2:00PM Water Cooler 11/1/2018

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.



The unsayable:


4 days until Election Day, next Tuesday. Too late, I think, for any game-changing events. Even this year.

“For Handicapping Midterm Races, Old Rules May No Longer Apply” [Inside Elections]. “Because undecideds break disproportionately to the challenger, any incumbent who is winning by a point or is in a dead heat in the final 10 days of a campaign ought to be an underdog in the election. That’s why handicappers view incumbents who are ahead 44 percent to 43 percent or even 46 percent to 45 percent as being in terrible shape politically. (Incumbents who are running even or slightly ahead but are getting 48 or 49 percent of the vote have a better chance to eke out a win.) So, when I see a New York Times Upshot/Siena College poll showing New Jersey Republican Rep. Tom MacArthur leading Democratic challenger Andy Kim 45 percent to 44 percent 10 days out from the election, I have to believe that MacArthur is in deep trouble…. This year, it’s hard to know whether that handicapping rule of thumb will hold. President Donald Trump is an unusual political figure who has already violated multiple rules of handicapping, and only a fool would assume that all of the old political rules still apply…. The current political landscape is very different to the one we saw before 2015-2016. Voters are behaving differently (just look at the early voting), and the amount of money being spent in the midterms is astronomical. And, of course, the president is unlike other American president. In a week, we’ll know whether any of the midterm and late cycle rules of political handicapping still apply.”

“How Trump Is Winning The Midterm Elections” [Moon of Alabama]. “My personal hunch is that the Republicans will keep both houses and may even gain a few seats. The U.S. economy is doing relatively well…. The Democrats have neither a program nor a leadership that incites to vote fro them. They wasted two years with hyping a non-existent Russiagate that no one but Washington insiders and the media cares about. Did they actually oppose anything Trump did? They tried a #metoo stunt around a Supreme Court nomination but how effective was that?…. Trump continues to be an excellent salesman. He knows how to get and maintain attention. Each day he makes some outrageous claim or acts on some hot button issue. This has two effects: it is red meat for his base, and it gives major media attention to his politics. All of the above lets me expect a higher turnout of voters who lean Republican than of those who lean towards Democrats. The higher turnout wins.” • Correct to focus on turnout, but the post doesn’t mention money, of which the Democrats have great gobs.

“Hoping for a Midterm Split Decision” [Ross Douthat, New York Times]. “If you are a conservative who is moderately happy with some of Trump’s policy steps, fearful of liberalism in full power, but also fearful of Trump untrammeled and triumphant, the sensible thing to root for — and vote for — is the outcome that appears most likely at the moment: A Republican majority in the Senate and a Democratic majority in the House of Representatives.”

“Trump revives ‘Willie Horton’ tactic with ad linking illegal immigrant killer to Democrats” [WaPo]. “Pinned at the top of President Trump’s Twitter feed Wednesday was a video. The man on the screen has a shaved head and a mustache and long chin hair. Smiling, he announces, “I killed f‐‐‐— cops.” The man is Luis Bracamontes, a twice-deported Mexican immigrant who was given the death penalty in April for killing two California law enforcement officers in 2014…. “Illegal immigrant, Luis Bracamontes, killed our people!” reads text on the 53-second video, which is filled with audible expletives. ‘Democrats let him into our country. . . . Democrats let him stay.’ …. Whether it was simply an attempt to criticize Dukakis’s crime policies or if it was an appeal to racial fears, the “Willie Horton” ads worked. “Willie Horton was devastating to Mr. Dukakis,” the New York Times wrote in 1990.” • “Our people.” I hate that locution. Then again, since Bush gave us “Homeland,” I suppose “our people” was never going to be far behind.

“Toxic Tropes: “Skyrocketing” Racism Through Respectable Journalism” [Empire Burlesque]. Re so-called “anchor babies”: “We are talking about the birth of 370,000 children over a period of 26 years. 370,000 — in a population of 325,000,000. We are talking about a cohort of children spread out over more than a quarter of a century, eventually reaching a total of … 0.1 percent of the population.”

“Ohio Ordered to Count Ballots From Purged Voters” [Courthouse News]. “The Sixth Circuit ruled Wednesday that Ohio’s elections board must count provisional ballots cast in next week’s midterm election by residents who were purged from voter rolls between 2011 and 2015. The Cincinnati-based federal appeals court found that the subset of voters who moved outside their previous voting district received confirmation notices that likely did not clarify they would be removed from voter registration rolls if they didn’t vote or change their voter registration within four years of receiving the notice… The Sixth Circuit panel granted in part an emergency injunction sought by The Northeast Ohio Coalition for the Homeless, A. Philip Randolph Institute and voter Larry Harmon against Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted.”

FL Governor: “The Improbable Run of Andrew Gillum” [US News and World Report]. “Gillum has clutched to varying polling leads in the preponderance of general election surveys, with a few showing his advantage as high as between five and seven points, a margin that would amount to a blowout in normally too-close-to-call Florida and unprecedented for any Democrat in memory.”

GA Governor: “Georgia GOP Gubernatorial Candidate Ditches Final Debate At The ‘Last Minute'” [HuffPo]. “The final televised debate between Georgia gubernatorial candidates Stacey Abrams (D) and Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp (R) has been canceled after the Kemp’s 11th-hour decision to pull out of the Sunday forum. He has decided to campaign that day with President Donald Trump in the city of Macon instead.” • Profile in courage…

GA Governor: “Earlier this year, after purging more than half a million voters—more than three hundred thousand of them erroneously—and sidelining fifty-three thousand voter-registration applications in this election cycle, most of them from African-Americans (Abrams is black), Kemp said, “For anyone to think there’s a way to manipulate the process because you’re secretary of state is outrageous” [Sue Halpern, The New Yorker].

VA-07: “Spanberger campaign kicks out undercover staffer working for Project Veritas” [Richmond Times-Dispatch]. “The campaign of Democrat Abigail Spanberger on Wednesday confronted and kicked out a volunteer who was working with Project Veritas, a conservative group that has used deceptively edited undercover video to try to embarrass Democrats and others….” • James O’Keefe, the founder of Project Veritas, is a creep, but “undercover” is richly ironic, given Spanberger’s CIA background.

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Wall Street Tries to Shape Democratic Victory by Backing Moderates” [Bloomberg]. “For the first time in a decade, the securities and investment industries are spending more on Democrats than Republicans ahead of the Nov. 6 midterm elections. Bankers are also giving to Democrats. A big part of that is anti-Trump, but a lot of the money is flowing to moderate Democrats, a sign Wall Street is seeking Washington allies to temper the impact of progressives such as Representative Maxine Waters and Senator Elizabeth Warren, who are poised to hit the industry with subpoenas and tougher oversight….. “It’s going to be a very thin majority,” said Paul Merski, a lobbyist for the Independent Community Bankers of America. Moderate Democrats, especially those who win in swing districts, ‘will be the deciding factor. And they agree with us on a lot of things.'” • I’m shocked.

“Democrats are playing ‘defense’ against the GOP’s Wall Street deregulation agenda, Sen. Sherrod Brown says” [CNBC]. Brown: “Yeah, I have little interest in reimposing Glass-Steagall. That’s an answer to a question that’s not being asked. Breaking up the banks – they’re too big and too powerful – that’s not on my agenda. My agenda is to, as you say, play defense, to make sure we have a vibrant consumer protection agency.” • That’s throwing the red meat! That’s the stuff to give the troops!

“Americans see voter suppression as a bigger problem than voter fraud” [WaPo]. “More than half of Republicans think that even one illegally cast ballot is a major problem; only a little more than a quarter of Democrats agree. But that these laws also have the effect of something that three-quarters of Republicans call a major problem — obstructing hundreds of legal votes — doesn’t seem to prompt objections.”

Thread on family separation, and the continuities between Clinton, Bush, Obama, and Trump. Lots of links:

Stats Watch

Productivity and Costs, Q3 2018: “Growth in productivity slowed in the third quarter but still remained respectable” [Econoday]. “The best of both worlds, of course, is to have strong real wage gains along with strong output and limited gains in hours worked — which is pretty much the mix of today’s report.” And but: “Productivity trend is improving while unit labor cost trend is slowing” [Econintersect]. “If data is analyzed in year-over-year fashion, non-farm business productivity improved 1.3% year-over-year, and unit labor costs were up 1.5% year-over-year [last month’s final published 1.9%. Bottom line: the year-over-year data is saying that labor costs are outpacing productivity improvements.”

Purchasing Managers Manufacturing Index, October 2018: “Led by a sharp increase in new orders, composite growth in October’s PMI manufacturing sample is steady” [Econoday]. “Cost pressures are described as “intense”, reflecting higher raw material costs and tariff-related pressure for metals, with pass through to customers accelerating. The steady-and-solid verdict from this sample is a positive indication for favorable closure to a strong year for manufacturing.”

Institute For Supply Management Manufacturing Index, October 2018: “A little slowing from an extremely strong rate of growth is October’s outcome for ISM’s manufacturing sample” [Econoday]. “[A] little slowing is probably good news for ISM’s sample which had been running at a record and perhaps unsustainable pace for more than a year. And even though growth has slowed, it remains very solid and points to a positive close for 2018.” And but: “[B]elow expectations… and suggests manufacturing expanded at a slower pace in October than in September. This was still a solid report” [Calculated Risk].

Construction Spending, September 2018: “A big upward revision to August offsets a no-change headline for September construction spending. But year-on-year rates tell the story,” up sharply [Construction Spending]. “This series is notorious for its volatility which the revision to August underscores. And though strength is evident in public spending and also areas of nonresidential construction, spending on single-family homes is a clear shortcoming in today’s report and one that was unfortunately evident in last week’s third-quarter GDP report which was pulled down by weakness in residential investment.” And: “This was below consensus expectations, however spending for July and August were revised up” [Calculated Risk].

Challenger Job-Cut Report, October 2018: “A massive 44,000 layoff announcement at Verizon skewed October’s count sharply higher” [Econoday]. “These results may have little immediate bearing on October’s employment report for tomorrow, yet they may be an early warning shot that labor demand may be peaking.” And: “For the third time this year, one company’s [Verizon’s] announcement has made up the bulk of job cuts for one month” [Econintersect]. “Retail continues to lead all sectors in job cut announcements with 92,375, 7,350 of which occurred in October. Much of these cuts were tied to Sears’s bankruptcy and announcement of 142 additional store closures.”

Jobless Claims, week of October 27, 2018: “October was a very healthy month for the labor market based on jobless claims data” [Econoday]. Very little effect from Hurricane Michael. Challenger’s report earlier this morning does show a giant spike in layoff announcements during October and as these announcements are turned into fact a visible swelling in claims would be no surprise. But for now, going into tomorrow’s employment report, the labor market looks extremely healthy.” And: “This was slightly higher than the consensus forecast. The low level of claims suggest few layoffs” [Calculated Risk].

Shipping: “Package delivery robots coming to the Bay Area” [Supply Chain Dive]. “Autonomous delivery robots made by Starship Technologies will deliver packages to urban dwellers in the Milton Keynes area of the U.K., and will expand to the San Francisco area by the end of the year, the company told Supply Chain Dive in an email. Initially, autonomous parcel deliveries will be available within a three-mile radius of Starship facilities with robots making 15 to 25 deliveries per day operating from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. The robots are able to make the journey to the user’s door using ‘many sensors, including 10 cameras, ultrasound sensors, radar, and GPS,’ Henry Harris-Burland, vice president of marketing for Starship Technologies said in an email.” • 15 to 25 deliveries a day doesn’t seem like much. Of course, companies don’t actually have to make money these days…

Shipping: “The bottom line for logistics companies is inextricably tied to the financial health of their customers. XPO Logistics Inc. saw its third-quarter results squeezed by a customer bankruptcy in Europe…. even as strong freight demand drove up margins in its less-than-truckload business” [Wall Street Journal]. “XPO reported $4.3 billion in quarterly revenue, $100 million off from analyst expectations. Costs from the customer bankruptcy dragged down operating income in its logistics segment and XPO lowered its full-year target by several million dollars.”

Tech: “Father of Web says tech giants may have to be split up” [Reuters]. Underline that word “may.” TBL: “Before breaking them up, we should see whether they are not just disrupted by a small player beating them out of the market, but by the market shifting, by the interest going somewhere else.” • Oh.

Tech: “Announcing some security treats to protect you from attackers’ tricks” [Google]. The headline doesn’t reflect what is to me the lead, buried five paragraphs down: “we’ll now require that JavaScript is enabled on the Google sign-in page.” And: “Chances are, JavaScript is already enabled in your browser; it helps power lots of the websites people use everyday. But, because it may save bandwidth or help pages load more quickly, a tiny minority of our users (0.1%) choose to keep it off. This might make sense if you are reading static content, but we recommend that you keep Javascript on while signing into your Google Account so we can better protect you.” • So we can better protect you….

Political Risk: “Opinion: Midterms could surprise, throwing a monkey wrench into investors’ dreams” [MarketWatch]. “The midterms have caused some jitters, but most investors and traders still think Democrats will retake the House of Representatives by a small margin, while Republicans will maintain control of the Senate. To status quo-loving Wall Street, that’s the best of all possible worlds…. If progressives Andrew Gillum and Stacey Abrams become governors of Florida and Georgia, Wall Street may start quaking in its boots, and the midterms, which haven’t been a big factor in the recent sell-off, could suddenly loom large.”

Political Risk: “Opinion: Investors should look forward to a green wave after the midterm election” [MarketWatch]. “While some shift in power is expected, and priced into the market early in the year, the magnitude of that shift and the impact that will have on policy is unknown until late in the year. Consequently, markets tend to rally near the election, when the results are more predictable, and continue to move upward after the votes are tallied. In fact, since 1950, the average one-year return following a midterm election is 15%; that’s more than double the average return in all other years over the same timeframe.”

Our Famously Free Press

“How a lie about George Soros and the migrant caravan multiplied online” [USA Today].

“Recode, the original good tech news site, is folding into Vox.com (but relaunching next year)” [Neiman Labs]. “The archives will remain up and no layoffs will happen.” • Consolidation even among the small fry.


“Econo-missed #6: Markets aren’t enough to solve climate change” [Data for Progress]. “The market may prove to be a powerful tool in reducing carbon emissions, but the climate crisis is far too vast to be challenged from the market alone. More important than a carbon tax is government sponsored investment in our infrastructure and energy system — an investment made possible by a Green Jobs for All program. If a jobs guarantee can rebuild Americans’ trust in government while we tax the rich back to the 20th Century, then maybe a Green New Deal is possible.” • The author that a Federal carbon tax can be used to fund Federal programs (for example. Bruenig’s “social wealth” fund). You can’t get a Green New Deal going if your first act is to climb inside the austerity box.

“Energy company applies to drill wells near former Rocky Flats nuclear weapons plant” [Denver Post]. “Highlands Natural Resources Corp., registered in the United Kingdom, applied this month to the state for a spacing plan for wells on a 2,560-acre site where it has leased minerals in the area of the Rocky Flats National Wildlife Refuge. Rocky Flats, between Denver and Boulder, was converted to a wildlife refuge after a $7.7 billion Superfund cleanup of a plant that produced plutonium triggers for nuclear bombs from 1952 to 1989. The Department of Energy retains control of a 1,300-acre fenced core where contaminated waste is buried.” • What could go wrong? (The filing is also under the wire for the possible passage of Proposition 112.)

Heatlh Care

“A Sense of Alarm as Rural Hospitals Keep Closing” [New York Times]. “In every year since 2011, more hospitals have closed than opened. In 2016, for example, 21 hospitals closed, 15 of them in rural communities.” • Oddly, consolidation doesn’t seem to be part of the story.

Not some Twitter troll:

Class Warfare

Google walkout:

Note #2. I hope that applies to everyone on the Google campus.

“We’re the Organizers of the Google Walkout. Here Are Our Demands” [The Cut]. “A commitment to end pay and opportunity inequity, for example making sure there are women of color at all levels of the organization, and accountability for not meeting this commitment. This must be accompanied by transparent data on the gender, race and ethnicity compensation gap, across both level and years of industry experience, accessible to all Google and Alphabet employees and contractors. Such data must include, but not be limited limited to: information on relative promotion rates, under-leveling at hire, the handling of leaves, and inequity in project and job ladder change opportunities. The methods by which such data was collected and the techniques by which it was analyzed and aggregated must also be transparent.” • See query above.

News of the Wired

Safe European home:

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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 (MF):

MF writes; “A wild columbine from Fort Hill, Highland County, Ohio. With a fern in the background. Fort Hill is a Hopewell Indian site at the very edge of the Appalachian Plateau.” I love columbines, so elegant and old-fashioned. Until this year, mine have always done very well; not sure what the problem was, because I didn’t change anything.

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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. A Small Part Of The Pantomime

      Interesting map. Greece has nothing on Georgia (85%) and Albania (84%), according to the map.

        1. Wukchumni

          I’d suspect that even that 1/3rd of Americans with less than $400 in savings, would lean towards being superior.

        1. ambrit

          Good heavens. If Cher and the Kardashians are the best the Armenians can give us, well, their circumspection is understandable.

      1. s.n.

        Greece has nothing on Georgia (85%) and Albania (84%), according to the map.

        no, Albania was not surveyed. The country situated next to Georgia with very high self-esteem is of course Armenia.

  1. DonCoyote

    In Arizona, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema runs hard to the middle, defying most of her party. Will it work? (By Betteridge’s law of headlines, no).

    Trump is “not a part of what I think my constituents are worried about or think about.” Nor, she added, is partisanship. “It’s not about a party,” Sinema said. “It never is about party. It’s about putting people ahead of party. I don’t think party matters much to people.”

    Sinema has stuck to this script ever since, touting herself as a lawmaker who will work with “literally anyone who is willing to get something done” and intentionally omitting her political affiliation from her campaign ads. Asked in a recent interview whether she considers herself a “proud Democrat,” the candidate couldn’t bring herself to answer yes.

    1) So has Tom Perez (or Hillary Clinton) decided Sinema “isn’t a Democrat” yet?
    2) Is “getting something done” really a good thing, if all you do are terrible things?

    1. jo6pac

      She started out OK but joined the blue doggies not much of a middle of the road type. I think tony and hillabllie might be just fine with her.

      Sinema began her political career as a Green Party activist before joining the Democratic Party and becoming a state legislator.[2]
      After her election to Congress, she shifted toward the political center, joining the conservative Democratic Blue Dog Coalition and the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus and amassing a center-left voting record.[3] Sinema has worked for the adoption of the DREAM Act and has campaigned against Propositions 107 and 102, two voter referendums to ban the recognition of same-sex marriage and civil unions in Arizona. She was the first openly bisexual person elected to the U.S. Congress.

      Sinema was a social worker from 1995 to 2002. In 2000, she worked on Ralph Nader’s presidential campaign

      1. Polar Donkey

        Needless is doing same thing here in Tennessee. He’ll work with anyone, just hasn’t said what that work would be. Hasn’t worked for him so far.

      2. Procopius

        I find it very annoying that they always call it “moving to the political center” when they really mean “moving to the right.” From my point of view, if the Democrat elite “moved far to the left” they’d be approaching the ‘”political center” from the right.

  2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Bernie Sanders drenched in sweat after giving his third speech of the day. “Brothers and sisters, you are not living in a democracy; you are living in an oligarchy.”


    It’s OK to say ‘comrades.’

    So is ‘friends.’

    Brothers, sisters, Mr., Mrs., Miss, Ms, Madame, Sir, Lord, Mistress, etc…they are relics from before the genderless egalitarian world we are headed.

    1. divadab

      “comrade” from wrong religion. brother, sister, or zir or zeze – whatever turns your crank. Just not commies please.

      -Amerigo Zucchini

    2. rps

      Unfortunately, that is the plan. The purpose of Political Correct is to control our thought processes by restricting oral and written language.

      “Language carries culture, and culture carries, particularly through orature and literature, the entire body of values by which we come to perceive ourselves and our place in the world. How people perceive themselves affects how they look at their culture, at their politics and at the social production of wealth, at their entire relationship to nature and to other beings. Language is thus inseparable from ourselves as a community of human beings with a specific form and character, a specific history, a specific relationship to the world.”

      “Colonialism’s most important area of domination is the mental universe of the colonised, the control, through culture, of how people perceived themselves and their relationship to the world. Economic and political control can never be complete or effective without mental control. To control a people’s culture is to control their tools of self-definition in relationship to others.” Decolonising the MInd: The Politics in African Literature. Ngugi wa Thiong’o

      Consumers- is the PC salutary winner. Control the language is to control the people.

      1. Tvc15


        “‘Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to narrow the range of thought? In the end we shall make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it.’”

    3. polecat

      I prefer to hold on and keep my gender very close to my .. er .. chest. About those egals — They will have to pry my parts from my cold, dead pronoun !

    4. Lambert Strether Post author

      I don’t think “comrade”; to me, that’s reserved for somebody who, say, took a (literal) punch for you. There’s a level of commitment and intimacy that, ironically, “brothers and sisters” (I think a union trope?) does not have. I cringe when I imagine “comrade” being used in coffee shops, for example. “Friends” is fine too, but I think “brothers and sisters” has a lot better rhythm to it.

  3. Darius

    Can we call it an exodus, not a caravan? Caravan connotes organization and vehicular transportation. Exodus connotes chaotic flight on foot. Which is what this is. Due to US-imposed reigns of terror in the affected countries.

    1. Wukchumni

      If the right leaning propagandists were to call it what it really is, hardly any of their constituency would know what a diaspora is.

    2. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

      Every exit is an entrance.

      Life is but a journey. Be a traveler with your fellow travelers. (Never fall so low as to become a tourist!!!)

  4. Baby Gerald

    Thanks for another day of excellent stories to sift through. I really don’t know how I’d keep sane without my daily dose of NC/WC links and commentary.

    In poking around my bookmarks this morning, I came across this story in the New Republic that you might want to feature as a kind of perfect nexus between your ‘2018’ and ‘Class Warfare’ sections:

    The GOP’s Sneakiest Voter Suppression Tactic

    In summary, it’s shenanigans afoot, as usual. This time, it’s the closing of polling sites or their relocation beyond the reach of public transportation in order to keep poor and minority voters away on election day. We thought gerrymandering/voter ID laws were bad, but it doesn’t get more blatant than this.

    1. marym

      Thank you for the link.

      From your link:

      “When we think about old-style voter suppression,” Anderson continued, “we often think about the violence, the clash on the Pettus Bridge, the murders of folks like Herbert Lee and Louis Allen, who were working to get people to register to vote. But Jim Crow operated under the legal system. That’s what we miss. The laws, the poll taxes, the literacy tests—they all had the aura of legitimacy. What we have today, with poll closures done in the interest of ‘streamlining’ and ‘saving taxpayer money,’ is no less pernicious. And no less pervasive.”

      Rev. Barber on voter suppression (tweet with video)

      “But when you attack the right to vote, that came through blood, you have picked a fight at another level. How dare you trample on the graves of our mothers and our fathers. How dare you wipe your feet through the blood of the slaughter.”

    2. Elizabeth Burton

      I’ve been telling the people who are stridently demanding everyone vote that if they’re serious they should be contacting a local candidate and offering to provide transportation or babysitting or whatever other support service might be needed to help the people they’re nagging. It’s truly amazing the level of silence that inevitably follows. Not even “likes” or shares.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        Based on my experience, the people who engage in this kind of activity are the least likely to gripe out about Nader, the Russians, and Susan Sarandon. After all, they could miss a Trump tweet being totally owned!

    3. Carla

      … beyond the reach of public transit — just another kinda poll tax.

      BTW, witnessed at the Cuyahoga County (Ohio) Board of Elections yesterday: during early voting, occasionally, a cheer and applause would break out. I asked what was going on and was told, “Oh, that’s what happens every time they announce a first-time voter.”

    4. AbateMagicThinking But Not Money

      Baby Gerald and voter suppression:

      As a student of the US constitution (compare and contrast with the UK’s lack), I am always staggered by the fact that the locals run federal elections.

      It reminds me of the now ancient British TV comedy – “The League of Gentlemen” and the catch-phrase that somehow fits so many of life’s situations:

      “This is a local shop for local people.”


  5. Jake Mudrosti

    There’s something interesting in that map of Ottoman Europe + Russia : folks can be convinced of great things while being surrounded by major dysfunction.

    It’s easier to appreciate how this happens when considering a case right here: A couple days ago there was a NC link to a Scientific American article titled “Schrodinger’s bacterium” that filled up the whole bingo card: factually false, tendentious, overblown. It tossed around phrases that are scientifically meaningless, but would be at home on a crystal healing website. Notice the slight of hand in the article, mentioning mathematical degrees of freedom and then metaphorically dropping a fake rabbit in front of you, by referring to a whole bacterium. This was linked as an example of science “popping.”

    It simply shows that the author never read the 1935 cat paper, and never kept up with the past few decades of developments in Field Theory. I mean, if we start with the cat paper, Schrodinger used multiple italics to stress NOT, and it’s referenced in the article as if he’d said OH YES. It’s a point I’ve made so often in NC comments, I stopped doing it so as to not be tiresome.

    So the question is: what sort of citations, evidence, authority., or other factors would do the trick? What is the pathway to an ‘aha’ or at least a ‘hey, waiiiiiiiiitaminit’ moment?

    1. dcrane

      I’m with you on the Schroedinger’s bacterium hype-science. One red flag was the journal, “Journal of Physics Communications”, a vehicle for “rapid publication” which has been around not much more than a year.

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        1) Journal of Physics Communications was introduced last year by the Institute of Physics. So far as I could tell, it’s reputable.

        2) The topic area itself is not daft. See, e.g., “Fattening up Schrödinger’s cat” (Nature) about “huge molecules” or “Could ‘Schrödinger’s bacterium’ be placed in a quantum superposition?” (Physics World). So, yes, science is popping.

        3) The Scientific American article is a popularization written for laypeople and is heavily caveated. It’s a valid and interesting area of research.

        1. dcrane

          On #1, skepticism is warranted toward all journals pushing rapid publication. My experience just from my own recently published papers, some of which have been in open-access journals of this sort that my colleagues would call reputable, has been that the peer review is often superficial, sometimes incredibly so. But that’s not to say I know anything more specific about this physics journal (outside my area).

          IMO the phrase “Schroedinger’s bacterium” is hype. It easily leads the mind to invalid ideas about what was actually discovered by the science. But I do understand that this sort of thing is unlikely to be avoided in the articles that popularize the science (your point #3).

  6. Wukchumni

    Saw this one shortly after lightning lit it up, and for a few weeks it was what is termed a ‘sleeper’ fire, as nothing was really going on, and then driving down MK road on Monday, it had more the look of a locomotive steadily emitting a plume of smoke. It’s in ridiculously steep terrain and as it took it a month to get to 5 acres, and Sequoia trees need fire to germinate so NPS will let it do it’s thing, a rare win-win when it comes to wildfires, as of late.

    The Eden Creek Grove is one of the least accessible stands of Sequoias i’m aware of, just looking at the torturous route of all off-trail effort to get there that requires a 2,000 foot descent, followed by a 4,000 foot ascent, gives me the willies.

    SEQUOIA NATIONAL PARK, Calif. November 1, 2018 – The Eden Fire, located in Eden Creek Grove of giant sequoias, south of Mineral King Road is now estimated to be approximately 5 acres. This lightning-caused fire started on October 4, 2018 during a series of thunderstorms that came through the area the first week of October.

    While smoke may be visible from the Mineral King Road and other higher points in the Three Rivers Area, the fire is burning in the steep and rugged terrain of the John Krebs Wilderness and poses no threats to life or property at this time. As such, firefighters are not suppressing the fire with any direct or indirect actions, doing so would have more of a negative impact on the wilderness than the fire itself.

  7. kurtismayfield

    RE: “Trump revives ‘Willie Horton’ tactic with ad linking illegal immigrant killer to Democrats”

    Sorry Trump.. the entire purpose of illegal immigration is wage suppression for the working class. Republicans are just as complicit in this as Democrats.

    1. Unna

      Thanks for this article, Matt. Some quotes:

      “Bernie Sanders’ “New Authoritarian Axis” winds up demonizing the same main enemies — Russia and China – that the warmongers at the Pentagon and the CIA want Americans to fear and hate. He does not oppose U.S. imperialism; he merely provides another, supposedly “progressive” rationale for preserving U.S. empire. Effectively, he is no different than Obama and Bush. His favored alliance is with the old colonial powers of western Europe and America’s fellow white settler states — just like every other racist, imperialist U.S. politician.”

      “Sanders’ “New Authoritarian Axis” seeks to give “progressives” a reason to accept, and even love, U.S. militarism and imperialism.”

      “Nonetheless, I hope Sanders does fantastically in the 2020 primaries, trounces the corporate Democrats Kamala Harris and Cory Booker, and forces the Party’s overseers to once again sabotage his campaign. Sanders will never leave the Party, but perhaps a critical mass of his followers will exit that putrid capitalist pigsty in search of real socialist, and truly democratic, solutions to humanity’s multiple crises.”

      Well, at least Glen Ford’s not one to mince words. Food for thought here no matter what you might think of Bernie

      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        I think Ford hits the nail on the head. A Sanders candidacy is the least interesting thing about him — interesting though that is!

        > His favored alliance is with the old colonial powers of western Europe and America’s fellow white settler states

        And the alternative structure of alliances would be? Genuine question! If politics ain’t beanbag, international politics is even less beanbag.

        (I do think that Sanders, as a politician, deserves some credit for getting to a bill that would get us out of Yemem first. Skate to where the puck will be, not where it is now…)

  8. Duke of Prunes

    I ran into this article and found it quite interesting, and kind of depressing. Kind of like the “4th turning”, but going back to ancient Greeks – we’ve entered a revolutionary phase (the election of Trump followed by the “Resistance”), and there’s no turning back. This is just something that happens every so often.


    I’ve never run into this site before. It seems very conservative, but I couldn’t tell from just reading this article.

    1. jo6pac

      It’s very conservative, little jonny yoo is contributor there and he is scary in my opinion.

      I do read Amerikan Conservative regularly and I’m the anti-war left.

  9. Mattski

    That anti-incumbent equation is interesting when applied to the FL gov race, because the Republicans have been in power here for 20 years. Gillum’s up by as much as 4-5 points here in the final days and I think he may pull it out. Of course, skullduggery is possible.

  10. Darthbobber

    Pew: Don’t we think there’s be high numbers for the polled statement in most of the world? Chinese, Japanese, US numbers probably around Russian levels? This statement would have served as a brief summary of the lesson to be drawn from high school and Sunday op-ed us history for most of my life. This is why, as Tolstoy opined, the refrain of Deutschland uber Allies made the perfect national anthem, as you needed change only the country name to have a perfectly sound summation of the conventional patriotism of any country.

    An aside: Contra a recent rash of pundits trying to draw a firm distinction between nationalism (bad) and patriotism (good), I would see them as different names for the same thing. If it makes someone feel better to use one word for the parts they like, and another for the parts they dislike, I suppose it doesn’t merit a sending off, but there is little point.

    1. todde

      was it Shaw who said wanting to live under your nation’s rules/culture is patriotism, wanting someone else to live under them is nationalism

      1. Darthbobber

        It was. But the second has a perfectly good name: Imperialism.
        Shaw also wanted to stigmatize the “bad side” of British nationalism, while reserving patriotism as a “good” word.

        A statement of his I liked on the Irish question: “If by British you mean that as a resident of Ireland I have exactly the same rights and legal status as a London Englishman, I will happily be West British. If you mean anything else, then I am Irish.” (from memory, so probably not exact).

      2. NotTimothyGeithner

        I found this.

        “Patriotism is, fundamentally, a conviction that a particular country is the best in the world because you were born in it….” -George Bernard Shaw (I’m assuming this is the Shaw you mean.

        A few people on different pages I opened up are huffing about how it should be “nationalism” not “patriotism,” and one comment refers to Shaw as “the author of the quote” and then implies Shaw doesn’t think immigrants can be patriotic about an adopted country.

        I can’t find a line matching yours except a myriad of pleas that nationalism and patriotism are different (I suppose I agree), but I suspect this is a Mandela Effect type situation for you.

        Nationalism must now be added to the refuse pile of superstitions. We are now citizens of the world, and the man who divides the race into elect Irishmen and reprobate foreign devils (especially Englishmen) had better live on the Blaskets where he can admire himself without disturbance. -Shaw for the win!

        1. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

          Not so fast, Mr. Shaw – “…because you were born in it.”

          Remember the zeal of the convert.

          It could be neoconservatives who were born in Europe and migrated to America (not all immigrants are good).

          Or it could an Austrian corporal who took over Germany.

          Their ‘patriotism’ might have been different (not born in it) , but quite fervent.

          1. NotTimothyGeithner

            In Shaw’s defense, outside of the U.S. conversion is fairly difficult, maybe Canada these days. A person who looks like me can’t really convert to Chinese. I do have shovel teeth (take that Liz Warren!), but then again I suppose the source of that characteristic probably arrived before the Middle Kingdom existed.

          2. Sparkling

            “not all immigrants are good” Well jeez, should we deport a bunch of people because they vote for the other party? Let’s allow Trump to kick out the Mexicans while we’re at it!

    2. marym

      In reference to the US role on the world stage the contrast is usually between “globalist” and what, these days, is called “America First nationalist” with reference to things like trade, labor, and international organizations and agreements.

      Domestically, when the right in the US dons the mantle of “nationalist” it refers to an increasingly unabashed “white nationalist” agenda, and is not the least bit “patriotic” (in some general sense of the word as love of country) if you believe that the US consists of all of us and all the work we’ve done and all the sacrifices many have made on behalf of all of us.

  11. MartyH

    “Correct to focus on turnout, but the post doesn’t mention money, of which the Democrats have great gobs.” … but wasn’t that also true in 2016? I forget but I thought ORANGE MAN was the financial underdog.

    1. jonhoops

      If you count the 2-6 Billion he got in free media, and the money Hillary spent on the Pied Piper Strategy, Trump probably came out ahead.

      1. NotTimothyGeithner

        When Presidential politics are at play, the utility of media has a hard ceiling. I would say MSDNC was a wall to wall commercial for Hillary Clinton with periodic actual Hillary Clinton campaign advertisements. I’ve been aware of Donald Trump, long before the first reality show he hosted was on the air, but simply by being a candidate for President or perhaps directly challenging an establishment icon in Jeb! (please clap) he will naturally rise in the public eye. Santorum had a rapid rise in 2012 as an alternative to the 2012 version of Jeb! (son of the mother of Presidents).

        Of course, one might suggest the HRC ads on MSNBC weren’t meant to reach voters as much as a means to encouraging positive coverage of HRC to prevent an Obama redux. Traditionally, most candidates face three problems: name identification, awareness of an election, and perceptions that the election isn’t winnable. Except for the last option in regards to Trump (I’m pretty certain a couple of uncles voted for Hillary or that Libertarian candidate because their vote didn’t matter but wouldn’t put it past them to have voted for Trump if they lived in more competitive areas), Presidents don’t have this problem except when it comes to the disconnect between the election date and voter registration dead lines which of course age going to effect renters most as they are most likely to have moved. If you expect both urban dwellers and non-voters to be more sympathetic to center left politics than the average regular voter, this is an issue. Especially with non-voters, how do you convince them to take time out? I’m a believer that Virginia is separated from North Carolina and Georgia because we (Democratic activists types in 2006) were able to take advantage of Republican George Allen’s fall from grace and convince people that voting against him mattered, leading to a larger perception victories were possible. One of my Republican uncles probably isn’t even registered despite giving to Republicans over the years. Where he lives in Taxachusetts voting for Trump was probably so gauche, he probably skipped his usual donation. At least, he didn’t show anyone the pictures of him and the nominee this go around.

    2. Lambert Strether Post author

      > ORANGE MAN was the financial underdog.

      He was. But if you read Ferguson, money is a powerful determinant (though there’s no single causation for anything interesting).

  12. Darthbobber

    Memo to Sherrod Brown: If static defense is… Err…out of fashion in everything from warfare to chess, it is not for no reason. An opponent who fears no counterplay and is therefore free to keep maneuvering against the fault lines in your defense will eventually break through. The only question is how long it takes.

  13. Ranger Rick

    It’s a very interesting oversight in reporting: the USA Today article about the “George Soros lie” starts with the assumption it is a lie. There’s no attempt to explain why it’s a falsehood to state that Soros is funding the caravan. Sure, it probably rests outside the scope of the article but even a hyperlink would have sufficed. There’s even an image of the New York Times tweet advertising an article explaining the situation, but no link to either the tweet or the article.

    1. clarky90

      Re “a conspiracy theory that liberal billionaire George Soros, a Jewish immigrant”

      Speaking as a person with a Jewish dad, I find this patronizing attitude towards all people with Jewish antecedents, abhorrent (as the ADL would say) and debilitating. (1) Either we are a “special”, helpless, powerless minority, with no agency of our own; no capacity for Evil and no Free Will Or (2) We are a powerful, influential community (but flawed), like many others. (Chinese, Indians, English…)

      But not simultaneously.

      #(1) Assumes that Jews have ONLY ever been the victims, but NEVER the victimizers. This means that everyone, everywhere must constantly defend us from bullies, as we are incapable of self defense. Always the loser. Always the innocent.

      This is absurd (history buffs), and IMO, deeply offensive. Lazar Moiseyevich Kaganovich springs to my mind….. “for his role in the Soviet famine of 1932–33 in Ukraine, and for his harsh treatment and execution of those deemed threats to Stalin’s regime.”

      Over the Ages, Judaism has produced it’s fair share of bloody tyrants.

      All groups of people have been victims and then victimizers (round and round). For instance, Britain.


      Why does every discussion about Jewish people devolve into charges of antisemitism?

      George Soros does not even practice Judaism (keep the Commandments). The God of the Old Testament speaks about this omission, at length.

      It is illogical to try and have things, both ways; Victim (but never a victimizer), The Shield of God (but doesn’t follow God’s Commandments).

      It is this vehemently defended contradiction that is the ultimate threat to my people and to my family. A community must make sense (be coherent, inwardly and outwardly) in order to flourish.

  14. Wukchumni

    President Donald Trump is supremely confident that evangelical Christians, who have consistently been among his most loyal supporters, will continue to show up for him during the upcoming midterm elections.

    With his characteristic sweeping bravado, Trump told a Christian news station that because of everything he has done for America’s religious groups, he’s certain evangelicals will come through for him, even though he’s not on the ballot next Tuesday.

    “They’re going to show up for me because nobody’s done more for Christians or evangelicals or, frankly, religion than I have,” he said in an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network published on Thursday.


    “If the liberties of the American people are ever destroyed, they will fall by the hands of the clergy.”

    Marquis de Lafayette

    1. Daryl

      Nobody’s ever done more for Christians? How about that Jesus feller.

      I realize I’m already thinking that statement through more than he did but it’s just funny.

  15. divadab

    Thank you, Lambert, and the others who run this site – Yves, I think primarily, but what do I know? – for making it load fast without heavy graphics – just so the text comes through when the data’s over the limit and throttled.

    Much obliged.

      1. dcrane

        Ditto…please don’t ever turn this site into some graphics-heavy glitz job like so many others! It’s great as-is.

    1. Yves Smith

      I’m glad you approve! We want readers to focus on the text and don’t see the need to redo the site every 2-4 years to conform with current fashion. But what makes the big difference is being sparing with ads.

  16. Wukchumni

    There’s always something historical that seems to match up to current day events, and the French Revolution and the similarities to now, in particular the real estate-backed paper money-assignats, which bears a clear resemblance to our QE practices. They worked for awhile, but way too many were issued, and like our Continental Currency (Not worth a Continental!) ended up being worth bupkis on account of hyperinflation, despite having land and property as collateral.

    “The greatest incongruity of all was the one that inspired the firmest confidence among the assignats’ supporters. In the money-assignat, two conflicting pictures of the world and two competing understandings of value were made to coincide. Building on the notes’ original relation to the biens nationaux and in deference to both aristocratic tradition and Physiocratic principle, land guaranteed value.Yet the point of treating assignats as money was to encourage wealth to move freely throughout France. As countless commentators noted, wealth, like blood and air, had to circulate; without motion, these otherwise munifcent forces
    produced only the most alarming results (hoarding, gangrene, miasmas).The logic at work in the money-assignats combined blood and agriculture; the assignats were, remarkably enough, land in a liquid, circulating form.”


  17. The Rev Kev

    Ah yes, … next Tuesday. A very important date that. Everybody I know has that November 6th marked on their calendars and all televisions will be tuned to follow the events of the day. The women are already selecting their outfits for the day and the men are calculating the odds. After all, the Melbourne Cup – “the race that stops a nation” – only come around once a year.


    1. Wukchumni

      I was in a shopping mall in Canberra when the Melbourne Cup went off, and everything went dead still.

  18. Gregorio

    The market might well be enough to solve climate change if governments quit subsidizing fossil fuels, particularly the subsidy of using a trillion dollar a year military to primarily defend oil fields and transportation routes in geo-politically unstable regions.

  19. Richard

    Moon is dead on ie Trump and the McResistance. The premier political fact of our time, and too rarely said: The libs oppose everything about who Trump is or who they think he is, and nothing at all about what he does.
    They appear completely powerless. He renders them incapable of any effective action. Any effective action would energize the wrong people, by which I mean us lumpenproles, and of course that is bad bad bad. So the best they can manage, the sad dollar dems, is whining and showtrials and The Bad Man, the Eternal Bad Man, and their other projections.

    1. Big Tap

      I like Moon of Alabama but b who runs the site is from Germany. Not sure in this case he’s up on the U.S. domestic economy. The economy is good but for who? Corporations and rich people now even richer via permanent tax cuts but not so much the typical American. The House should go to the Democrats. They than will do nothing useful again and hold endless hearings on Russiagate. Remember Pay-Go is coming. Both parties only talk about deficits or need for offsets on so called entitlements but rarely for the military budget which is the largest segment. Don’t get your hopes up.


      1. dcrane

        Yeah I have to wonder about MoA’s savviness on US elections, when I see him predicting gains for the GOP next week. It’s really tough to break the pattern of the incumbent party losing seats in the off-cycle election, and there isn’t much reason to doubt the enthusiasm of the D base to turn out this time. Just after the Kavanaugh nomination I wondered if Trump might have found the way to bring out a more of his people than otherwise would have been expected (and it is still possible), but the news fades fast these days. The caravan is a wild card however.

  20. Odysseus

    But, because it may save bandwidth or help pages load more quickly

    … and because it shouldn’t take a fully fledged AI to browse the web …

  21. bsg

    Re: Ohio election ruling

    This ruling extends the 2016 APRI ruling, which validated 644 provisional ballots in Franklin County in the 2016 Presidential election. The Supreme Court ruled earlier this year that Ohio’s voter roll maintenance/purge program was legal under the NVRA/Motor Voter law, but the debate and court battles continue.

    No matter which side one takes in the debate, the electorate’s needle is not moving very far based on this decision.

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