the nice side-benefit of improving the effect of early voting laws, which, on their own, can actually decrease turnout…. Supplementing early-voting laws with SDR gives us the best of both worlds. Existing voters get more flexibility, which makes them more likely to keep voting each election. New voters benefit from being able to register and vote at the same time—either before Election Day, or on Election Day itself. Yet of the 37 states with early voting laws on the books, only 15 states also have same-day registration. The takeaway is clear: voting reform advocates should make implementing SDR in the remaining 22 early-voting states a top priority.”

“Are wireless voting machines vulnerable? Florida, other states say they’re safe enough” [Miami Herald]. “Barely a month before midterm elections, voting integrity advocates and electronic voting experts want the federal government to issue an official warning to states that use voting machines with integrated cellular modems that the machines are [of course] vulnerable to hacks, potentially interfering with the ballot counting…. Such machines are certified for use in Florida, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin. How many cellular-enabled voting machines will be in use for Nov. 6 midterm elections is not known. There is no national registry for the 10,000 or so election jurisdictions in the United States, so an exact number could not be determined readily.” • A national registry of voting jurisdictions sounds like an interesting idea — who knows what little oddities would crop up? — but there shouldn’t be any registry of voting machines, because they shouldn’t exist in the first place.

“Dueling GoFundMe pages raise more than $500K each for Brett Kavanaugh and Christine Blasey Ford” [MarketWatch]. • So now everybody gets to cash in on their testimony. Me too! Me too!

Stats Watch

There are no official statistics of note today.

Employment: “September 2018 Conference Board Employment Index Marginally Declined” [Econintersect]. “Econintersect evaluates year-over-year change of this index (which is different than the headline view) – as we do with our own employment index. The year-over-year index growth rate accelerated 1.7 % month-over-month and 6.9 % year-over-year.”

Shipping: “Online fulfillment needs are driving logistics hiring for the holiday season” [Wall Street Journal]. “Warehousing has added more than 50,000 jobs in the past year and truckers have hired 33,000 workers in 12 months even as the industry speaks of recruiting difficulties. The latest logistics expansion came as retail businesses overall cut payrolls by 20,000 workers. Retailers are projecting holiday sales won’t grow as fast this year as last year, and the focus on distribution centers signals they expect the biggest share of the growth will come online, not in physical stores.”

Shipping: Alexandria, VA (Washington D.C.) is the least efficient market for truck drivers in America” [Freight Waves]. “Truck drivers have long suspected that the city of Washington D.C. is stealing their hours and keeping them off the road. They now have proof: Washington D.C. and the metropolitan section of the city around Alexandria, Virginia is the least efficient area in the country in terms of efficiency on driver’s hours of service (HOS)…. A driver in the Washington D.C. market should only expect to get about 4.9 hours a day towards driving, less than half of the permitted 11…. Washington D.C. [is one] of the most secure cities in the world.” • Hmm. Well, presumably the new Amazon HQ won’t need to do any actual shipping….

Shipping: “Study: operational costs of trucking climbed 6 percent in 2017” [DC Velocity]. ” increasing operating costs are caused by a broad range of factors, including: fuel prices that have rebounded from decade-lows, the growing cost and sophistication of newer truck models has driven up costs for both purchasing and repair & maintenance, and driver wages have increased for the fifth consecutive year, pushing the combined cost of driver wages and benefits up to 43 percent of the overall cost per mile.”

Tech: “Google Exposed User Data, Feared Repercussions of Disclosing to Public” [Wall Street Journal]. “Google exposed the private data of hundreds of thousands of users of the Google+ social network and then opted not to disclose the issue this past spring, in part because of fears that doing so would draw regulatory scrutiny and cause reputational damage.” • Well, hundreds of thousands [sigh] is not that many. But Google needs to spend some time in the barrel. When is that going to happen?

Payments System: “China Wants to Challenge the U.S. Dominance of Global Payments” [Barrons]. “[A]n actual financial contest between the U.S. and China—with the European Union in the middle—is shaping up…. The EU is moving forward with its emerging plan to help Iran and non-American companies avoid the Trump administration’s sanctions. Everyone’s motives are fairly clear: The EU doesn’t want to be forced to follow Washington’s change of direction on Iran, Iran very much wants to continue to sell oil to anyone it can, and China wants to pull the global financial center of gravity toward the yuan and yuan-denominated assets. And so China, Russia, Britain, France, and Germany have agreed to set up a payment system that can do an end-run around U.S. sanctions.”

Payments System: “The Chinese threat to U.S. financial dominance” [Felix Salmon, Axios]. (I’ve always had a soft spot for Salmon, because he got Cooper Union very right.) “‘The ultimate goal,’ writes Andrew Capon in an excellent guide to the Chinese government bond market in the latest issue of Euromoney, is for [Chinese government bonds (CGBs)’ ‘to supplant U.S. treasuries as the global benchmark.'”

Payments System: “Europe Plans a Way to Evade Sanctions on Iran. Will It Work?” [New York Times]. “Perhaps the biggest challenge to the European effort is that large Western companies won’t need the payment entity because they simply won’t be doing any business with Iran. Scores of multinational companies pulled away from Iran after the United States withdrew from the nuclear deal and won’t want to risk penalties…. Even if the European Union could set up the system, it would have to convince companies that it was reliable — and so secure that the United States government could not penetrate it.” • Hmm.

Rapture Index: Closes unchanged [Rapture Ready]. Record High, October 10, 2016: 189. Current: 184. Seems indeed that 180 is a floor.


“The government isn’t a business or household. Democrats should reject ‘pay-go'” [Kansas CIty Star]. • [Hums] Everything’s up-to-date in Kansas CIty… (The author is a member of the 501(c)(4) nonprofit Patriotic Millionaires and a founder and principal of Tradewind Energy, Inc.)

Class Warfare

“Teamsters ratify UPS contract despite more ‘no’ votes than ‘yes'” [Supply Chain Dive] (October 8). “The International Brotherhood of Teamsters ratified a master agreement with UPS, despite more of the union’s members voting ‘no’ than ‘yes.’ Only 44% of union members participated in the ratification referendum, and among those, 45.8% voted for the contract and 54.2% voted against. In a case where fewer than half of members vote, two-thirds must vote “no” to reject the contract….. ‘As we saw in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, winning the popular vote does not necessarily win the election when the Constitution requires you to win the Electoral College vote. As Teamsters, we too must abide by the rules in our Constitution. Thus, the National Master UPS Agreement has been ratified,’ the union said.”

“Updated: UPS Contracts Rejected, Union and Company to Return to the Table” [Labor Notes] (October 5). “However, when the results were read out, [Teamsters Package Division Director Denis Taylor] said that the union would return to the table with the company to seek improvements…. Out of 92,604 eligible votes cast at UPS, the final tally was 46 percent yes, 54 percent no. That’s a turnout of 44 percent, and a big jump up from the 64,000 on the 2013 UPS contract….. Going into bargaining, the biggest demand from the overwhelmingly part-time inside workers who sort, load, and unload parcels was for a $15 starting wage, with catch-up raises for people who’ve been underpaid for years. What they got instead was a $13 minimum, with no catch-up raises. UPS is forecasting $6 billion in profit this year…. For the drivers who deliver packages, the biggest sticking point is that this deal would create a second tier of “hybrid drivers” who could deliver packages at a much lower wage. The tentative agreement also does nothing substantial to address drivers’ other big concerns: excessive forced overtime, technological surveillance, and harassment by supervisors.” • Two-tier is corrosive to solidarity and should be opposed where encountered, whether in unions, Social Security, or academia.

News of the Wired

“The Joy of Kimmy’s childish dialogue” [RockPaperShotgun]. “Though for these kids, the complex, mind-boggling debacles of day-to-day life get boiled down into terse sentences devoid of the adjectives and adverbs adults have built up over time to make our speech more palatable. Their limited vernacular often gets to the truth of things better than any adult could, but it also curtails any attempt at expressing themselves fully.”

“It’s Ham Vs.Ham As Radio Amateurs Are In Conflict At ARRL” [SlashDot]. “The open letter at that link — signed by several AARL life members (including Perens), argues that ‘The members are not currently represented as they should be, due to the continued application of a policy meant for a for-profit corporate board,’ adding that ‘The only whistle-blower on the board was publicly castigated for informing us.'” Everything Is Like CalPERS.

“How to delete Facebook and not lose your friends (and photos)” [Ronald Langeveld]. • For those of you who haven’t done this already.

Caligula’s Nemi ships. Thread:

Look on my works, ye mighty…. And on the squillionaires’ rocket ships to Mars, if it comes to that.

Post-Banksy shredded meme:

First meme I saw…..

* * *

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 (MG):

MG writes: “Columbia Larkspur on the land of the Oregon Country Fair.”

* * *

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About Lambert Strether

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


  1. Wukchumni

    Nemi Ships deserve much more attention, they were chock full of technology unheard of until much much later. The timing sucked as far as getting to them and their unfortunate aftermath, but it probably wouldn’t have happened otherwise, as Mussolini was quite fruity about the ancient Roman Empire as he fashioned he was building a new one…

    1. DJG

      Nemi in general should get more attention: It is a town perched over the volcanic lake where the ships were found. The golden bough (of Frazer’s book) and the famous temple were there, above the Lago di Nemi, in the town now called Genzano, I believe.

      Now, the town of Nemi has delicious strawberries to eat while admiring the sacred lake from a belvedere.

  2. Roger Smith

    “From the American presidency to the halls of the Senate and State Department to one of the United States’ most controversial and unpredictable* presidential elections, they provide a unique perspective on the past, and remarkable insight into where we go from here.”

    Remarkable with regards to the incredulity of these two incredibly destructive people parading around with this psychotic sense of self-importance, giving their advice? Bill especially is instrumental in the degradation of this country’s welfare. If it was free, I would go to give them some remarkable advice about what their futures should look like.

    What do you do when fire doesn’t work?

    *Was it really?

    1. Jen

      Well lookie there. Hillary’s finally going to Michigan, speaking of remarkable insights.Canadian readers, if you were about to mock please note: there are 3 events scheduled in Canada. Out of a total of 13. Not sure what’s up with that but if I were you I’d be very, very afraid.

      1. pretzelattack

        i hope somebody gives her a nice cold glass of flint water to drink, and films her drinking it.

        1. Stephen V.

          M MOORE’S film shows Barry “not a stunt” Obama drinking Not! Flint water. A touch to the lips it was….

          And maybe HRC is running for Prez of NAFTA?

    2. Geo

      Fascinating too that politicians are culturally revered like rock stars now. Will they take requests, play all the hits?

      Set list:
      “Deport those kids to send a message”
      “We came, we saw, he died”
      “End Welfare as we know it”
      “Three Strikes”
      “500,000 dead Iraqi kids is worth the price”

      1. nippersdad

        Some more oldies but goodies:

        …”my good friend Henry Kissinger…”
        “I told them to just cut it out.”
        “Single payer will never, ever, happen.”
        “Do your own research.”


        “I should be winning by fifty points!”

      2. Lambert Strether Post author

        Quite a list!

        Let’s not forget “I suppose I could have stayed home and baked cookies and had teas” (March 1992*, in “answer” to Jerry Brown’s charge that Arkansas was funneling money through Clinton’s law firm.)

        NOTE * I’ve been looking for the “cookies” backstory for some time; I thought Clinton’s remark was in response to the cattle futures scandal, but I guess I was wrong. (Fun fact: the incident inspired Lena Dunham, as third-grader, to write an essay supporting Clinton. “Even nine-year-old Lena was scandalized by the twisted gender politics and Stepford expectations placed on a First Lady with a career and vision of her own.” Holy moley. All we want is for the Clintons not to loot the public purse. Is that so wrong?)

    3. clarky90

      Re “remarkable insight into where we go from here…..”

      WATCH: Trump says he has no plans to fire Rosenstein


      “President Donald Trump said Monday he had no plans to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein.

      The statement comes after speculation that Rosenstein’s job was at risk following a New York Times story…”

      POTUS and Rod Rosenstein are traveling together to a Convention of Police Chiefs. They have become, “very good friends!”

      With Rod’s assistance, perhaps HRC will end up in a quiet retreat-cell, where she can contemplate, and write “My Neo-Struggle” by HR Clinton.

  3. Mark Gisleson

    Seems appropriate that following Kavanaugh’s confirmation, we’re going from the Year of the Dog to the Year of the Pig (and Rat is next up).

    Ancient Chinese knew their calendars.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Which year, and which month.

      From Wikipedia:

      Aside from being assigned a year, the Pig is also assigned to govern a month in the Lunar calendar. As the lunar month cycle begins in spring, the Pig is also assigned to the 10th month, usually the time when winter begins. This lunar month corresponds to the Gregorian calendar as beginning from 7 November, and ending at 6 December.

      The first half of the month is called 立冬 (or in pinyin: Lìdōng). Literally, it means the “Start of Winter”. It begins when the Sun reaches the celestial longitude of 225° and ends when it reaches the longitude of 240°. It more often refers in particular to the day when the Sun is exactly at the celestial longitude of 225°. In the Gregorian calendar, it usually begins around 7 November, and ends around 22 November.

      The second half of the month is called 小雪 (or in pinyin: Xiǎoxuě). Literally, the time of the “Little Snow”. It begins when the Sun reaches the celestial longitude of 240° and ends when it reaches the longitude of 255°. It more often refers in particular to the day when the Sun is exactly at the celestial longitude of 240°. In the Gregorian calendar, it usually begins around 22 November, and ends around 7 December.

      A person born in any year is said to inherit some attributes of the Pig if they are born during these months. Thus, in order to complete the astrological reading, it is important to know this month as well.

      That would mean the 10th lunar month, next year is the key month to look for pig characteristics.

  4. Carolinian

    NC may need a Banksy category just for laughs. There are a couple of movies out including Banksy Does New York where he visits the city and leaves art works to be found scavenger hunt fashion each morning. In one instance a street gang sets up screens around the graffiti and charges the public to see it.


  5. MaxFinger

    How Fascism Works
    This is very appropriate for what the US is experiencing as a declining empire. This summary is a concise and to the point in the the direction this country is taking. Well worth a listen or reading the transcript..

    In a compelling essay for The New York Review of Books this month, Christopher R. Browning, a leading historian of the Holocaust and Nazism, outlines the frightening parallels between the United States and the Weimar Republic. “No matter how and when the Trump presidency ends,” he writes, “the specter of illiberalism will continue to haunt American politics.”

    1. Plenue

      This anxiety is not exclusively or even primarily economic. As Stanley is careful to point out, people of color have suffered far greater hardship, and yet they are increasingly drawn to progressive populism. Instead, he posits, Trump and his ilk are channeling a noxious strain of patriotism that creates a nostalgia for a past that never existed. “When you see the dominant group made to feel like they’re the victims in the face of all the facts,” Stanley notes, “that’s when you know that fascist politics is taking grip.”

      I’m betting Strether will have a field day with this.

      I’m sure poor whites not flocking to progressive populism has nothing to do with the liberal good-thinkers explicitly rejecting them. And forty years of stagnant wages and now an AIDs like epidemic of premature deaths among middle aged white people, yeah, why would they think of themselves as victims?

      That interview isn’t worthless by any means, but it is immensely frustrating. If there’s a fascism in America, it’s Wolin’s inverted totalitarianism, which he was writing about the better part of twenty years ago. The idea that Trump is some great aberration that has irrevocably shifted the nature of the game towards a dictatorship just isn’t at all supported by the evidence. If anything he is (or was) a potential wildcard that threatens (or threatened) the banal march toward complete corporate rule that has been the bipartisan goal for decades.

      The ‘specter of illiberalism’ has been around since at least 2000, when the Supreme Court short-circuited democracy and nominated a president rather than letting all the votes be recounted. And when the supposed opposition party, instead of getting people into the streets in protest, blamed Ralph freaking Nader.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > I’m sure poor whites not flocking to progressive populism has nothing to do with the liberal good-thinkers explicitly rejecting them. And forty years of stagnant wages and now an AIDs like epidemic of premature deaths among middle aged white people, yeah, why would they think of themselves as victims?

        The very last thing we want, I should think, as a country and also simply as moral beings, is for this cohort to identify explicitly as capital-w White, and to see themselves as victims because they are white (as opposed to more universal, economic reasoning). “White genocide,” thanks be to The God(ess)(e)(s) Of Your Choice, If Any, is a fringe concept. And yet everything liberal Democrats are doing seems to be designed to bring that level if polarization about. One more reason why Sanders’ town halls are so important.

    2. drumlin woodchuckles

      Did Christopher R. Browning vote for Free Trade Democrats ( or Republicans)? If he did, then he did his small modest bit to help bring all this about.

    3. Llewelyn Moss

      That was a good read. Thanks for posting. Kinda puts into context the fevered crowds showing up at Trump rallies. Heil Trump!

  6. Those who haven't done this already

    Re: How to delete Facebook …

    For me, and a lot of other small business owners, artists, musicians, and freelancers, deleting Facebook is a privilege we can’t afford. In terms of sheer exposure and access to clients and customer bases, no other platform compares. A sad fact made all the more unpleasant by judgy commentary.

    1. Fiery Hunt

      As Lambert says..
      “If your business relies on a platform, you don’t have a business”.
      I would add “…and you’re definitely up for Hostage Futures.”

      And I’m a sole-proprietor of a niche small business (custom stained glass).

      1. Enquiring Mind

        I would add “…and you’re definitely up for Hostage Futures.”

        In the present era, add on Retribution Futures :(

      2. jrs

        if you relied on linked-in to help you get a job you don’t have a job … wait that makes no sense. The thing is at this point we’re all using platforms to help us survive, regardless of whether we even like them. How is a musician using facebook to advertise really any different than a job seeker having a linked-in profile.

    2. Arizona Slim

      Freelancer here. I had a business page, but had to delete it. Reason: Cyber bullying, which is quite prevalent on Facebook.

    3. Big River Bandido

      In terms of sheer exposure and access to clients and customer bases, no other platform compares.

      Except that when you post something, there are no guarantees that anyone you need to see it will see it, because no algorithm can actually determine for you what you will want to see on your feed.

      To say nothing of all the phone profiles, “like farms”, and outright censorship that exists on that site.

    4. Filiform Radical

      I hear you. And to those citing the old adage about businesses and platforms, I’d point out that, once you find yourself in this situation, that’s not terribly helpful.

      The “just make your business independent of Facebook” sentiment reminds me a lot of the “just get a job” sentiment toward the unemployed. Troubling to see it here.

      1. Fiery Hunt

        In no way, did I mean it in the “get a job!” sense…I’m acutely aware of how brutal the small business, no capital, no-way-off-this-underpaid-merry-go-round path is. My point is/was that eventually Facebook (or ebay or Amazon or etsy or…) will start charging or undermining or flat out disappearing people if they see $50 bucks in it for them. Its as predictable as the sun rising tomorrow.

        Start moving now or recognize how badly it’ll end. I’ve seen it. And it only gets harder the older you get.

        1. Plenue

          >disappearing people

          I know you mean arbitrarily and suddenly deleting pages, but part of me finds the idea of literal Facebook hit-squads darkly amusing.

        2. Elizabeth Burton

          No small business with any sense relies only on Facebook, for all of the reasons already cited. However, like it or not, and stupid algorithms notwithstanding, if I run a scheduled post with a neat link and 400 people see it, that’s 400 more people than would have heard about my company without the post.

          There is also the undeniable fact that younger generations are in the ether, which makes most print advertising as worthless as Facebook ads. The idea is to know how the systems work and use them to advantage.

    5. Yves Smith

      I saw at least a couple of studies a few years back that found that being on FB was a net negative for businesses, that the hard (paying to promote the FB page) and soft costs of being on FB were greater than any revenue gain.

      1. Those who haven't done this already

        I’m a musician; an outcast of the major-label system. My survival depends on social media. Not just FB. But that’s where most of my listeners still go for news, concert dates, even directions to venues. There’s a fan-managed closed group where they can share concert videos or sell one another tickets when the sitter cancels. They put up posters ahead of my shows and volunteer at the merch table. My peers are on FB, too. We spread the word for each other. 15 years ago, getting dropped by a major label was scary; now, I don’t know any artist who misses the corporate music world. Social media has brought stability and independence to the indie-rock diaspora.

  7. Fiery Hunt

    Does anyone doubt the Google execs were a no-show in Congress back in Septemper because they feared a question that would have either exposed or forced them to lie about the breach they knew was 6 months old at that point?


  8. Clive

    Re: Non-US affiliated payments systems

    Nev-ah ev-ah gonna happen. No corporations with the slightest, merest possibility of a passing interest in interacting in any way with the US will risk incurring the wrath of US sanctions in any circumstances.

    It is simply playing with too hot a fire to be sure that nothing you do either intentionally or accidentally does not touch the US or US interests. The US has clearly signaled to any commercial concern exactly what its red lines are. Its sphere of influence is global and any enterprise might, potentially, need to operate in the US directly or else find itself with an essential dependency on a US-based supplier, other entity or the US government itself.

    Any executive in any business might need to go to or transit via the US at some time. There is no foreseeable payoff trying to do an end runaround (I hope that is the correct American Football term; I know as much about it as you guys know about cricket, so apologies if I’ve used this term incorrectly!) on the US which is worth the risk incurred.

    The US can put businesses and individuals on the sanctioned companies or sanctioned individuals naughty step on a whim. Not being US citizens or incorporated in the US, forget any fantasy about getting a proper investigation or due process. Redress, if you try to pursue it, will drag on for years and cost hundreds of thousands of dollars in lawyers’ fees.

        1. todde

          end around is the play where the wide receiver takes the hand off form the QB and does an ‘end run’.

    1. Synapsid


      It’s “end run.”

      I prefer rugby myself–to watch, not to play, I hasten to add. There is or was a rugby club in the town where I live and they had bumper stickers that said “Rugby players eat their dead.”

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        Here’s the definition:

        [A] running play in which the player carrying the ball tries to avoid being tackled by running outside the end (or flank) of the offensive line…. Colloquially, and in a metaphorical sense it has come to mean an attempt to avoid a difficult situation by dodging it without confronting it directly, or to attempt to circumvent someone’s authority by appealing to a different authority.

        Wierdly, though it’s an exciting play, all the YouTubes I could find of it are terrible. This is the best, of Peewee football (!!):

        Never mind the brain damage….

        NOTE Also, if you missed the Valdai Discussion Club link in Trade, give it a read. It bears directly on this issue and is very good.

    2. The Rev Kev

      That’s the trouble. It is not a matter of what is legal or not or even what is just but is the fact that “The US can put businesses and individuals on the sanctioned companies or sanctioned individuals naughty step on a whim”. It can even be used to remove competition from the international stage such as when the US put sanctions on a Russian aircraft manufacture even though they had no military links. It was just that that company was in competition with American aircraft and this was a way to remove the competition. These sort of antics work – until the day comes when it does not. And then there will be the devil to pay when that happens.

    1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      That’s a reminder that everyone is a special interest.

      Maybe there are 2 meanings.

      1. djrichard

        Not quite. CJ is squarely on the side of the “special interest” of the working class. He’s just trying to show how identity politics are used by the ruling class to keep the working class from focusing on their identity as the working class and the identity of their nemesis: the ruling class. Where CJ goes further with this article is to point out that this isn’t just happening on the left. It’s happening on the right as well.

        In the movie “History of the World”, Mel Brooks’s has a great line, “It’s good to be the king.” If CJ had input into that movie, he would also have had that character say, “And it’s good that the people have their identity politics – may those identities all flourish”.

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Sorry, i don’t mean to imply only CJ is special interest, but we all are.

          The second meaning of special interest, more commonly understood, is that the term refers to any group going before the congress to seek favors that benefit that particular group, even if they harm the rest of the society.

          So, in a sense, we make an exception for individuals citizens to vote for his/her best interest.

          But not when, say, the the association of burger flipping robot owners/makers seeks to exercise too much influence or power.

        2. djrichard

          Hi MLTPB, I get your point, but when I think of groups before congress, I think of the corporations, the powerful and the elite. I don’t think of the working class, at least not anymore. And I don’t think of any particular identity-based groups either – there are exceptions, but even then it’s david-v-goliath. When here we have our own goliath: the working class or make it even broader and call it the 99%.

          But we can’t get ourselves organized. Because our class consciousness is taking a back seat to identity. And as a consequence we’re all consumed with attacking each other on points of identity. Just as the corporations, powerful and elite want it. CJ is saying that’s no accident.

          Edit: that said, I think there’s a way to flip this on its head. Which is that I don’t think we’d be in this situation if we were all working class to begin with. But we’re not. We have people without jobs. And we have the professional class, white collar class. And the middle class is divided up between the working class and the white collar class. And there are those in the working class who are not in the middle class, but who would like to be so, so therefore hate their own class. So even if we didn’t have identity politics we’d still be wrapped around the axle to some degree in trying to get unity – we were already in a bad spot. And even that I think is by design.
          But now those challenges have been made manifold – through identity. And that’s by design as well. [Until CJ’s article I was thinking of identity as more pronounced in the professional class, but he brings up a good point – everybody loves identity, or at least everybody is vulnerable to it.]

          1. Elizabeth Burton

            So, people in the white-collar class don’t work? /s

            You know how, back in the bad ol’ slavery days, the plantation owners worked on the poor whites to install a sense of racial superiority because they figured they’d need them if the slaves got a notion to revolt?

            Am I the only one who sees a striking parallel between that and the way working people have been divided into blue-collar and white-collar by those in power?

            1. Pat

              As it always was. My mother spent years as a white collar worker. She also spent those same years railing against the unionized blue collar workers in her company, and unions in general.

              Unfortunately she blew through her generous by today’s standard retirement, and found herself having to take a very blue collar job late in life in a nonunion facility. She not only saw conditions she would never have seen in her earlier company she found that the white collar workers in the new company had lower pay and fewer benefits as well.

              It took thirty years and real life experience for my mother to finally get that the horrid unnecessary union had raised her boat as well and if it hadn’t existed she wouldn’t even have had the little time on retirement she had had.

              Propaganda is powerful indeed.

          2. Unna

            Thanks for the CJ link.

            “God help me, I believe it might be more useful to attempt to understand those forces….”

            And once you understand it, then what? Indeed, we live in interesting times.

  9. Pat

    Funny, but my first thought wasn’t that the Live Nation speaking tour wasn’t as much about grift as it was about positioning. Sure Booker is hanging out in the early caucus states, but Bill and HER TURN HILLARY! are going to arenas in 13 different states. And said tour also promotes listening as well as talking. It is her NY listening tour on steroids.

    Grift is good, grift plus being paid to campaign – priceless!

    1. Arizona Slim

      A few years ago, a local acquaintance borrowed something like $10k from her husband. That was the ticket price for the Hillary listening event she attended. Acquaintance was very disappointed to find that the listeners were the audience. Hillary did all the talking.

      1. Pat


        I am sure there will be some well vetted audience members who speak mostly asking adoring questions, but the venue alone should say we’re here to tell you your place. Unfortunately, that will be missed by most of the ticketholders.

    2. Jen

      I’m trying to square that with three events in Canada and one in Wally-world (as Wallingford CT was affectionately called back in the day). She’s campaigning in Canada?? Told y’all to be afraid.

    3. drumlin woodchuckles

      Its also to keep their fanbase at a Jonestown level of commitment. If you pay several hundred dollars to hear a political leadership figure speak, you are that much more psycho-emo invested in that figure.

      The kind of people who would pay to hear the Clintons are the kind of people who would at least consider voting for Trump in order to defeat Sanders in 2020. And there are millions of these people. And they will be a threat and a menace until they all finally die.

  10. ChrisAtRU


    Grifters gotta grift …

    Indeed. It’s the main reason they (but especially #HRC) need to stay politically relevant. The online horde of tweeting cultists, the monthly cadence of Poltico/Hill/Vox articles dangling HRC’s potential 2020 run, and the stepped up participation in campaigning all working in harmony to build credence in the notion that they still matter.

    Here’s to the day they really, truly and finally don’t.

    1. Charlie

      Of course, one can’t charge from $100- $1500 per ticket if they are not relevant. Hey, there’s my get rich quick scheme right there!!

  11. Code Name D

    Now that the Kavanaugh fight has reached its inevitable conclusion, I too find my thoughts rather befuddled. To a large extent I feel that even having an opinion is quite futile, let alone daring to express it. I am still quite exacerbated that despite Kavanaugh extensive list of flaws that should disbar him from the court – the only one worth even mentioning was an alleged sexual assault that may have – or may not have – happened some thirty years ago.

    That the Kavanaugh debacle produces such a pounced spike in the polling data is rather surprising however. I suspect a force is at work here we haven’t disgusted much here and NC. Mostly a building backlash against “social justice” policies.

    While I have seen little data to suggest it (and what data I have warrants further scrutiny) there appear to be a new trend of false rape and sexual assault accusations on the rise. Young men are dropping out of college, or declining collage all together because of risk of false accusations. Data does seem to suggest male enrolment is down. There are stories of male supervisors removing doors and installing windows into offices to prevent being cornered by female co-workers, or are simply not hiring young, attractive female employers to avoid costly sexual harassment lawsuits. And there are many stories of alleged sexual assault claims made by divorcées. Even the “Consent Laws” give women the right to withdraw consent – even after the fact. Forcing men to record sexual encounters in hopes of building a defense against later accusations. It remains unclear weather such evidence is even amicable in an assault hearing, or that he may just take on additional charges.

    Of course, all should be skeptical of these claims. Anecdote is not data. Accept that yours has also been falsely accused. One need not even be alone with the victim to be accused and can be punished for alleged crimes that “might have happened.” From personal experience, I simply can not dismiss the possibility that Kavanaugh has been falsely accused and has been for political reasons.

    To add to this, I am not even aloud to discuss this publicly, without risking being ostracized. I see this happening dozens of times on Face-book and from You-tube video-diaries. Even other women are being cast out for daring to ask questions, let alone coming to conclusions not in lock-step with the increasingly authoritarian left.

    And then you have the gender backlashes against the new Ghostbuster and Last Jedi to consider.

    Do not get me wrong here. I am not asserting anything here, at least not with any real certainty or hard evidence. That said, there is something at work here we need to pay closer attention too.

    1. Skateman

      “Young men are dropping out of college, or declining collage all together because of risk of false accusations.”

      What a load of horseshit.

      This is just an anecdotal observation as well. Listen, I don’t have any data to support what I’m saying. But I’ve seen some youtube stories and vines suggesting that Code Name D is an increasingly authoritarian footfetishist who enjoys touching dolphins inappropriately. Don’t get me wrong here. I’m not asserting anything, at least with any hard evidence. But I think this is something that people need to start paying attention to.

          1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

            Are those who won also angry, and, in fact, angrier?

            As mentioned by Lambert, liberal Dems are angry now, and anger lasts longer.

            Will anger bring out more party supporters than winning a fight?

            Unless, as mentioned here above, those who won are also angry. In that case, the question becomes: Will the anger of those who won bring out more party supporters than the anger of those who lost?

              1. none

                I’m angry, but I’m angry AT THE DEMOCRATS for being chickenshits. That has to be pretty common. The pollsters seem to have skipped over that part.

                1. flora

                  Which helps the Dem estab continue their losing streak. It’s almost like they want to lose….

                2. KLG

                  “Chickenshit” is being much too generous. Of course they want to lose. National Democrats maintain their position in the system but don’t have to do anything.

                  1. Elizabeth Burton

                    And can continue to blame all evil on the GOP while sighing dramatically about how hard they try.

              2. jonhoops

                I think the GOP bounce will fizzle before the election. They will become complacent gloating in their SC victory. The dem base is in a frenzy and will get even angrier as the GOP partisans rub it in.

              3. Lambert Strether Post author

                They are acting like they believe it.

                * * *

                It’s really a question for psychologists, and I mean that in a neutral way. What I wonder if whether anger and happiness are even commensurate, as Celinda Lake (a really bad actor, tried to suppress single payer entirely from polling on health care policy in Maine) suggests. Perhaps they are produced by different brain systems. Happiness (or contentment) certainly seems to be a steady state sort of thing, whereas anger needs constant stimulus (the Democrat consultant’s source, that is, of a constant stream of income, and the equivalent of social media’s dopamine loop).

                I’m not against anger per se. And I’m (as I hope is obvious) not against justice per se. It’s just that the anger incited in the Democrat base has little to do with justice, at least not universal justice (e.g., for the McDonald’s workers). And if it’s justice for me and not for thee, is that justice?

            1. Code Name D

              Anything to keep from discussing the issues. If this is the best Dems can do, “voters are angry”, one would hope they would at least ask why voters are angry. (I suspect they would not like the answer.)

    2. Plenue

      “And then you have the gender backlashes against the new Ghostbuster and Last Jedi to consider.”

      You mean the backlashes dominated by sexism against women? They were insipid and driven by a small number of idiot manchildren. The same idiot manchildren that have been shitting up the video game community for years.

      The Ghostbusters movie was abysmal, but because it was a bad film, not because of the all female cast (the original Ghostbusters is fundamentally a sex comedy written by clever people. It has actual jokes. The 2016 movie is a bunch of people being wacky and ad libbing every scene).

      The backlash against The Last Jedi is because it’s a trainwreck of a film that tries to subvert expectations but falls flat on its face doing it. A specific strain of it involves sexism, but that started with The Force Awakens and Rey being a ‘mary-sue’ (she’s actually nothing of the sort; she in fact is not omnipotent in the movie and what she does do is properly foreshadowed and justified within the film. The meme that she is comes firmly from the CinemaSins school of film-going, which involves accomplishing the impressive feat of simultaneously both watching and not watching a film).

        1. Code Name D

          A “Marry-sue” was coined after a character in a Star Trek fan-fiction, where “Lieutenant Marry Sue” proved to be a better scientist than Spock, new more about the ships engine systems than Scotty, was a better than McCoy, and even a better leader than Kirk. Every one was impressed with her – loved her, and even declared a national holiday after Marry Sue selflessly sacrificed her life to save the ship.

          A “Marry-sue”, as well as the male equivalent a “Marty-Stew” is commonly been defined as the “perfect character”, the main problem being that perfect characters offer no dramatic potential and often sabotage the conflict and suspense needed to make a compelling story. But a Marry-sue has also become a writer’s short-hand for any number of common characterization mistakes made by inexperienced writers for both male and female characters. So, for Ray to be a Marry sue, all she needs to be is badly constructed as a character.

          Most writers actually go through a “Marry-sue” faze (including yours truly). Proper characterization is rather complex and takes some time to get a full handle on. That said, it’s still among the basics of story-telling. The reason for the fan back-lash against Star Wars is that a project of this caliber should be incapable of this degree of incompetence.

          1. Plenue

            The Force Awakens was anything but incompetent. To a fault in fact; it’s 99% a safe retread of A New Hope and was essentially assembled by committee.

            The Last Jedi was a disaster because they handed complete creative control over to, well, some guy. I like Looper, but Johnson did not have near enough of a record to warrant the degree of independence he was given. He had some interesting ideas (the stuff with Luke becoming an embittered radical who had turned against the Jedi are by far the best parts of the movie, and the proletarian undertones of Rey not being a Chosen One™ and just some woman have promise), but interesting twists by themselves aren’t automatically good. The execution was still a trainwreck.

            But the writing incompetence in the new Star Wars has nothing to do with Rey. That she’s a Mary Sue is a meme that has been being deployed since day one of the TFA. Sharing positions with Stefan Molyneux isn’t a wise place to be.


        2. Plenue

          It’s a term from fan fiction. It’s a character that bad authors write who is too perfect and omni-capable. Often they’re an idealized version of the author themselves.

          It’s also an accusation that neckbeard cavemen deploy level against any female protagonist or character whose very existence they find offensive.

    3. Oregoncharles

      D is pushing the envelope here, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a real problem. Lambert has reported (via Yves, IIRC) that he avoided being alone with women when he was in business, and a couple of commenters reinforced the point. And Yves is very emphatic about having encountered false accusations. And personally, I thought the #MeToo accusations ranged all the way from outright rape to roughly what he’s supposed to do, only she didn’t like it. The Aziz Ansari story seemed really inappropriate. That sort of thing creates confusion, especially combined with demands to be believed on the mere accusation. Certainly that’s the way a lot of employers reacted. Has anyone heard of Ansari recently?

      That’s even though there was, and is, a very real problem that needs to be addressed. I’m not sure how you do that without creating a backlash. It probably isn’t possible, but a strong, ongoing commitment to justice would help.

      Anything that creates further hostility between the sexes poses a real threat to many, probably most people. That’s a crucial relationship, and the mating dance is hard enough. The purpose of the movement is to make it less dangerous for women; making it more dangerous in general only makes more people miserable. We could deduce that Code Name D is one of them. I know several.

      The nearest thing to a solution is a new etiquette, an old fashioned word for rules of the road. People need to understand what they’re dealing with. Some will always flout the rules, of course, so also need an understanding of the penalties. Career lightning strikes, essentially at random, don’t really help. And they’ll strike women, too; already have.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        I personally know both people who have been abused, and people who have been falsely accused. In neither case was justice done. I’m not even sure what justice would look like; perhaps the abused person (avoiding the word “victim” here) needs to define that.

        > he avoided being alone with women when he was in business

        Yes, only at the firm, however. It seems quite clear to me that it’s foolish to put myself in a position where the burden of proof is on me to show I did not commit a bad act, and where there’s not even a clear definition of what a bad act might be. Which is exactly where at least some factions of #MeToo would like to place it. WSWS:

        The #MeToo Campaign, a movement backed by the Democratic Party, has advanced another fundamental attack on the rule of law—upon the central democratic legal principle that there can be no punishment without a law; nulla poena sine lege.

        The light-minded and cynical attitude of the leaders of #MeToo was breathtakingly revealed in the recent calls for complaints and exposures by the New York Times for “gray-zone sex” experiences, where college students from around the world were invited to submit material, including text messages and photographs, where they had agreed to have sex, but the consent came with some hesitation, qualms or remorse.

        The exposures have nothing to do with any violation of an existing law, and in a column in the Times on February 4, Dr Catherine MacKinnon wrote gleefully: “#MeToo has done what the law could not,” as if that were self-evidently a wonderful thing. One needs to think a little more seriously, however, before climbing on this bandwagon of self-congratulatory abandonment of centuries old legal principles, which were won in bloody struggles against the oppressions of the state.

        Now, sexual assault (not so hard to define) and sexual abuse and sexism (enter those grey areas) are both bad things. So it may be that eliminating nulla poena sine lege is worth it, if the price is eliminating sexual assault and abuse. However, in consequence, manners and mores will change. It seems to me blazingly obvious that always having at least one witness, in any workplace situation, is a sensible precaution (absent a surveillance state where the data can’t be gamed). Sad, but there it is. And I don’t like it. As an INTJ, I prefer one-on-one communication.

      2. Code Name D

        Yes, I am pushing the envelope here because I believe it needs to be pushed. Even if the bump in the RCP poll is short lived (which it may be, only time will tell), it still demands an explanation. I am simply offering up a possible avenue to explore; that conservatives are lashing against what they may perceive as an over extended sexist agenda.

        As a result, I am less concerned about the state of gender relations per-say, than I am about its impact on the political landscape.

        One of the reasons why Clinton lost in 2016 was that she was wrong about the economy. She argued that the economy had recovered and was thriving, when most Americans were still struggling to recover from the great recession and living in the shadow of the ruins of our industrial core. I suspect she was also wrong about the nature of gender relations as well, contributing to her defeat. Calling your critics “sexist” was not a good move on her part and likely pushed away both male AND female voters.

        If this is so, then Democrats trying to use Kavanaugh to mobilize voters is bound to back-fire. The bump in the polling data may be evidence of this. Or it may be that the Democrats have simply cried “WOLF” one to many times and have no credibility any more.

  12. Summer

    Re: Google+ and Facebook data breaches

    “Oops” …I guess the under disguise of “security breach,” no matter what policies come down to protect users, the advertisers could still get the info they need for surveillance capitalism.

    1. Summer

      I don’t have a subscription to WSJ, but I now find out that Google+ is shutting down.

      And it’s not because of the “security breach.”

      But this massive distribution of user information happens just before Google+ is taken back to the drawing board or dumpster (or whatever they do with it)?

      Yes, I did just call it a massive distribution of user information because no one else is going to dig in too deeply about what happened. In this world of NO ACCOUNTABILITY, any “explanation” is just speculation as far as I’m concerned.

  13. Summer

    Hillary and Bill offering their perspectives on the past?

    Bill wants to talk about the past in the current political climate?

  14. pretzelattack

    hilary and bill could offer valuable perspectives on grifting in politics, i’m trying to figure how they could set up an amway multilevel marketing company to profit from it.

  15. pretzelattack

    seems to be a tweetstorm over the intercept’s involvement, such as it is, with bellingcat’s elliot higgins.
    greenwald says he wouldn’t have chosen to do that, but he isn’t involved in the day to day operations.

  16. djrichard

    UPDATE “Anger vs. elation: Parties scrap for Kavanaugh edge in midterms” [Politico]. “‘Anger always lasts longer than happiness,’ said Celinda Lake, a veteran Democratic pollster. ‘Our side is going to be angry. We know anger lasts. What we don’t know is, does winning lead to energy or does it lead to complacency? That’s going to be the challenge they’re going to face.’” • Interesting explanation of the liberal Democrat preference for “fighting” (anger) over winning (happiness). But I think the Republicans are angry, too.

    If the voters don’t mind simply being weaponized, this works. But I suspect voters want more than that.

    1. todde

      angry people…on opioids….with guns….

      well, the purchase of the opioids and the guns will increase GDP.

  17. DJG

    Anger always lasts longer than happiness,’ said Celinda Lake, a veteran Democratic pollster. ‘Our side is going to be angry. We know anger lasts. What we don’t know is, does winning lead to energy or does it lead to complacency?


    We live in a nation dominated by rage, anger, “free market” rationality, justification by faith alone, and advertising. It is coming from liberals, earnest conservatives, Ted Cruz slobber-on-oneself conservatives, free-market apologists, ever-of-two-mind centrists, moderately pecknsniffian moderates, and advertisers (Just Do It!).

    “We know anger lasts”? Women are pushing this, who till last week were afraid that their men were too angry and violent? Did Celinda Lake notice who just shared the Peace Prize?

    Too many media. Too many of the half-educated. Too much competition for the glittering prizes.

    An early version of the phrase Whom the gods would destroy. . . . appears in verses 620–623 of the play Antigone, by Sophocles: “τὸ κακὸν δοκεῖν ποτ᾽ ἐσθλὸν τῷδ᾽ ἔμμεν’ ὅτῳ φρένας θεὸς ἄγει πρὸς ἄταν” to mean that “evil appears as good in the minds of those whom gods lead to destruction”.

    1. Unna

      But Hatred lasts longer than them all.

      Machiavelli warned that it’s best to be both loved and feared, but if a prince/political party can’t manage that, then it’s better to be feared than loved. But under no circumstances does the prince/political party want to be hated because hatred overcomes fear and outlasts anger.

      Question: the political base of which party hates the opposing party more, post K? That may be the key to the next election.

      Anger is overrated. Everybody gets angry. But to maintain hatred to the point of action requires a truly elevated mental and spiritual commitment.

      1. drumlin woodchuckles

        Hatred makes the world go ’round.

        With a head full of plans and a heart full of hate, we can make things happen.

        We need . . . a thousand points of hate.

      2. Unna

        Hey, I’m just trying to game the election. And applying a dynamic Machiavelli wrote about 500 years ago seemed interesting. Which party base has the bigger emotional craving for victory over the other? Not which base is more angry which can dissipate quickly or lead to despondency and inaction. What is the type and character of that emotion? People are always uncomfortable talking about socially unacceptable emotions, especially naming them, but they are real and should fit into our political calculus.

        1. djrichard

          Unna, I think we’re both agreeing with you. Unfortunately, your logic seems spot on.

          I haven’t read 1984 but I’m guessing the 2-minutes of hate from the book would fit in nicely with what you’re saying. But maybe with the difference that it’s actually less weaponized in the book than it is now in reality – maybe?

          1. Unna

            Thanks, maybe I need a drink…!!!

            1984. You should read it, really. There’s so much there. So deeply enlightening. And not in a trivial way just to use some words.

            But I was thinking more of…in a Mediterranean direction, Machiavelli and all. The South.

            Now where’s my glass of Anisette?

      3. Unna

        And what about the emotion fear. Fear can certainly motivate people. Machiavelli understood that. So ask which party base fears more strongly the possibility of the opposing party winning. Think about what the Dem party base fears, not just what they’re angry about, but what they fear. And then ask what the Repubs and the deplorables fear. Which base has the greater fear? Which party base has gotten the greater fear in light of the K episode?

        1. marym

          People in some of the demographic groups who have much to fear also have more constraints on their ability to register and vote.

          1. Unna

            Isn’t that so true? Black voter suppression, and voter suppression generally should be an international human rights issue. Eight years of Obama and this is where we’re at. The guy could have led a crusade about this. People would have supported him. He could have done almost anything when he was first elected. He could have had investigation after investigation. But as they say he couldn’t even get drinking water to people in Flint.

            If I were Trump’s political advisor, I’d advise him, after he makes peace with his best friend Kim, the next day to call for billions of dollars from Congress to be spent immediately on water infrastructure in Flint. With jobs to be sourced locally. Undermine the Dems by invading their own base. But the guy won’t do that.

            I’ve always thought that the way to beat Trump is not to get Dem voters to become more angry at Trump (how can that be?) but to get the Deplorables to learn to hate Trump, despise him, because of broken promises, both about the wars and domestic issues.

            1. Elizabeth Burton

              Haven’t you heard? Illinois is making Flint pay for the repairs. Indeed, they even have a deadline which, should they fail to meet it, will bring down huge fines.

            2. Jake

              Obama made his bed with the black community. He did nothing while we suffered through the weakest economic recovery since the depression. Black unemployment hovered above 10% for most of his presidency. At least in the last two years we can find work. Say what you want about trump, he’s killed it on trade and job creation. The stock market has taken my meager 401k 45% higher. That counts for something but you don’t see it on the news. Yeah, he pisses everybody off, but Pelosi does that too… he’s just smarter about the fights he picks. Wins every bloody one cept immigration and that was a push. We got nobody can beat him and if HRC runs again I’m quitting this bitc* @SS party.

      4. Harold

        Unna is absolutely right about what Machiavelli said. Above all, a Prince, if he wants to maintain his state (i.e., his power), should seek to avoid the hatred of the populace above all else. But that advice applied strictly to a leader who had seized power illegitimately. I don’t think he said anything about political parties, though generally he was against factions and private interests.

        On the other hand he thought that conflict and tumult were positive for the health of the state, as long as they didn’t degenerate into civil war. He says in the Discorsi that both a Prince and a populace are fallible and make mistakes, but the populace is quicker to correct its mistakes than a Prince and therefore, “not without reason is the voice of the people likened to the voice of God.” [Vox populi vox dei]

        1. Unna

          I remember reading somewhere long ago that Machiavelli’s real significance was that he recognized that political power ultimately resided with the population, no matter what the outward form of government. Do you agree with that? I’m not sure.

          And avoid hatred as to political parties. I took a bit of liberty with his thought. Political parties should avoid the hatred of the people also.

      5. Lambert Strether Post author

        Here is at least one passage on hatred from The Prince:

        Now, concerning the characteristics of which mention is made above, I have spoken of the more important ones, the others I wish to discuss briefly under this generality, that the prince must consider, as has been in part said before, how to avoid those things which will make him hated or contemptible; and as often as he shall have succeeded he will have fulfilled his part, and he need not fear any danger in other reproaches.

        It makes him hated above all things, as I have said, to be rapacious, and to be a violator of the property and women of his subjects, from both of which he must abstain. And when neither their property nor their honor is touched, the majority of men live content, and he has only to contend with the ambition of a few, whom he can curb with ease in many ways.

        Machiavellis doesn’t seem to have a notion of parties. Only of factions conspiring against the Prince. In particular, he doesn’t seem to have a notion of fomenting hate, either by the Prince, or anyone else.

        Is my hasty reading wrong?

  18. flora

    re: “Could America’s Democrats be ‘Corbynised’?” [Ruy Teixeira,

    uh… so the party is ‘moving left’ without any economic or class based policies or studies (does he even know what the ‘left’ is) ? …. the party is ‘moving left’ with identity politics? uh… no… *The same Dem estab that refuses to discuss economic issues in favor of id pol will suddenly discover economic and policy issues are important?… sure they will….
    Bafflegab on steroids.

    * From Areo magazine:
    “However, it is interesting to note that critiques of identity politics by non-white leftists and progressives often get ignored in much of the popular debates on this topic. Some people who take the anti-anti identity politics stance will say, or imply, that non-whites who critique “identity politics” are either inadvertently perpetuating class reductionism or are being exploited by white men to denigrate and erase the specific struggles of people of color, or worse that they are basically Uncle Toms.

    “I wonder then how these sordid types would react to the likes of Paul Gilroy or A.Sivanandan? How about Anthony Appiah? Edward Said (the author of Orientalism for goodness sake!)? Or Kenan Malik? All of whom are non-whites, most of whom are extremely critical of racism in Western societies and Western imperialism too but who have also criticized identity politics. Are they just regurgitating a white male chauvinist view of the world? I don’t like to do the whole “speaking as a [insert identity of choice]” as if it adds more weight to my opinions, but as a bisexual “man of color” I criticize identity politics not because I oppose the rights of marginalized groups, but because it is an impediment to these struggles of liberation.”


    And economic well-being and a fairer economic system is part of the liberation from unfair economic exploitation for everyone.

  19. Edward E

    I see snow as far south as Arizoner, New Mexirco, Colo and Utah on the radars WSI
    Superstar sent this, she’s coming home for a break from running the health foods company. Cut worms are bad this year, best get some kerosene rags to tie around my ankles.
    Kudzu benefits: What to know about the herb | Well+Good

  20. a different chris

    “and remarkable insight into where we go from here”

    The Big Dog, yeah, but Hillary? If she had any insight at all about the world around her she’d be President. Would be funny if they got into a big argument on stage, I’m sure Bill still believes and is way mad about “if you listened to me you would have won”.

  21. a different chris

    Join President Bill Clinton and former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton

    While I’m at it, I never though about this before but has this been true since like George Washington? You always call him “President” even though he clearly is not, but everybody else gets “former”? Or is it just the military (CinC) aspect, since I guess Generals are always General, even when they retire.

    Oh well, it irritates me now that I think about it. About the Generals, too for that matter.

  22. How is it legal

    Re: How to delete Facebook and not lose your friends (and photos)” [Ronald Langeveld]. • For those of you who haven’t done this already.

    What really outrages me are the Government and Non-Profit entities, along with ‘our’ Fourth Estate, which are presumably there to defend, and/or protect the populace, which all refuse to delete their Facebook pages, and no longer answer their phones. As a non Facebook user (ever) there is no way that I’m leaving my name, phone number/email address, and details of an issue, with such an entity; to be hoovered up by Facebook (or Gmail); particularly when both entities are much of the reason myself, and thousands of others are approaching a frightening poverty level in Silicon Valley, even despite being Educated.™

    I’ve been going through a frighteningly abusive (intentional abuse from care management), months long situation where I receive required medical treatment. My first call about that abuse, to a Federal Healthcare agency 1, was met with so much distinct contempt (after repeated unsuccessful attempts to reach someone) for daring to call on my phone, I was even far further traumatized. Worse, I had to eat his contempt and act polite just to have a form sent to me – along with not even attempting to complain about it, since the person had my contact data.

    The second call – as the abuse significantly increased at the medical facility- was to a number on a Federal Healthcare agency’s contact list regarding medical complaints. It was a California Government Healthcare Civil Rights phone number. But the number was no longer working, it referred right back to the DC office 1 phone number I had been previously abused for calling.

    The third call – to a number on that same contact list – was to a California Health Advocates HICAP/SHIP 1, 2 abuse report number, which noted they would call back within 48 hours: please leave contact info and message. I didn’t leave a message. I am so tired of sharing my personal horrors and very private identifying information with utter strangers (many of whom appear utterly distracted and scornful – likely due to toxic, under resourced environments), and hearing ‘our lines/database are/is secure’ (once they finally call back, if they do), when all evidence proves otherwise. And even worse, at the end of the day, receiving no assistance anyway – after a frightening sharing of very private information, and wasting countless days of my life waiting for support which never arrives.

    1 With an utterly unnecessary Facebook page

    2 Fresno Dan, I admire your volunteering for HICAP. A suggestion for California HICAP/SHIP’s PAID VIP’s (if you’re even allowed to speak with them one on one, Fresno Dan): Drop That Facebook Page due to irrefutable privacy violations. Though, weeping now, it wouldn’t likely help me and others in Silicon Valley: the Silicon Valley HICAP/SHIP was inexplicably outsourced (quite a while ago) to a Public Private Entity,™ which I’ve already had the horror of dealing with (and it’s not the little people there). Also, California HICAP/SHIP might want to inform a Federal Healthcare entity[ies] that they’ve changed the URL on that Federal Healthcare entity[ies] California contacts page.

    1. Summer

      It’s the same phone BS with all the agencies.
      If at all possible, if they are an agency that also deals with businesses, select the options for businesses on the menu until you get a person.

      1. How is it legal

        I certainly agree with your point. It’s rather like contacting a Fourth Estate Sales or Marketing number to immediately speak to a human; but, in the above three instances there were no such options. Those Government and Non-Profit Healthcare Entities are always opaque and don’t directly leave such obvious traces in their menus, or ‘sidebars,’ of serving Masters before, and other than, the public.

        Although, they will provide shamelessly inconspicuous, innocent looking links, to now astonishingly privatized entities – which appear to be a Government entity when looking at the hyperlink – such as Livanta, LLC™; which was also on that Federal Healthcare California contacts page. No, I did not even call the Livanta, LLC™ phone number, and am currently too traumatized (though not at all shocked at the fascism and abuse of power – nothing surprises now, after discovering quite a few years ago that the old MediCal Fee for Services (California’s Medicaid) assistance was maintained by a Xerox Corp. entity) to even do a ‘search’ on it.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      Appalling. By which I mean normal.

      Perhaps somebody should design an app that calls, over and over again, until a human is reached, at which point the use is alerted. Phone trees are algorithmic, so it shouldn’t be hard to reverse engineer them.

  23. VietnamVet

    While the Kavanaugh debacle sinks into the depths; one last swig of non-alcoholic beer and a salute to Democrat incompetence. By throwing workers to the wolves of Wall Street, the Democrats have lost their anchor to reality and are just as batshit crazy as Republicans. Cory Booker said Kavanaugh’s impeachment is on the table. After five years in the Senate you think he’d know it takes 67 votes. That’s 19 more Senators than voted against confirmation. It will never happen unless there’s a civil war or the Democrats give up corporate money, get out the vote and rebuild the middle class. This will take decades if mankind survives. The tragedy is that Democrats restarted the Cold War and are now inciting a civil war rather than facing reality. The President and white males pinned the feminist mob con on the donkey. Unwilling to show Brett Kavanaugh as a son of privilege, a functional alcoholic and a deep state apparatchik, who is unencumbered by the consequences of his actions throughout his life; Democrats stirred up the female identity wedge at the last minute and it failed spectacularly. This Onion picture shows Kavanaugh scoring a keg for his Christine Blasey Ford testimony:

    1. pretzelattack

      booker is just burnishing his cred with the “base” with this impeachment talk, he knows it will never happen (and imo he wouldn’t really want it to happen)

    2. MichaelSF

      Sure, Kavanaugh’s impeachment is on the table — right after Clarence Thomas is impeached. Thomas was accused of actions taken as an adult (and presumably sober) against subordinates in the workplace, which would seem to be more egregious than actions taken as a drunk teenager. Then there’s the various conflicts of interest he and his wife have engaged in while he’s been a SCOTUS justice. If the Democrats aren’t bothered by any of that over the last decades, I’m not losing any sleep over them going after Kavanaugh.

  24. david lamy

    Has anyone else received “Should Hillary Run again in 2020?” emails lately?
    Two have entered my InBox in the past week.
    I declined to click either the ‘yes button’ or the ‘no button’ thinking disinterest was the more effective way to say “NO!”.

  25. The Rev Kev

    Funny that image of the US Constitution going through a Banksy shredder. For some reason I have been thinking of a line from a 2001 film called “The Majestic” lately where a Hollywood agent is talking to the film’s hero as he has been called up to name “Communists” to clear his name. The hero says that he knows none and what about democracy? The agent replies-

    “The Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, they’re all just pieces of paper with signatures on them. And you know what a piece of paper with a signature is: a contract. Something that can be renegotiated at any time. Just so happens that the House un-American activities committee is renegotiating the contract this time around. Next time it will be somebody else, but it will always be somebody.”

    1. JBird4049

      Yeah, those who would “renegotiate”’such contracts are really only seizing power for themselves often with violence or at least the threat of it.

    1. dcblogger

      a view from inside the blue tsunami

      There was returning canvassers who just got their materials and went on their way, but there must have been about 60 or so newbies like us there (we were basically introduced to Harder and given a tutorial on how to canvass). I’m assuming many of us got fired up due to this weekend’s events.


      this is the real story of the 2018 election. 60 canvassers, nevermind 60 newbies is phenomenal. We saw this sort of thing in Virginia in 2017.

      remember that the polls had HRC winning the Michigan primary, but when the votes were counted, Bernie won. Ground game makes the difference.

  26. JBird4049

    Where were the Democrats when the the investigation was organized? Silent, of course!

    Free Kabuki. Just add popcorn.

    1. marym


      McConnell said the key moment of the confirmation process came at a meeting in his office with Republican members of the Judiciary Committee and three undecided Republican colleagues, Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Jeff Flake (Ariz.) on Sept. 28, the day after Kavanaugh testified.

      “The key meeting was in my office a week ago, yesterday,” he said.

      It was at that meeting that McConnell and his colleagues laid out the parameters of the weeklong FBI supplemental investigation into Kavanaugh’s background that would ultimately fail to find any evidence corroborating Ford’s claims and help clinch his confirmation.

      No Dems invited, it seems

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        And why weren’t they pounding the table about that?

        LIBERAL DEMOCRATS: We demand an FBI investigation!

        REPUBLICANS: OK, we’ll give you an FBI investigation

        LIBERAL DEMOCRATS: [sit back, satisfied].


  27. Wukchumni

    Spied a couple new lightning strike fires this a.m. in Mineral King in Sequoia NP, not far from where the Horse Creek Fire was a few months ago. They’re both what they call ‘sleepers’ as until this morning it was overcast and you couldn’t see anything. I called them in to park dispatch.

    One of them looks to be a toughie to fight with a hand crew, it was far away in the distance, but looked nearly inaccessible, no good place to hover a helo.

    Both are at about 5,000 feet right smack dab in the heart of the dead zone of 129 million expired trees.

  28. Ping

    Maybe Bill & Hill should pass out an accounting audit on how the Clinton Foundation spends its money, the stinking pay to play scheme, simply piggybacking claiming credit of those legitimate charities doing the REAL work while diverting massive funds that could have been spent on REAL needs .

    Sociopaths. Can’t stand them. So mad at Democrats. At least Republicans screw you to your face while dems stab in the back.

  29. Quentin

    Barbie and Ken, Hill and Bill, Mr. and Mrs. Clinton, the new Doll Pair just out in time for Christmas, birthday or whatever. Just buy and you’ll share the thrill, the living proof that ‘American is already great’ without Mr. Trump.

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