2:00PM Water Cooler 11/29/2018

By Lambert Strether of Corrente.

Readers, this Water Cooler is a bit shorter than usual because I needed to plow through a lot of literature to write my BECCS post. And I’m going to take a nap, when I’m done. I’ll make it up to you tomorrow, I swear! –lambert

Politics

“But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature?” –James Madison, Federalist 51

2020

“Tijuana Tear Gas Maker is Cory Booker Backer” [TYT]. “Warren Kanders is the head of Safariland, a defense supplies vendor that reportedly supplied at least some of the chemical agents used by Customs and Border Protection this weekend on migrants, including women and children…. anders has a significant history of political donations, having contributed large sums of money mostly to the Republican Party, but more recently to two high-profile Democrats–Booker and Hillary Clinton–according to FEC data reviewed by TYT. In 2013, Kanders gave Booker $10,400. The contributions exceeded campaign-finance limits, and the campaign refunded $5,200. Kanders’ wife Allison also contributed to Cory Booker the same year — to the exclusion of any other candidates — doling out $10,400, half of which was also refunded. dThe same year, Kanders and his wife both served as members of the host committee for a private fundraiser benefiting Booker’s campaign. The fundraiser was held July 2, 2013, and tickets cost between $1000 and $5000. The following year, Kanders gave $5,000 to the Booker Senate Victory fund.” • Ka-ching.

“Tracking Congress In The Age Of Trump” [FiveThirtyEight]. Sanders ranks #4 among Senators for least votes with Trump (11.4%). For comparison, Schumer”s score is 25.3%. Sherrod Brown: 28.3%. And Bernies not even a Democrat!

Grifters gotta grift:

He’s got the family name and the jawline:

2018

“The Pelosi Playbook” [Jacobin]. “Pelosi is arguably the perfect avatar for today’s moribund Democratic Party: awash in money, steeped in conflicts of interest, hopelessly anchored to an illiberal and always-moving center, and pathologically unable to fully stand up for what should theoretically be its own principles — all of which makes her unsuited to leading the party in the current moment.” • And the best available, says AOC. Correctly.

“High hopes for Hakeem Jeffries” [The Economist]. New Democrat Caucus leader, who is not Barbara Lee: “Mr Jeffries is not a member of the moderate New Democrats faction, but he often sounds as if he should be. He is a fan of charter schools and fiscal rectitude. Though he supports the principle of universal health-care coverage, he speaks of “the importance of market forces and getting things done in a responsible fashion”. Quoting Ronald Reagan approvingly, he suggests this means promoting a flourishing private sector outside the “legitimate functions” of government…. Yet despite his bold attachment to the real world, Mr Jeffries is not merely unchallenged by his party’s Utopian wing. He is admired. In an interview with a left-wing radio host, waves of adulation come pulsing through the speakerphone. She congratulates Mr Jeffries for his ‘unapologetic progressive streak.” As the Democrats contemplate advancing from the wilderness, this raises a salient question: how does he get away with it?” • I can’t imagine. See Black Agenda Report here, here, and here. And then there’s this:

Realignment and Legitimacy

“Voters approved wage hikes, but GOP lawmakers have other ideas” [Bangor Daily News]. “Voters took to the polls in November and approved big hikes in four states’ minimum wages: Washington State, Colorado, Maine and Arizona. But the increases may not actually take effect as voters intended because elected representatives — mostly Republicans — are moving to rein them in.”

“Why we stopped trusting elites” [Guardian]. Conclusion: “Unless liberal institutions and their defenders are willing to reckon with their own inability to sustain trust, the events of the past decade will remain opaque to them. And unless those institutions can rediscover aspects of the original liberal impulse – to keep different domains of power separate, and put the disinterested pursuit of knowledge before the pursuit of profit – then the present trends will only intensify, and no quantity of facts will be sufficient to resist. Power and authority will accrue to a combination of decreasingly liberal states and digital platforms – interrupted only by the occasional outcry as whistles are blown and outrages exposed.” • Worth a read. I’m not sure the article delivers on the headline, though. (The focus is the UK, so many obvious examples from the [genuflects] Obama administration are omitted.

“Dear liberals, don’t assume people of colour will solve all your problems” [Guardian]. “TAhe ethno-nationalists of the world are afraid. People like rightwing Fox News pundit Laura Ingraham spent much of the past year ranting about how ‘massive demographic changes have been foisted upon the American people.’ Census reports confirm her fears, projecting that by 2044 50.3% of all Americans will be minorities. Liberals have adopted the opposite frame, heralding the fact that white people will soon be a minority. The assumption is that a more diverse America is destined to create a progressive wave that will deliver Democratic party victories.” • As if the Repubicans weren’t feral enough to display adaptability over a 2044 – 2018 = 26 year span!

Stats Watch

Jobless Claims, week of November 24, 2018: “Initial claims are up for a third straight week” [Econoday]. “Also moving higher are continuing claims… Unemployment claims do appear to be shifting higher which doesn’t point to another month of outstanding strength for the November employment report.” • [hums: I’ll be home for Christmas….]. And: “24 November 2018 Initial Unemployment Claims Rolling Average Again Worsens” [Econintersect].

Personal Income and Outlays, October 2018: “The headlines for personal income… and consumer spending [which are up,] may be a little overstated but today’s report for October is strong with only a few moderate details. And moderate may be well overstated for the inflation data which look very subdued” Econoday]. “This is a very healthy report showing that inflation is stable and that consumers are willing to spend as the holidays open up.” Maybe. And: “The increase in personal income, and the increase in PCE, were both above expectations” [Calculated Risk]. And but: “Consumer income growth year-over-year is marginally lower than spending growth year-over-year” [Econintersect].

Pending Home Sales Index, October 2018: “This has not been a good run for housing data. Pending home sales fell” very steeply [Econoday]. “Case-Shiller and FHFA home price data opened the week showing softness followed by yesterday’s tumble for new home sales followed now by a tumble for pending resales. Housing has had a flat year and looks to be limping badly into year end.” And: “well below expectations for this index. Note: Contract signings usually lead sales by about 45 to 60 days, so this would usually be for closed sales in November and December” [Calculated Risk]. And: “The rolling averages remain in negative territory. The data is very noisy and must be averaged to make sense of the situation. The long term trends continue to be generally downward” [Econintersect].

Banks: “Deutsche Bank offices raided in money laundering probe” [Reuters]. “Police raided six Deutsche Bank offices in and around Frankfurt on Thursday over money laundering allegations linked to the “Panama Papers”, the public prosecutor’s office in Germany’s financial capital said… In 2016 alone, over 900 customers were served by a Deutsche Bank subsidiary registered on the British Virgin Islands, generating a volume of 311 million euros, the prosecutors said.”

Tech: “Facebook has a problem with black people, former employee charges” [USA Today] (original). “[Mark] Luckie says at least two to three times a day, a Facebook employee would clutch their wallet when walking by him.” • Yikes.

Tech: “An Amazon revolt could be brewing as the tech giant exerts more control over brands” [Recode]. “Over the past few months, Amazon has applied intense pressure to consumer brands across different product categories — seizing more control over what, where and how they can sell their goods on the so-called everything store, these people say. dOne apparent goal: To take more control over the price of goods on Amazon so the company can better compete with retailers. The power moves are also believed to be a prelude to a new internal system that Amazon has yet to launch called One Vendor. The new initiative will essentially funnel big brands and independent sellers alike through the same back-end system in a supposed effort to improve the uniformity of the shopping experience across Amazon on the public-facing side.” • Too funny. User experience is not high on the list of things that drive Amazon.

Gaia

“Bee-brained” [Aeon]. “However, there are now many signs that consciousness-like phenomena might exist not just among humans or even great apes – but that insects might have them, too… At its evolutionary roots, we think that consciousness is an adaptation that helped to solve the problem of how moving organisms can extract meaningful information from their sense organs. In an ever-changing and only semi-predictable environment, consciousness can solve this problem more efficiently than unconscious mechanisms possibly could. It involves manifold features, but some include: a grasp of time and space; the capacity for self-recognition; foresight; emotions; and top-down processing… one of von Frisch’s students, Martin Lindauer, peered into a beehive duri\ng the night and discovered that some bees advertised the locations of various foraging bonanzas they’d discovered the previous day. Before midnight, they ‘talked about’ locations visited the previous evening – and in the hours before sunrise, they discussed the locations they’d visited on the morning prior…. The key implication of Lindauer’s discovery is that bees are capable of ‘offline thinking’ about spatial locations, and of linking these locations to a time of day, in the absence of an external trigger. That’s not what should happen if bees’ memories are merely prompted by environmental stimuli, combined with internal triggers such as hunger. Bees, then, appear to have at least one of the principal hallmarks of consciousness: representations of time and space.” • So neonicotinoids make the biosphere net out stupider…

“Plot twist: Mitochondrial DNA can come from both parents” [Ars Technica].”[Mitochondria] contain a relatively tiny amount of DNA, and in nearly all mammals and even unicellular organisms, that DNA comes strictly from the mother. But in 2002, researchers in Copenhagen reported a jaw-dropping finding. In an effort to work out why one of their patients had extreme fatigue during exercise despite seeming healthy in many respects, they started examining his mitochondria—the energy-generating power stations living in each cell. What they found floored them: the man had mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) that matched both his father’s and his mother’s. Since 2002, no other cases of paternally inherited mtDNA have been reported in humans, despite several research groups actively looking. But a paper in this week’s PNAS reports mtDNA inherited from both parents in 17 different people from three families. This kind of inheritance is still extremely rare and seems potentially linked to mitochondrial disease, but the robust confirmation of it in humans is huge news for biology and medicine.” • Science is popping…

“The media got it all wrong on the new US climate report” [New York Post]. “Exaggeration is understandable but dangerous, because it risks wasting resources on the wrong policy answers, and gives ammunition to those who would ignore this real challenge.”

Our Famously Free Press

“Our Earned Media President” [Rolling Stone]. “Which gets us to this: We need him as much as he needs us. When Trump talks about how good his presidency has been for ratings and the media business, he’s right. Remember what former CBS executive Les Moonves said about Trump’s run in 2016: “It may not be good for America, but it’s damn good for CBS.” The post-election “Trump bump” for news organizations was real, and his presidency continues to drive sky-high ratings and easy web traffic. Why else would CNN and MSNBC cover him all day long, a never-ending BREAKING NEWS presidency?””

Class Warfare

“Nearly 90% of Internships in the Arts Are Unpaid, New Study Finds” [Frieze]. “The research concluded that the failure to pay interns excludes those from low and middle-income backgrounds, further precluding young people from diverse backgrounds entering the arts sector.” • This is the UK, but I’m sure the situation is the same here. A Jobs Guarantee would solve this problem.

Wait a minute. I thought all people who lives in Red States were exactly alike. Thread:

“Fed Says Millennials Are Just Like Their Parents. Only Poorer” [Bloomberg]. “[Millennial] spending habits are a lot like the generations that came before them, they just have less money at this point in their lives, the Fed study found. The group born between 1981 and 1997 has fallen behind because many of them came of age during the financial crisis.” • Yes. They should have chosen a different time to be born. Or different parents.

News of the Wired

Wait ’til he finds out the platinum iridium meter was melted down. Mildly NSFW thread:

I’m surprised Uber hasn’t done this already:

Seems oddly relevant:

I think Louise Bourgeois is great. She is a mistress of tangibles.

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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 (TH):

TH writes: “Roses at the Westminster Rose Center in Westminster, California.”

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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.

146 comments

    1. Synoia

      That is very good framing for the Uni party theory. We as so lucky that our politicians are immortal, and learn from their mistakes.

      Before one considers them “unable to learn,” please consider “what they learned”. One suspects it could be called sociopathy.

      Reply
      1. John

        IMHO it’s a problem of youth. Bernie started smaller–as the mayor of Burlington, for example–before he made his way to Congress, and once he got there, he was completely out of the limelight. He spent over two decades being the sole leftist there (by American standards) before his presidential nomination campaign that introduced most Americans to him. By that point he had already spent decades fighting for progressive causes and rarely compromising, and he hardly did during his campaign, either.

        AOC, on the other hand, at the very beginning of her career has come into the national spotlight by storm, and every move of hers is being watched. She just doesn’t have the history because she’s only 28. The Party is also going to be much more wary of her than they were with Sanders for most of his career, whom they were willing to allow in the room as the crazy uncle at family gatherings.

        Reply
        1. Lee

          IMHO it’s a problem of youth.

          There was a time in my life when I would have taken offense at this observation. Ah, but that was long ago.

          Reply
      2. Sparkling

        “They have learned nothing, and forgotten nothing.”

        Again and again and again. You would think that after two hundred years of this crap the elites would finally understand it breeds the same catastrophe every time it’s tried, but they never seem to.

        Sociopaths at least have a self-preservation instinct. I have no choice but to conclude that these people are just willfully ignorant!

        Reply
    2. Darius

      Unfortunately, it’s true. It’s the sign of an ossified, degenerated party that 20 ambitious junior members haven’t been planning their own leadership bids for years and are ready muscle Pelosi aside. She presided over four disastrously failed elections, for goddess’s sake. Instead, they allow Pelosi to anoint Jeffries, whose success shows that the main difference between Democrats and Republicans is optics.

      Reply
      1. JBird4049

        A well functioning organization thinks and plans long term including farming new leadership be it a corporation, NGO, the police, the political party, or the local dog pound; the increasing lack throughout American society is scary.

        Reply
    3. barefoot charley

      FWIW progressive Democrats never lined up against Pelosi–it was blue-dog moderates who made trouble, thinking she was too liberal to help them keep running as RINOs. The left wing seems to think, as AOC said clearly, that no one better for them is in the offing. Pelosi is as liberal as Feinstein, TINA.

      Reply
    4. Gareth MacLeod

      It’s a shame for sure, but I think AOC has been taking more heat than she deserves for saying so. There seems to be broad agreement among the leftist sources I watch that she is right: all the available alternatives are right of Pelosi.

      Lesson being what we already knew: we need to develop a deep bench of progressive talent so next time there are better options.

      Reply
      1. John

        I think you’re right, and I came off as too harsh in my post. With the Sunrise Movement, AOC has demonstrated that she can influence Pelosi. So it does make sense to work with her (it also helps that, sadly, she is more progressive than the other options).

        What bothered me was the way she said it…to say that “Pelosi is the best we have.” Because she is not. AOC would be much better. I would have preferred her to say “we need to try and work within the Democratic Party first, and so far, Pelosi has been willing to work with us, and we could see real progress on issues like climate change, so let’s stick with her for now.”

        Reply
        1. Lambert Strether Post author

          > Sunrise Movement

          I wish I knew more about this “movement.” I don’t like movements that appear out of nowhere and suddenly get good press. (The same thing happened with Indivisible.) It’s not enough for me that AOC blessed them, I want to know more. (Granted, doing a sit-in in Pelosi’s office was a good move.)

          Reply
      2. polecat

        In what century will that ‘deep bench develop ?? Sorry, but this country will have careened into the chasm before ANY real beneficial change happens … “we” ain’t gittin nothin, except decades of bs and connivance yet to come …brought to you on a bloody red carpet .. by the Donkey$, as they hold lovin hands in main agreement with the Pachyderm$ across-the-aisle !!
        It’s been 12 years since the House Dems won their majority .. then proceeded to take, no swipe, real, beneficial legislation completely off the table … while doing a total 180°turn policy wise .. Repeatedly !! And for what ?? .. $$$, That’s What !
        Looks more like a deep trench, for ever-more of us mopes who are not in the club, to take dirt nap in ..
        The only way to right this ship is to hold a nation-wide strike e.i. nobody do nothin — for a solid week. If you want to see abject fear in the eyes of your betters, and thus the begining of credible change, THAT would be the way to achieve it.

        Reply
        1. aletheia33

          a nation-wide strike by women–for a solid day–might be enough to get the same result. see iceland women’s strike of 1975.

          Reply
    5. Utah

      I agree with AOC that Pelosi is the best option because she’s the most “progressive” of the bunch that were running or maybe running. That said, real Progressives don’t have the clout to be Speaker because they don’t have the money that Pelosi has (because they don’t take corporate money.) Pelosi and Hoyer are the biggest spenders on other congressional races. They’re basically buying votes. I don’t pay attention to the GOP side as much as I should, but I’m sure it’s the same way on that side. The people with the money make the rules.
      The best way to fix this is for Progressives to start their own PACs with small dollar contributions and spend that money on Progressive candidates in the primaries.
      I’m wondering if the new Dem Caucus Chair is also a big spender. A dig into his FEC reports sounds like a good way for me to spend a rainy November afternoon.

      Reply
    6. zagonostra

      Below from: https://www.truthdig.com/articles/ralph-nader-congress-belongs-to-corporate-autocrats/

      The Senators and Representatives give themselves generous pensions, health insurance, life insurance, and other goodies while denying or failing to provide tens of millions of people those protective benefits and coverages.

      The orgy of self-privilege knows few boundaries – being wined and dined and journeyed on fundraising junkets by lobbyists who donate dollars to their campaigns in return for legislated bonanzas or immunities is normal business practice.

      Reply
    7. John k

      The shame is that she’s right.
      Kind of an Alice in wonderland thought for me that quite a few dems think pelosi’s a progressive so far left that they should run and right the disastrous leftward tilt…
      Also odd that RINO is used more often than DINO. A little extinction would be useful.

      Reply
    8. Darthbobber

      Best available of the aspirants to the gig, she seems to mean. And she’s regrettably right. The other possibles are to her right and no less compromised.

      With these Democrats Pelosi is about as good as they’ll go.

      Which is part of why aoc also favors primary challenges to existing democratic reps. To change the Democratic Congress, one needs a combination of
      A. Changing the membership, and
      B. Changing the political environment they are responding to, so that principle and opportunity coincide.

      Neither of the above has been satisfactorily accomplished, hence a democratic caucus of which Pelosi is an accurate representation.

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        AOC did tweet (I’m too lazy to find the link) that if there were somebody to Pelosi’s left on policy she’d vote for them (or consider doing so). So it’s not as if she’s performing an act of fealty.

        Reply
    9. Lambert Strether Post author

      > Such a shame that AOC says that Pelosi is the party’s best option.

      Being able to recognize political reality is a good thing, not a bad thing. If the left wants power, it had best learn to do that.

      Reply
  1. Wukchumni

    Pounds are tricky, as in some are 12 troy ounces.

    I’d also like to plug the word ‘Avoirdupois’ because it’s so fun to say.

    Reply
        1. Big Tap

          On of the few countries that still uses the English Standard of measurement (ounces, feet, miles, gallons, yards, pounds, etc.) is the U.S. Even the English (British) primarily use the Metric System.

          Reply
    1. Lee

      I feel much the same way about quatre-vingt-cinq. Besides the lovely sound of the term, that it means eighty-five brings up another interesting point: the French designate the number eighty as four twenties. From a number system based on counting fingers and toes both, I suppose.

      Reply
    2. The Rev Kev

      In bad dreams, I am back in school learning about the Imperial System and what is worse, I still remember it all and can still recite it today. (In my nightmares, I am back in school doing arithmetic with pounds, shillings and pence!) When I wake up, I am relieved to remember that this is only possible now in the United States, Liberia, and Burma/Myanmar.

      Reply
        1. divadab

          Ain’t gonna happen. English system uses human-scale measures. Metric system is a top-down intellectual-designed system, so beloved of the French.

          Reply
          1. The Rev Kev

            Yeah, human scale. Real logical that. As in the yard was once the distance from some English King’s nose to the tip of his outstretched thumb while an inch was three grains of good barley laid end to end. An acre, meanwhile, was the amount of land that a man and an ox-team could plow in a normal day’s work. Real anti-intellectual stuff that. And don’t knock the French. They save the Americans a** during the American Revolution which made your independence possible.

            Reply
            1. drumlin woodchuckles

              It was the Ancien’ Regime French who did all that, at Yorktown and before. NOT the metricating Revolution French.

              Reply
    1. Hepativore

      I am still not hopeful that Bernie Sanders would ever make it out of the primaries considering all of the new ways to rig them that the Democratic party establishment has probably thought of since 2016 by the time 2020 rolls around. In edition to various flavors of election tomfoolery, expect a lot of last-minute rule changes in many areas to ensure that he is stopped. After all, the man is a threat to both Democrats and Republicans who are often funded by the same large donors.

      Reply
      1. Carey

        I think that you are right, and that the Few will have plans for those of us who back
        Sanders and the true, citizenry-oriented left in 2020.

        Reply
        1. Code Name D

          My bet is that the DCCC never let Berny even run. They will come up with some excuse. Hell, Berny might even go along.

          Sorry Berny, but we found Russan fairys in your sock droar. We cant set Puten steal another election from Hillery, I mean, from the people.

          Reply
      2. John k

        It’s a plus the field has so many neocon neoliberals vs only one or two progressives. Even better if Hillary carries out her threat. And imo if Bernie runs Liz won’t, or if she does, she won’t last long. Plus, maybe she’d like treasury?
        He really stays on message. Admirable, considering the message.
        I wonder if tulsi campaigns with him.

        Reply
          1. Jen

            Admittedly a small sample size, but 4 out of 5 of us democrat leaning voters gathered in a rural NH tavern on a cold snowy night agreed that Warren would never be president, though we agreed on little else.

            Reply
      3. Lambert Strether Post author

        > I am still not hopeful that Bernie Sanders would ever make it out of the primaries considering all of the new ways to rig them that the Democratic party establishment has probably thought of since 2016 by the time 2020 rolls around.

        I’m not clear on the Calendar, as I should be, but IIRC California is way up front and Iowa is to be de-emphasized. Go Kamala!

        (Also, with Pelosi/Jeffries we have a horrid marriage of the two coastal corrupt Democrat establishments. Ugh.)

        Reply
    2. Mark Gisleson

      And by then hopefully he’ll have learned that the correct term is “cults of personality.” Like ‘attorneys general.’

      Reply
        1. Carey

          “a bit of a cult..” Heh!

          Yeah, and that it was ready to go virtually the day after the election says something. Interesting choice of names, too: that the best the citizenry
          could hope for was #resisting…

          Reply
          1. RMO

            Well, to be fair Bernie really hasn’t contributed much to “The Resistance (#!)”… but since The Resistance seems to be entirely operated as a cynical use of Trump outrage for the purposes of raking in the cash by a bunch of people who would likely be fully supporting 90% of Trump’s policies if they came from a Democrat White House I would say that’s a good thing.

            Relying on “The Resistance” to change things for the better makes about as much sense as relying on a group of cancer cells to cure a malignant tumor that they are part of.

            Reply
            1. Hepativore

              Considering that the “#Resistance” largely consists of the Clinton-wing and its sycophants and financial backers, I doubt that it would even let Sanders join even if he wanted to. The only thing that the #Resistance actually resists at all from a political standpoint is letting the hold that the Clintonites have on the Democratic Party loosen and moving too far away from neoliberal ideological purity.

              Reply
              1. Darius

                Why did Bernie even try to associate with #Resistance? Just a bunch of corporate Hillary Dems. The people he appeals to aren’t excited by the so-called resistance. Anyone who is probably isn’t going to go with Bernie.

                Reply
                1. Sparkling

                  “You’re either with us, or against us.”

                  The fact that the corporate Dems are so friendly with Bush now suggests they never disagreed with that statement. Bernie (and others like AOC for that matter) needed to pledge allegiance to them in some way shape or form in order to avoid getting his head cut off.

                  Reply
    3. Amfortas the hippie

      Markos who?
      I’d totally forgotten about him til the link above.
      Now he reminds me of SNL’s Church Lady, for some reason.

      Reply
      1. pjay

        Yes, I, too, have some vague recollection of a “Markos” linked to a political website of some kind. But it faded into irrelevance and now I can’t remember…

        Reply
    4. Kurt Sperry

      This. The DKos neoliberal right-wingers put in a position where they would have to choose between Sanders and Trump and abandon their party is exactly what I want to see. He’s more popular and has a larger, better organized base than any of his likely primary opponents. The more corporate drones stuff themselves into the Blue clown car for 2020, the easier it gets for Bernie. I say if he runs for the Dem nomination, he probably gets it.

      What will the corporate, neoliberal right-wing Dems do placed in that position? Try to recruit Bloomberg for a third party candidacy to throw the election to Trump? After the vitriol they directed towards Stein voters? Their heads will explode, and I want to watch it happen. I might even put on some popcorn, my hipwaders, and visit the Orange cesspool to watch it unfold in real time.

      Reply
      1. Amfortas the hippie

        after their Pied Piper strategy worked a little too well, it looked to me like the PTB were trying to gin up a Big Center Party…maybe considering that the faux duopoly had reached it’s sell by date.
        When Max Boot and Kristol are coming out for Herself, something’s afoot.
        But that was just further evidence of Elite Myopia…unable, after smoking their own stash, to see the world around them…the People, unregarded for so long, and mistaken for the Models the AI in the basement used in their stead…
        Toynbee’s exhausted “Dominant Minority”, striving with all their might to keep down the numerous Creative Minorities bubbling up from the barbarian soup.
        Elite Narcissism…”only we can rule”…an old tune, repeated a million times over the millennia…but now, they’re global…and there’s no Outside the Empire.
        I, too, look forward to their ruin…but am acutely aware that they have left no path to a sensible and compassionate world.
        Apre moi, le deluge.

        Reply
      2. Hepativore

        I am sure that they would all throw their weight behind Trump for 2020 if Bernie Sanders somehow made it out of the primaries. The financial backers for both Democrats would rather have a gaffe-prone buffoon that everybody can be distracted by in public while he uses the pro-corporate servitors in the Trump cabinet to get anything that the 1% asks for.

        Sanders might throw the money-changers out of the temple entirely, which would mean that the party would be over for the leadership of both parties and they could never abide that.

        Reply
  2. Quentin

    I’m surprised that Kos is still in business. It’s wonderful how Bernie Sanders has resisted the resistance. Not Sanders, Kos and the resistance have become remarkably irrelevant to everything.

    Reply
    1. EGrise

      I would just like to note that it’s kinda ****ing rich that a guy whose claim to fame is a political website named after himself is talking about cults of personalities.

      Reply
      1. Jason Boxman

        True story. I never even made the obvious connection until you mentioned it.

        I used to feed on cluelessness at Kos until Obama got elected and I realized that entire web site is a clown show. I’m thankful I found a link to NC somewhere back in 2008. Been reading ever since.

        Reply
        1. Darthbobber

          There used to be a significant number of people doing pretty decent diaries over there, though their stuff rarely made it into the main feed. That was already going downhill before 2016, and since then most of those of any leftist bent have given up the rigged game there and abandoned ship. So it’s now largely another echo chamber. Like tomorrow it’s now largely useful as a tool to gauge how that subset views things.

          Reply
        2. The Rev Kev

          I use to go to Kos just for the comics which were often quite incisive. Then back in early 2016 you had Trump cartoons appear. Same next day, same next week, same next month – nothing but Trump cartoons all the time as they had some serious axes to grind. It was all Trump so in the end I stopped going over there.

          Reply
      2. Kurt Sperry

        I wrote some stuff there years back. Even made it to the top of the “Rec List” once or twice. I suppose that stuff is still there archived. Then I made a snarky Eric Holder joke in a comment string and was banned and fled to FDL. One of the best things that ever happened to me on the internet. Now I’d probably need a puke bucket handy to read that site.

        Reply
  3. flora

    JUST LEARNED THERE ARE 16 OUNCES IN A POUND AND I AM FUCKING LIVID
    .
    .
    oh….
    .
    .
    Well, that’s very different….
    nevermind.

    Reply
    1. Bugs Bunny

      Yeah kinda basic. As if folks don’t already know that a pound is sixteen ounces, most of the time.

      Millennials!

      Somehow brought to mind a Simpsons’ quote :

      “I’m Troy McClure and you may remember me from ‘Here Comes the Metric System’!”

      Reply
    2. Jean

      “A pint’s a pound, the world round”.

      A pint of mercury is a lot smaller than a pint of cotton candy.

      The monetary equivalent is the old system of coinage and money in England.

      Reply
  4. clarky90

    Re; the Great 21st Century Culture Wars and the deployment of Meme Magic (Cultural Weapons Of Mass Destruction)

    Meme Wars Episode V: The Establishment Strikes Back

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EnZQNavaz-U

    by “The Asian Capitalists”

    “Since the dawn of civilization, many great empires have wielded the power of an ancient artifact, known as “The Narrative”, a legendary entity so powerful. that it was said to have the ability to rewrite History, control the present and alter the future………

    …..The Journalist Class’ once unquestionable monopoly on “truth” (The Narrative), would eventually be challenged by a rebel army of autists…..”

    A stirring presentation from the POV of Libertarian, Canadian Gamers.

    Reply
  5. noonespecial

    Health Coverage Rates for Children in the USA
    https://ccf.georgetown.edu/2018/11/21/nations-progress-on-childrens-health-coverage-reverses-course/

    From Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy report:

    1. [I]n 2017, approximately 276,000 more children became uninsured, leading to a total of 3.9 million uninsured children nationwide. The rate for children age 18 and under went up from 4.7 percent in 2016 to 5 percent in 2017, according to our analysis of U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey data.

    2. Three-quarters of the children who lost coverage between 2016 and 2017 live in states that have not expanded Medicaid coverage to parents and other low-income adults. The uninsured rates for children increased at almost triple the rate in non-expansion states than in states that have expanded Medicaid.

    3. States with larger American Indian/ Alaska Native populations tend to have higher uninsured rates for children than the national average.

    So, what’s this I hear about the MIC needing more money to rebuild the “depleted” armed forces?

    Reply
    1. zagonostra

      We live in an immoral society run by immoral people (contra Reinhold Niebuhr) where the corrupt media blather ceaselessly about the clown president while families live in terror of their children falling ill and not being able to get care.

      I makes your head want to explode when you see the billions spent on the killing industry/military instead of the healthcare and programs to benefit the working man/women. Whose to blame? The half of us that are doing marginally “ok” and looking after our own instead of making alliances with those who are less fortunate…and willing to support elected officials like Pelosi/Schumer.

      Reply
      1. Lemmy Caution

        The U.S. should emulate the compassionate Canadian model, according to Hillary as she spoke last night in Montreal:

        Besides admiring Canada for its cultural diversity, she said, “I also really applaud the economic model.” Canada created a social safety net, especially with health care, she said, while still “having one of the most dynamic economies for building the middle class of any place in the world.”

        Canada’s system provides “a basic level of human support that everybody should have,” she said. “It should be a right, not a privilege.”

        Sounds like she’s really coming around to the progressive point of view!

        Reply
        1. Darthbobber

          And should “never, ever” happen in the US. Maybe she’s reinventing herself again, pending yet another “reintroduction” of herself to the proles. When you’ve been through this many versions of yourself, it seems that just by accident you should hit upon one that’s somewhat likeable. But…

          Reply
        2. drumlin woodchuckles

          She’s lying. She was only speaking “at” the audience in Canada. She was speaking “to” the distant audience in America whom she desperately hopes to be overheard by. All the while pretending that such “overhearing” in a distant America never entered her mind at all. At some later date she hopes seemingly-unconnected-to-her “others” will bring that quote up to tell Americans how progressive she has become on health care. The purpose will be to con Americans into considering her yet again for President.

          What a genius triple-cushion carom shot. She’s SOOooooo clever.

          Reply
          1. Kevin Hall

            Yep, so very clever…

            Lucy and the football comes to mind and why not? It kept working for Lucy.

            And like poor Chuck, enough voters won’t wise up and kick her instead of the football.

            Reply
    2. Pat

      While it is an interesting anecdote, there is a bit of logic missing from the connection trying to be made about Medicaid expansion. The status of the children’s parents changed, not the available access to Medicaid. Did they lose job(s), earn too much for subsidies but not enough to replace those subsidies, did premiums rise too much or the employee supplemental cost for family coverage?

      The question is ultimately not how many lost coverage or why but why is children’s coverage tied to parental employment benefits and income level in the first place, and how much healthcare comes with that “coverage”. In a functional society children would have full access to healthcare period, no insurance premiums, no deductibles, no income levels.

      We are barbaric, and that is probably an insult to barbarians.

      Reply
  6. Roy G

    Pretty rich satire coming from Teh Grauniad, just one day after their stovepiped faux expose on Manafort meeting with Assange. Look in the mirror!

    Reply
  7. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Only 1.3% of Hakeem Jeffries’ money in the last election came from small-dollar contributions.

    —————-

    From CNN, hopefully not fake news (not incentive for them to make the situation better under a Trump administration, I suppose):

    40% of Americans can’t cover a $400 emergency expense – Business
    https://money.cnn.com/2018/05/22/pf/emergency-expenses-household…/index.html
    May 22, 2018 – Four in ten Americans can’t, according to a new report from the Federal Reserve Board. Those who don’t have the cash on hand say they’d …

    How successful can a campaign be trying to reach those people, even when relying on small donors? They seem to be smaller than small donors…micro donors, maybe.

    And we assume small donors align with micro donors, mostly, if not perfectly.

    Reply
  8. Summer

    Re: Internships / The Arts

    You think a jobs guarantee will put a dent in nepotism? I think it was the series “Girls” that was pointed out as one example. Lots of family of people who are already insiders worked on that show.

    Reply
      1. WheresOurTeddy

        admitting to sexually assaulting your sister in your book, and then defending a male writer on your show who was accused of sexual assault will cool you off a little in this day and age

        Reply
  9. Adam1

    “Unless liberal institutions and their defenders are willing to reckon with their own inability to sustain trust, the events of the past decade will remain opaque to them….”

    …Until the crowds “string them up” at the gallows or whatever the modern version is – then they’ll get it and plead for mercy (too late).

    Reply
    1. RMO

      I find the focus on “trust” interesting – presumably they feel it’s quite all right to continue grinding down the majority of the population so long as they can brainwash the populace into “trusting” them.

      Reply
      1. Lambert Strether Post author

        > I find the focus on “trust” interesting

        I think the article has a unified view of symptoms that is useful. However, there does not seem to be a diagnosis, or a prognosis, or a cure.

        Reply
  10. BobW

    Amazon made Baen Books raise their ebook prices on the Baen website a few years ago, they would not allow anything to be sold at a lower price than what was offered at Amazon.

    Reply
      1. Darius

        Amazon won’t sell merchandise of non-compliant vendors. The vendors can’t afford to forego the Amazon market. Classic predatory pricing/restraint of trade, and a clear antitrust law violation. But Amazon has bought off both parties. You may recall Obama servicing Amazon with disgustingly servile appearances at Amazon facilities. Something about disruption and entrepreneurship.

        Reply
        1. Carey

          “non-compliant” I saw this term used the other day in one of the
          self-driving car plugs. We humans need to “comply” with what
          suits the machines, dontcha know.

          #sohosed

          Reply
        2. Duck1

          I always wondered where 0bama wore his comfortable shoes, I guess it was shilling a new Amazon warehouse, jawbs ya know.

          Reply
          1. cnchal

            > . . . jawbs ya know.

            Not just any old jawb. These warehouse jawbs were touted as solid middle class “raise your family” jawbs of the future. Amazon must have hidden the whipping post while 0 was around.

            Reply
        3. cnchal

          This, I found interesting.

          With what some perceive as another assault on brands, Amazon may be tempting fate.

          I don’t think Amazon understands how close they are to blowing themselves up,” said Eamon Kelly, a senior research analyst who tracks Amazon closely at Edgewater Research, where he is a partner.

          Kelly cited brands like Birkenstock that have pulled themselves off the platform in recent years, and said he has had conversations with others that are ready to jump, too, if Amazon’s behavior doesn’t change.

          PopSockets’ Barnett agrees.

          “I don’t think it’s a sustainable model,” he said. “Maybe for controlling the small players whose business depends on Amazon. But to endure this kind of treatment? There’s a lot of great brands out there who can make that choice to leave.”

          What’s worse, according to Barnett and others that do business with Amazon, is that while a brand and related sellers are getting kicked off the Marketplace, Amazon still allows other merchants to sell those brands’ goods, even if they are not directly affiliated with the brand.

          “That set of double standards … it’ll be interesting to see if someone chooses to challenge that in a court of law,” said James Thomson, a former Amazon employee who now runs Buy Box Experts, a consultancy for brands. “It’s no longer an open marketplace then.”

          Amazon is like the predator that has hunted all the fields to extinction and there is nothing left to eat.

          Reply
  11. Wukchumni

    The wheels appear to be coming off the carriage of the Cinderella story on Pennsylvania Ave, as they’ve laid down the spike strip.

    Reply
  12. MyLessThanPrimeBeef

    Internet of Shit
    @internetofshit
    · Aug 17, 2015
    When household gadget makers discover in-app purchases

    View image on Twitter

    Internet of Shit
    @internetofshit
    And that’s when our smart devices learned to blackmail us pic.twitter.com/Y7WEf9Cn7g

    —-

    From “Do you want to buy the ability to set your thermostat at above 25 C for $….”

    Let’s remember that there were many flightless birds in New Zealand and why they came to be that way, before becoming extinct – either you use it or you lose it.

    When machines take over thinking for humans, that’s when we lose the brain.

    Reply
    1. rd

      Still baffled about why I want corporate America to control my house before the Russian teenagers hack it.

      I haven’t seen a reason to get more high tech than the unconnected programmable thermostat with weekday/weekend settings.

      Reply
    2. JTMcPhee

      There’s some speculation in today’s links and comments on “consciousness,” given that bees apparently have elements of behavior that we superior humans might say display some elements of what we self-describe as “consciousness.”

      One wonders if the notions of the ancients, and of quite a few humans today, that everything is alive and connected, might be playing out in this instance. The machine thing, CRSP-R and AI and all, that some of us humans are procreating and midwife-ing, coupled with the insatiable greed and intrusiveness and desire to control and loot that many humans laboring so diligently and with such hopes of short-term personal gain on the Great Work of “Progress,” are maybe just little bits of self-organized matter following a greater magic that leads us from making steam engines to making designer babies to little offshoots like “renting” us the “option” to warm up our residences above 25 degrees C (77 degrees Fahrenheit).

      Do humans actually sit in cubicles and offices and go to meetings where they brainstorm this kind of stuff? Where, one wonders, do the thought patterns these kinds of initiatives display come from? Do Amazonians and Appletonians on their “campuses” actually convene and invent the many activities that lead to endless bleeding of what ordinary mopes think of as ordinary life?

      Not that heating one’s home to 77 degrees is ‘environmentally wise and sound”— it’s said that taxes are a means to implement social policy (for good or ill, depending on one’s selfish or comity-based viewpoint, so maybe the algo that pops up this “option” knows something, via that deeper magic and wisdom, that we mopes don’t, or maybe it’s just trying to reduce the grid load so there is more juice available for the data farm servers and bitcoin miners?

      Of course this theme has been well worked over in speculative “science” fiction and religion and philosophy areas.

      One can still buy one of those old-tech round Honeywell (made in China) thermostats that work on the reactions to ambient temperature of a bi-metal spring coupled to a mercury or similar switch. No need to have any kind of electronics in the loop at all. But of course the ability to “have what you want when you want it,” via programmed electronic thermostat whether IoT’d or not, is paramount, isn’t it?
      Infinite possibillities leading to infinite possible paths. What kind of political economy and living planet do we mopes want, again?

      Reply
  13. Synoia

    One Vendor. The new initiative will essentially funnel big brands and independent sellers alike through the same back-end system in a supposed effort to improve the uniformity of the shopping experience across Amazon on the public-facing side.

    There was that saying, mangled for relevance: “When you have them by the balls, their hearts and minds profits will follow.”

    Reply
  14. Wukchumni

    HALexa: I think you know what the problem is just as well as I do, this household is too important for me to allow you to jeopardize it.

    Reply
  15. Hepativore

    Hypothetically, without getting too much into conspiracy theories, does anybody think that there would be the possibility of an elite-backed assassination attempt upon Bernie Sanders should he win the presidency? I know that there is a lot of scorn and contempt for him in both parties, particularly the democrats and they would probably deeply fear what sort of threat he would pose to the 1% and the Wall Street crowd. Since many Democratic Party members have ties with various spying agencies and the Deep State, I wonder if they would be desperate enough that they would dig up somebody somewhere to use as a puppet and have him go after Sanders. If successful, they could point to why his brand of progressive liberalism was dangerous, and they could also blame it on Russia to use it as political ammunition against future ideological opponents from the left.

    Just a thought, and an admittedly outlandish one, but I wonder if it would be something that we would have to worry about in the highly unlikely event of a Sanders presidency?

    I realize that it would be a very

    Reply
      1. polecat

        I think he has a valid point. The establishment seems on the verge of losing their sh!t ! … and by god, their gonna hit that iceberg if it kills em .. taking us down for good measure ..

        Reply
    1. gepay

      I doubt that Bernie is enough of a threat for the Powers That Be that they would eliminate him. He never talks about cutting the Pentagon or National Security State. He doesn’t seem to have a problem with the US Empire. These are the people that kill people.
      Would the Congress actually support his domestic policies which are pretty good?
      while talking somewhat critically about Israel… “since being elected to Congress, Sanders has been a reliable vote for U.S. military aid to Israel, and has rarely dissented from bipartisan support for Israel’s government. In 2014, he offered a qualified defense of Israel’s bombardment of Gaza, angering his own constituents at a rowdy town hall. He has also continued to oppose the BDS campaign that seeks to use economic pressure to force Israel to respect the rights of Palestinians. More recently, Sanders signed onto a congressional letter last year that condemned BDS.” The intercept

      Reply
  16. Anthony K Wikrent

    North Carolina AFL-CIO has a 13-panel display that includes the history of labor unions in the state.
    North Carolina Labor History Exhibit

    Here are the panel titles.

    Early Unions in North Carolina
    1929 Loray Mill Strike in Gastonia
    1929 Tragedy in Marion
    1934 Textile General Strike
    Local 22: Civil Rights Unionism
    Operation Dixie
    J.P. Stevens Boycott
    25 Years of Struggle: Cannon Mills Union Victory
    Victory at Smithfield
    Mt. Olive Pickle Boycott
    United Automobile Workers of North Carolina
    Faculty Forward!
    The Future of the Labor Movement

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      They took care of that problem by sending all the textile mills overseas. There are still a couple. Dunno about the pickle situation.

      Reply
  17. Stephen Gardner

    I just can’t get it. What compels Marcos Moulitsas to be such a little toady to the Hillary wing of the banking and war party? It’s just so embarrassing. The things he says are just so fawning and childish.

    Reply
    1. Carolinian

      He was originally a Republican just like Hill.

      This morning Lambert linked to Daily Howler who was giving the NYT a deserved what for. Today’s NC is a blast from the past.

      Reply
    2. MichaelSF

      What compels Marcos Moulitsas to be such a little toady to the Hillary wing of the banking and war party?

      I think it has been a lucrative gig for him.

      Reply
    3. Darthbobber

      I can’t shake the suspicion that he’s being subsidized to this end. This suspicion could be dispelled if there were any publicly available material on Daily Kos finances. Making it worth a journalist’s while to carry water for you is such an ancient political (and diplomatic) tradition that I’d bee shocked if it hadn’t spread to blogville. Given Moulitsas’ secrecy about finances it would be, in Lambert’s words, “irresponsible not to speculate. “

      Reply
    4. sd

      Kos just isn’t relevant any more. It’s almost funny because he’s trying as hard as Hillary to make it seem like he still is. I’m guessing the income just isn’t what it used to be.

      Reply
  18. The Rev Kev

    “Facebook has a problem with black people, former employee charges”

    So there was an article here recently about an old book meant for black people about to hit the road in the States telling them where they could stay, where was safe, etc. Perhaps someone could come up with a booklet called “So you are starting a job in Silicon Valley and you are Black!” to help them out with which could join previous editions called “So you are starting a job in Silicon Valley and you are a Woman!” and “So you are starting a job in Silicon Valley and you are Asian!”

    Reply
  19. RMO

    I hope someone tells moth dad about long tons and short tons, U.S. gallons/quarts/pint and Imperial gallons/quarts/pints….

    Then he can go on to pre-decimalization British currency (aka the only currency system more cumbersome than the Triganic Pu)

    In my family’s paint business I had the interesting experience of seeing us go from Imperial sized containers to metric when Canada switched in the 70’s… and then to U.S. sizes as the FTA and NAFTA rolled over the continent. The market power of the U.S. led to containers being available only in U.S. sizes from suppliers. Naturally we label them in metric units because all this totally makes sense. The can our customers have generally referred to as a “gallon” all these years has gone from 4.54 liters to 4 liters to 3.78 liters.

    Even my younger-than-millenial acquaintances almost universally think in terms of feet and inches for their height and pounds for their weight despite Canada going metric back when I was in early grade school.

    Reply
  20. Steely Glint

    Something to chew on; the deck;
    They divide political knowledge into two categories, common political knowledge, or “the shared set of social beliefs about how the system works, who the actors are, and so on, which helps to order politics” and contested political knowledge, “the knowledge that is contestable, where people may disagree.”
    More; Democratic countries offer certainty about the political process – common knowledge – but uncertainty about outcomes, who should lead, or what the issues are. While authoritarian nations promte certainty about contested knowledge – who is the leader, what is a national priority – but murkiness about common areas of knowledge, the integrity and availabilty of justice, elections, accountability.
    https://coldwardaily.com/2018/11/30/common-knowledge-attacks-a-new-concept-in-defending-democratic-debate/

    Reply

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